The Committee was briefed by the Department of Environmental Affairs on its Strategic Plan (2019/20-2023/24) and Annual Performance Plan. The Minister said the forestry and fishing portfolios were still formally with the Department of Agriculture, and the budget of the Department would be transferred only after the October mid-term adjustment budget, so the presentation would not include forestry and fishing.
There were five or six key priorities of government to which the Department’s plan needed to be aligned and synergised with. The Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget was slightly out of sync with Parliament’s planning cycle, especially in an election year, so an amended annual performance plan (APP) may be tabled after the mid-term budget adjustment in October.
The Minister said many people in the agricultural and economic tourism sector depended on the national environment for their livelihood. These resources were under pressure and needed to be managed responsibility to ensure their sustainable use. Economic transformation and waste and the waste economy were key areas for the Department, but the Department would not be successful in meeting the challenges of waste unless the issue was monetised and there was an incentive for people to dispose of waste responsibly. Waste management was the responsibility of local government and the challenge to the Department would be looking at what could be done to assist municipalities. She would personally take responsibility to ensure a change in the audit report outcomes. One of the complicated operations the Department faced for the following year was the issue of the fishing licences and ensuring that transformation and the absorption of new players in the industry was balanced with the development of the industry, while at the same time managing fish stocks.
The Department then gave an overview of its programmes and implementation plans.
On Programme 1 (Administration) Members wanted clarification on what had caused the Department to get adverse audit opinions from the Auditor General (AG) for 2017/18, and what was being done to change these findings. Was there any measure of the impact of the Department’s environmental awareness campaigns? They said the sorting of waste at source was not encouraged. How was the Department’s work to reduce waste aligned with other Departments? They asserted that most of the waste companies were white-owned and asked how this gap was being closed. How effective were the Department’s environmental awareness campaigns at schools and communities? How was procurement allocated to women and youths? Was the Department able to assist municipalities to include job creation when developing plans? Did the Department have a plan to monitor waste management along the coast and in the townships constantly, and did they have a plan to ensure that legislation was being adhered to? Members took issue with the delay in the plans for Fisheries and Forestry until October. What pressure or support was being given to local government so that municipalities could implement monitoring and effective enforcement, especially of air quality?
In Programme 2 (Legal Authorisation, Compliance and Enforcement), the Department spoke about compliance and enforcement targets, as well as the annual action plan for the protection and management of rhinos. Members asked if the Department had been able to assess the successful conviction rates of transgressors and why was it reducing its target for peer-reviewed publications. How was the mercury spillage and hazardous material being exported to South Africa being dealt with? Was the Department succeeding in coordinating work implementation via different departments? They said there was a need for a Presidential Council on Sustainable Development.
On Programme 3 (Oceans and Coast), the Department described the National Coastal Management programme, including the development of coastal water quality guidelines as well as the Estuarine Management strategy and the management plans for marine protected areas. Members wanted to know why there had been a decrease in the target for the number of peer-reviewed articles from 24 to 16. Was the Department working with municipalities and local government on water quality guidelines, especially in areas where there was drought? Were rural areas part of the awareness campaign on the ocean economy?
On Programme 4 (Climate Change, Air Quality and Sustainable Development), the Department spoke to the climate service products developed for the national framework for climate services; studies conducted for mitigation potential in sectors; the targets for air quality and for air quality monitoring stations; South Africa’s negotiating positions developed for a number of international environment and sustainable development positions; and the SA Weather Service (SAWS). Members asked what the reasons were for the reduction in the air quality target to 110. They wanted to know how many monitoring stations were currently monitoring quality, and if there was a plan to upgrade the existing stations to do the work effectively. Had the National Climate Change Response Policy of 2017/18 been submitted to the Minister and if not, when would it be submitted?
