The Committee convened on a virtual platform to receive a briefing from the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) on its Annual Report for 2019/20. The Deputy Minister was in attendance.
Overall, the Department achieved 67% of its set targets (58/87). The unachieved targets were mainly caused by delays with the implementation of projects.
Key performance challenges related to air quality management, implement of environment programmes projects, delayed impacting on a number of planned outputs in programme si, wetland rehabilitation projects and tyre processing capacity challenges.
The financial report of the Department showed that 98.4% of the total budget was spent and that the Department received a qualified audit outcome for the 2019/2020 financial year with findings.
Members raised concerns on the lack of performance by the Department and the high number of delayed programme projects considering that most of the Department’s budget was spent for the 2019/2020 financial year. The Department’s action plans and corrective measures in response to air quality monitoring of polluting industries and pollution affected residential areas were questioned by Members and it was decided that the Department is less concerned with what it is supposed to do.
Members also raised concerns on the high vacancy rate of 12% within the Department and the involvement of provinces in the Department’s work and programmes considering that the Committee represents the National Council of Provinces, which has a constitutional mandate to represent provinces.
Members questioned the status and progress of the Aquaculture Bill, especially in terms of the cultivation of indigenous species and fisheries rights allocations.
The Committee opened the virtual meeting, welcoming the Members, support staff and delegates from the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF).
She handed over to the Department for its presentation.
Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries: 2019/20 Annual Report
Ms Maggie Sotyu, Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, said that the Department was going to present on the annual report and financial report as requested by the Committee. The incoming Director-General of the Department was introduced to the Select Committee accompanying officials and Deputy-Directors General of the Department.
Mr Ishaam Abader, Deputy Director-General (DDG): Regulatory Compliance and Sector Monitoring, DEFF, outlined the structure of the presentation. He then said that the Department achieved 67% (58/87