On Programme 5 (Bio-diversity and Conservation), the Department referred to the percentage of land under conservation; the percentage of the area of state-managed protected assets; the biodiversity initiatives to be implemented; and the public entities – South African National Parks (SANParks), the SA National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the Isimangaliso Wetland Park. Members asked if the Department was looking at Judge Zondo’s ruling on dagga and at SANBI’s role in this matter so that the Department would be prepared. Did SANBI present their budget and their impact on the society they worked with, to the Committee? Was the Department working with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in cases where mining companies needed to rehabilitate land? How had the 500 hectares of land under cultivation been identified -- and was it state land? What training was offered to the 400 beneficiaries of biodiversity training? Who was monitoring the fishing areas and fishing rights of the Tsitsikamma area?
On Programme 6 (Environmental Programmes), the Department spoke to the Espanded Public Works programme (EPWP) and the number of work opportunities created; the number of youth work and training opportunities created; the targets for the combating of alien invasive plant species; and the targets for the suppression of wildfires. Members asked how much of the wetlands was damaged by mining. What were the criteria for full time equivalent (FTE) work opportunities in real jobs.
On Programme 7 (Chemical and Waste Management), the Department described waste management and the targets for chemical and waste management instruments; the targets for job creation and the establishment of waste management small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs); and the targets for atmospheric licences and waste licence applications issued within specified time frames. Members asked if there was a policy for e-waste management, especially in respect of government e-waste. They wanted the bottlenecks in the tyre recycling industry to be looked at because previously disadvantaged individuals (PDIs) had difficulty entering into the industry. They wanted to know how the air pollution targets were linked to air quality management at landfill sites and how the Department ensured that surrounding communities’ welfare was not affected.
Minister Barbara Creecy said the delegation comprised officials of the existing Department of Environmental Affairs. Forestry and Fishing was still formally with the Department of Agriculture and the budget of the Department would only formally be transferred after the October mid-term adjustment budget, therefore the presentation would not include forestry and fishing. There were five or six key priorities of government with which the Department’s plan needed to be aligned and synergised. This was still work in progress because Forestry and Fishing still needed to be transferred to the Department. There would also need to be alignment between the work of Forestry and Fishing and the Department’s own existing work in some of the areas -- for example, the Department’s Oceans and Coasts division would find overlap with Fisheries in terms of its functions and conservation efforts. She said the Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) budget was slightly out of sync with Parliament’s planning cycle, especially in an election year, so an amended annual performance plan (APP) may be tabled after the mid-term budget adjustment in October.
She spoke to government’s priorities of economic transformation and job creation; consolidating the social wage; education, skills and health; social cohesion and safe communities; a better Africa and world; spatial integration, human settlements and local integration; and a capable and ethical developmental state and the Department’s response to integrate these priorities in their work.
She said many people, especially in the agricultural and economic tourism sector, depended on the national environment for their livelihood. These resources were under pressure and needed to be managed responsibility to ensure their sustainable use. The Department therefore needed to do a difficult balancing act. Economic transformation and the waste economy were key areas for the Department, but the Department would not be successful in meeting the challenges of waste unless it was monetised and there was an incentive for people to dispose of waste responsibly. She said Operation Phakisa could contribute 700 000 jobs, and referred to the implementation of biodiversity economy initiatives.
The Department needed to do more in dealing with the poaching of rhino and abalone. Waste management was the responsibility of local government and the challenge to the Department would be looking at what could be done to assist municipalities. The fact that the Department was not receiving unqualified audit reports for the last few years needed to change. One of the complicated operations the Department faced for the following year was the issue of the fishing licences and ensuring that transformation and the absorption of new players in the industry was balanced with the development of the industry, while at the same time managing fish stocks.
Department’s implementation plans
Ms Nosipho Ngcapa, Director General (DG), gave an overview of the Department’s programmes and described its implementation plans.
Programme 1- Administration
Ms Limpho Makotoko, Deputy Director General (DDG): Corporate Services, said the programme covered sound corporate governance which included the audit reports. Internal controls and managed risk controls would be improved. Part of the interventions by the Department to support local government in waste management involved community youth outreach programmes to create community awareness around environmental issues.
Mr J Lorimer (DA) wanted clarification on what had caused the Department to get adverse audit opinions from the Auditor General (AG) for 2017/18, and what was being done to change these findings.
Ms S Mbatha (ANC) asked if there was any measure of the impact of the Department’s environmental awareness campaigns. She said the country was not encouraging the sorting of waste at source. Could it not do the same as what occurred in Japan? How was the Department’s work to reduce waste aligned with other Departments? She said most of the waste companies were white-owned, and asked how this gap was being closed.
Ms T Mchunu (ANC) wanted to know how effective the Department’s environmental awareness campaigns were at schools and communities. She appreciated the affirmative procurement practices regarding youth and women, and asked how procurements were allocated to women and youth. On the incorporation of environmental priorities in local government -- in municipalities and district municipalities -- she asked if the Department was able to assist municipalities to include job creation when developing plans, instead of this task being outsourced to a service provider. On the monitoring of waste management at the local government level, she asked if the Department had a plan to constantly monitor waste management along the coast and in the townships, and whether they had a plan to ensure that legislation was being adhered to. She wanted more information concerning the Department’s plan regarding its audit results.
Mr P Modise (ANC) said he took issue with the Minister’s comments on the plans for Fisheries and Forestry having to be delayed until October, as that meant another four to five months would go by. The DG had not spoken in fine detail about the youth placed in learnerships, and he wanted specific details. He asked how the Department would be engaging with local government in the implementation of its local government support programme, and how often it would be engaging with them.
Ms H Winkler (DA) asked what pressure or support was given to local government so that municipalities could implement monitoring and effective enforcement, especially of air quality. She said that globally youth were at the forefront of pushing the green agenda. How could the youth be incorporated? How could it be ensured that the best science was used when implementing legislation?
The Chairperson asked about the Department’s employment of people with disabilities. He felt that the rate for people with disabilities had gone beyond the standard two percent.
The Minister replied that the Department had been receiving qualified audit reports, but that the audit reports would be receiving her personal attention.
Replying to Ms Mbatha on waste management, she said the key was the management capacity to achieve outcomes and change behaviour. There was a need to evaluate programmes and consider how to make them better. It was about a change in behaviour. She agreed on the issue of the separation of rubbish, but the question was how to get municipalities to implement this. Municipalities were currently collecting 65 to 70 percent of waste, and the separation of waste was therefore a greater challenge. Hence the need to monetise waste, and through this one would be able to achieve waste separation.
Replying to Ms Mchunu, she said that in the schools environmental awareness would be covered by the curriculum.
She said the issue of young people being at the forefront of pushing the green agenda was linked to their concern about the world of their future.
As Minister, she shared Mr Modise’s concerns over the plans for Forestry and Fishing, but their budgets still fell currently under the previous Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing and would remain so until the mid-term budget adjustment in October.
She said that the Department’s policy was good, but that the key issue was implementation of the policy. The question was how sub-national government, the private sector and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) could implement the policy, and how the Department was going to support these sectors.
Ms Ngcaba said the Department normally received clean audits until there had been a change in the way accounting standards were implemented through the introduction of modified cash standards, and the Department had struggled with how to account for programs such as the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). This had resulted in the unqualified audits, so an audit action plan had been implemented.
She said the Department was operating above the two percent target for people with disabilities, and its percentage was at about 2.9%. There were 48 or 49 people with disabilities in the Department. If the Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) reviewed the disability target, then that new target would be incorporated into the plan.
She said the separation of waste at source was already the Department’s policy, but the difficulty was in its implementation.
On the best use of the available scientists, she said that there was a space for scientists to engage with the Department on conservation.
The Department had wanted to have norms and standards for wild animals, but it had been challenged in court by game farmers that its mandate did not include being a regulator.
Regarding youths being placed in learnerships, the Department would provide details regarding the matter, as this was just the plan.
Ms Esther Makau, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), addressed the MTEF budget allocations, as well as the qualified audit opinion. The budget allocation was R7.5 billion. The adverse audit opinions against the Department had started with the change in the accounting entry practices for the EPWP projects. The transfer payments had led to modified cash cover, and there were different understandings and interpretations of this by the Department, the AG and Treasury. The change in accounting practices had affected provinces also. These accounting practices were also relevant in the cases of Isimangaliso and the Green Fund allocation. The matter had first started in 2014/15 till to date, and affected a number of EPWP projects.
Ms Ngcaba said the Department did have an audit action plan. There were also issues of disclosures to be taken into account. The AG had asked that the loan book be incorporated and that the records of the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) be included in the financial statements for the green economy initiatives. All outstanding issues had actions that were being taken, with only one meeting outstanding -- with ‘Working on Fire’. She said the purchase of aircraft and vehicle fire fighting services was still not fully clarified and the Department was awaiting clarification from Treasury.
Ms Mbatha asked if the youth could be assisted to get their qualification as environmental health practitioners through the funding of internships.
Programme 2 – Legal Authorisation, Compliance and Enforcement
Mr Ishaam Abader, DDG: Regulatory Compliance, described the compliance and enforcement targets, as well as the annual action plan for the protection and management of rhinos. He said the National Climate Change Response Bill had been submitted to Parliament and the National Waste Management strategy had been submitted to Cabinet.
Ms Mchunu asked if the Department had been able to asses the successful conviction rates of transgressors, and why it was reducing its target for peer reviewed publications.
Ms Mbatha said the presentation talked only of the Waste Act and not the Waste Amendment Act which was being used currently. She said waste and bottles landed up in the oceans and posed a health care risk. How was this issue being dealt with? How was the mercury spillage and hazardous material being exported to South Africa being dealt with?
Mr B Holomisa (UDM) asked about managing business relations. Was the Department succeeding in coordinating the work implementation via different departments? There was a need for a Presidential Council on Sustainable Development.
Ms Creecy said it was a pity Mr Holomisa was not present when she had done her presentation, because it had spoken about how hundreds of thousands of people were dependent on natural resources for their livelihood, and how the sustainable use of resources was implemented in practice. The issues that Mr Holomisa had raised spoke to those points. As a Department, more needed to be done to translate international commitments and obligations into domestic plans of action to achieve sustainable use in practice, and implementation plans needed to be tightened up.
Mr Abader said that there were 333 inspectors at the local government level to assist in environmental management and monitoring, and the enforcement of by-laws.
The Department was looking into getting the youth into the environmental management inspectorate, but it was a specific process that had to be followed.
He said the Department did an annual compliance report on cases regarding the percentage of success and the factors responsible for such success.
On the health care risk posed by waste, the Department did proactive and reactive compliance, and the issue continued to be on the Department’s radar.
On the spillage in Durban harbour, a compliance notice had been issued and remediation steps were being undertaken.
Waste dumping in South Africa was being looked at, because China had stopped importing waste and countries were looking for alternative sites.
On the mercury case, he said a company had imported mercury on a recycling basis, but it was sitting in containers and in the ground. The Department was dealing with it in terms of the new Minamata Convention, and the waste would be returned to the country of origin.
Mr Mark Gordan, DDG: Chemical and Waste Management, said a company had imported mercury waste into the country in the 1990s for recycling, and had stored it at Cato Ridge. There had been unsuccessful trials to recycle the waste, and the waste also contained other hazardous chemicals. Under a new convention, South Africa was party to the waste, which would be repatriated to the country of origin.
Programme 3 – Oceans and Coast
Ms Judy Beaumont, DDG: Oceans and Coast, described the National Coastal Management programme, including the development of coastal water quality guidelines. She also referred to the estuarine management strategy and the management plans for marine protected areas.
Ms Mchunu asked why there was a decrease in the target for the number of peer reviewed articles, from 24 to 16. She asked if the Department was working with municipalities and local government on water quality guidelines, especially in areas where there was drought.
The Chairperson asked if rural areas were part of the awareness campaign on the ocean economy
Ms Mbatha said the presentation reflected that the assessment baseline study of 2017/18 still needed finalisation in the current financial year. Why was this so?
Ms Beaumont replied that the peer review article target was partly budget-related and partly due to developing young scientists to get their work up to standard.
On the coastal water guidelines and the drought, she said it was the Department’s responsibility to make sure that the brine entering into the oceans was at the right levels and at the right places.
She said the comments on the awareness campaign were accepted and noted.
The National Coastal Assessment had an increased priority because of climate change.
On the peer reviewed article target, Ms Ngcaba said that there was also the ageing senior scientist component to take into account.
Programme 4 – Climate Change, Air Quality and Sustainable Development
Dr Tsakani Ngomane, DDG: Climate Change, described the climate service products developed for the national framework for climate services, studies conducted for mitigation potential in sectors, the targets for air quality and for air quality monitoring stations, South Africa’s negotiating positions developed for a number of international environment and sustainable development positions, and the SA Weather Service (SAWS).
Ms Ngcaba said she just wanted to add that the SA Weather Services Act of 2001 had been amended. With regard to mitigation assessments, in 2006 the Department had conducted mitigation assessments of greenhouse gases arising from industry production. The assessment showed that energy was the highest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. This had influenced the direction of the national development plan to reduce such emissions from carbon intensive energy production. Carbon intensive energy production also impacted on the air quality, as the former contained particulates.
Ms N Gantsho (ANC) asked what the reasons were for the reduction in the air quality target to 110.
Ms Mchunu asked how many monitoring stations were currently monitoring quality, and if there was a plan to upgrade the existing stations to do the work effectively.
She referred to the presentation where a report was being compiled this year, with no actual work being done. Was this correct? How many reports for publications would be produced? She asked how SAWS’ communication systems could be upgraded to avoid a loss of life when disasters occurred.
Ms Mbatha asked how air quality was monitored and measured. She referred to air pollution in areas such as those surrounding SASOL and factory areas. On the state of the environment impact assessment report, she said that the five-year target talked only of the 2017/18 draft report, and the APP did not give any numbers. Was this because the Department could not compile a report if an impact assessment study was not yet done?
Ms A Weber (DA) asked if the 110 government quality monitoring stations used the same criteria and if not, why did the results differ? Who was supposed to follow up on the reports and enforce the laws to ensure that air quality improved?
Ms T Tongwane (ANC) asked if the National Climate Change Response Policy of 2017/18 had been submitted to the Minister and if not, when would it be submitted?
On the question of the monitoring stations target being reduced to 110, Ms Ngomane said the target had been reduced because it took into account working with municipalities, and the Department wanted to ensure better data integrity. If the situation stabilized, it could then revisit the targets that had been set.
The targets for the functionality of the monitoring stations had been exceeded. The Department had assisted the municipalities to have the officials it needed. The Department worked with the SAWS on upgrading its communications, especially around forecasting and modelling.
Air quality was a serious issue, and ISCOR Flats could be part of the high priority areas that had been identified, because air pollution had a spatial component to it and ISCOR Flats was close to industrial areas. She could do a special presentation on the status of interventions in high priority areas and what the Department was doing.
Ms Ngcaba said there had been a decrease in the number of air quality stations because the figure represented government stations. There were non-functioning stations in municipalities and they were not providing data, therefore the Department was working with these. On the other hand, there were others that needed re-investment. There were no differing standards -- all worked to one standard.
On sector monitoring, she said that they were not really reports. In law, the Environmental Management Act meant reports had to be published and take into account other reports. One report was published every five years, and contained chapters covering the environment, the state of rivers, coasts etc. The report was an impact indicator, not an output indicator.
There had to be better mechanisms linking the Department to municipalities and to the Committee, because the change in technology allowed for such an improvement.
She said the avoidance of loss of life was also because of prior work done in the form of forecasts. The Department’s responsibility was to use the budget with the SAWS and municipalities.
On enforcement follow-up, she said there was follow up through compliance processes which took place at the provincial and national level, but it was dictated to by the budget.
She said the chief executive officer (CEO) of the SAWS had been suspended by the board after a tip off over corruption. The Minister was waiting to receive a report from the board. Once the report was received, the Committee would be informed.
The Chairperson commented that the Minister had apologised for her absence from the meeting after the lunch break.
Ms Mbatha wanted further clarification on whether an environmental impact assessment (EIA) should be done before the environment impact assessment report could be completed.
Ms Ngcaba said an EIA was done per project, and was a tool for monitoring and evaluation. The State of the Environment report was a report detailing the change in the environment over time.
Ms Mchunu observed that in the performance indicators, no target had been set for the financial year.
Ms Mbatha added that one could not budget for something for which no target had been set. Why was 21019/20 not applicable?
Ms Ngcaba said the presentation was a strategic plan. The Department would not be spending money on the report until the next MTEF, by which time the report would have been finalised.
Programme 5 – Bio-diversity and Conservation
Mr Shonisani Munzhedzi, DDG: Biodiversity, spoke to the percentage of land under conservation; the percentage of the area of state-managed protected assets; the biodiversity initiatives to be implemented; and the public entities – South African National Parks (SANParks, the SA National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and Isimangaliso Wetland Park.
On the issue of economic activity, Ms Mchunu asked if the Department was not looking at Judge Zondo’s ruling on dagga and on SANBI’s role in this matter so that the Department was prepared. Had SANBI presented their budget and their impact on the society they worked with, to the Committee? Was the Department working with the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) in cases where mining companies needed to rehabilitate land?
Ms Mbatha asked how the 500 hectares of land under cultivation had been identified and if it was state land. What training was offered to the 400 beneficiaries of biodiversity training? Did the Department expect that the percentage of land under cultivation would increase, given that Forestry would be falling under the Department?
Ms Gantsho said that communities in the Tsitsikamma area were not benefiting from tourism in the area. Who was monitoring the fishing areas and fishing rights of the region? Local communities were not allowed access to a beach area called Eerste Rivier. In Joubertina, people were doing as they pleased with honey-bush tea production, yet this was an opportunity for local job creation if it was monitored.
Mr Modise asked if SANParks was responsible for 19 parks, including the Kruger National Park (KNP), because he was concerned about a confrontation between Mozambique and the South African Defence Force in the KNP area. How did this affect the Department, and if it did, what corrective measures were being taken to salvage the situation?
Mr Munzhedzi said the Department was working on bio-prospecting, or bio-farming, of the 500 hectares of cultivated land and had provided start-up funding and worked with other partners. People were incorporated as individuals or as groups.
On the question relating to dagga, he said there was interest in this space and there were already groups working in this field, but the Department had not prioritised the matter.
He said that when Forestry fell under the Department’s umbrella, land under conservation would include all protected land.
The training of youth on the biodiversity programme had been completed in conjunction with other bodies to provide as thorough a training as possible. The training target was 4 000 trainees.
On the question of access to beaches, Ms Beaumont said that Eerste Rivier was a long-term issue, and the Department was working with local government to improve access to the beaches and the facilities available there. They were now at the point of implementing the development of facilities.
Ms Ngcaba said that the integrated Coastal Management Act declared that the coast was held in trust on behalf of South Africa, and so access to the beaches needed to be provided in the area by developers.
She said that public entities had boards and accounting officers, and reported to the Minister. Because of time constraints, their strategic plans and APPs were tabled by the Minister to the Committee. In future, these entities could account to the Committee directly.
On the question of the Mozambican army, she said confrontation did not take place in the KNP, but was on the KZN border area and the Department was not directly impacted.
She said the protection of honey-bush tea production was a priority so that farming it could be increased. The honey-bush was one of a number of species that was prioritized, while dagga was not.
On fishing in the Tsitsikamma area, she said that there were areas that had been protected for some time already, because they had been declared protected in the 1960s, but this legislation did not allow for the provision of artisanal fishing. Subsequent studies had been done, and some places had been opened up for artisanal fishing. The Fisheries portfolio was still on its way to the Department, so currently it was not dealing with the matter.
Ms Mbatha asked how the Department dealt with traditional health practitioners, and whether the Department educated them.
Mr Munzhedzi said there was a need to appropriate a benefit for the traditional knowledge of traditional healers when use was made by companies of that knowledge commercially, while at the same time ensuring sustainable harvesting.
Mr Abader said it was not just an issue of illegality, but was also about companies and traditional healers being aware of compliance and the promotion of compliance awareness.
Programme 6 - Environmental Programs
Mr Guy Preston, DDG: Environmental Programmes, referred to the EPWP programmes and the number of work opportunities created and full-time equivalent (FTE) job targets; the number of youth work and training opportunities created; the targets for the combating of alien invasive plant species and the targets for the suppression of wild fires.
Mr Lorimer asked how much of the wetlands had been damaged by mining.
Ms Mbatha said the magistrates’ court in Klerksdorp had water seepage problems. Could the Department help the Department of Public Works (DPW) in this matter, as the court was a health hazard? While the target for work opportunities created was 71 945, the targets for women and youths were decreasing. Who was being targeted for training, and what did the training comprise? She said the wildlife baseline was 100, yet the target was set at 90 -- why was this so? How did the Department protect against wildfires?
Mr Modise asked for a comment from the Department on Khutsong. On wildfires, he said the Department had been responsive in all cases except the Northern Cape. Why was this so? He asked what the criteria were for FTE work opportunities in real jobs.
Mr Preston said he did not know haw many mining companies were involved in the damage to the wetlands, but he would find out.
The Department did not have a minimum wage for the EPWP programme, but there were wage bands and there was a range of payments that could be made. Higher wages meant fewer people could be employed, and wage decisions were in any case taken elsewhere.
The Department was about to sign an agreement with Rhodes University regarding a fungus and the borer beetle. It was also possible to use chemicals in the borer beetle eradication programme.
He said occupational health and safety was a vital part of their work, and the biggest danger was EPWP people working on the roads.
He would get details relating to the wetlands issue in the Klerksdorp magistrates’ court issue, but it might be related to dolomitic ground and acid mine drainage. The DPW needed to check with the Department.
On the figures for women and youth, he said that if one looked at the percentages one would see that even though the target number of people had decreased, the percentage for women and youth had actually increased to 53%. Its target was to have 55% of the total comprised of women.
Full time equivalent work amounted to 100 days’ work, and this was the amount of work they were targeting.
He said the Working on Fire target was 90% because fires were very difficult to control, and one could have multiple fires occurring simultaneously and it would be impossible to handle all. One actually wanted as small a number as possible, because it dealt with fires.
The Department was trying to improve the quality of the training, so more specialised training was being given in a range of areas. It was trying to consolidate programmes of work so that people could get decent work rather than have peaks and troughs of work instances. The targets that were set were limited only by the budget.
He said the Department wanted to do more prevention work to protect against wild fires.
The dolomite ground was a huge issue, with the formation of sinkholes. It was an environmental threat. and the environmental degradation was caused by poor water management.
He said the Department had daily fire maps, and that was how the Department measured itself. The Northern Cape did not have many wild fires because of the type of vegetation existing there.
On the issue of FTE jobs, he said people would claim a job even when there was no substance to such a claim and would then be unemployed, so the Department wanted to have a measure of the value of the job by getting a certain amount of work for that job (i.e. 100 days work in a year).
Ms Ngcaba said most of the wetlands were more for the irrigation areas, and the Department had not done work in the mining areas. The Carltonville rehabilitation projects on ownerless mines were being done under the aegis of the DMR.
For the prevention of wildfires, fire breaks were what the Department should be working on.
Program 7 - Chemical and Waste Management
Mr Mark Gordan, DDG, addressed waste management and the targets for chemical and waste management instruments by the Department; the targets for job creation and the establishment of waste management small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs); the targets for atmospheric licence and waste licence applications issued within specified time frames; as well as speaking to the chemicals and waste economy.
Ms Mbatha said the Japanese model of waste management of separation at source should be implemented in South Africa. In South Africa, waste was not separated at source and became a health hazard because the waste was already contaminated. The 50% target for landfill was not achievable. The first question was how the landfill sites would be rehabilitated. She said Department officials had not advised the former Minister correctly, and the Department was still doing things incorrectly. The Department talked only of municipalities, but she asked about their interaction with government departments which produced a lot of waste. The Department needed to sit down with the Ministers of Public Works and Agriculture. Construction waste was not being recycled correctly, and was being dumped incorrectly. She asked if there was a policy for e-waste management, especially concerning government e-waste.
Ms Mchunu said that when the Department looked at bulk waste and sewage sludge, it should look at the rural community and also consider animal waste such as cow dung to generate electricity, as was done in Giyani. While she agreed with tyre recycling, she wanted the bottlenecks in the industry to be looked at because previously disadvantaged individuals had difficulty entering into the tyre recycling business. Could the Department assist such small businesses?
Mr Modise said he noted a contradiction in Programme 7. One performance indicator talked of real jobs, yet Programme 6 spoke of FTE jobs. What was the overall number of jobs created by the Department, and could this be given according to categories?
Ms Winkler wanted to know how the air pollution targets were linked to air quality management at landfill sites and how the Department ensured that surrounding communities’ welfare was not affected.
On waste separation at source, Mr Gordon said the Department had developed guidelines for implementation by municipalities the previous year, and there were a number of initiatives by metros on separating waste at source. However, not many municipalities had the infrastructure to deal with separated waste. This was an area where the Department was working with municipalities through industry waste management plans and through incentives. Municipalities themselves could not fund the development of infrastructure for separated waste.
On converting waste to energy, he said there were a few landfill sites in KZN that did do this. Regarding incineration to generate heat, he said that this was acceptable for the colder northern climates, but why should valuable recyclables be burnt in the south?
The Department tried its best to assist municipalities, but it did not have a mandate on general waste, so the monitoring of compliance and enforcement around illegal dumping rested with provinces.
He acknowledged the point about government departments’ e-waste. On e-waste management, he said the Department had broad guidelines for hazardous waste management and a road map.
The point was taken regarding work streams and sewage sludge, but biomass initiatives all came down to scale, price and electricity regulation.
On the promotion of SMMEs, he said the Department did that, and the recycling enterprise programme focused on new entrants -- mainly on women and youth.
He said waste oil was benficiated to diesel and chemical products.
Under the Phakisa programme, the jobs target was very different and was much higher.
On the emissions and odour problems from landfill sites, he said the Shongweni landfill site licence had been suspended and the site closed down because of the bad odour emanating from it. Odours and air quality surrounding landfill sites were closely monitored according to the licensing requirements, and penalties were incurred for non-compliance.
Ms Ngcaba said that Program 6 of the EPWP worked under different rules compared to Programme 7, so the use of FTEs in Programme 6 was not a mistake. The Department was also an enabler of jobs and so for waste, it had a target of 300 000 jobs through the waste Phakisa. These were not jobs created by the Department, but it was about how the Department enabled them.
The Department did have targets for waste which had been noted earlier in the Departmental presentation by the Minister.
She said Ms Mbatha’s suggestions on the Japanese waste separation management model could be discussed with her to explain why it was not working in South Africa. Separation at source was the policy, and it was about getting municipalities’ waste management plans to reflect this. The Minister had talked of creating a value for waste to encourage good waste management behaviour.
She said the implementation of waste management was not fully controlled by the Department, therefore it was supporting municipalities in implementing waste management.
The meeting was adjourned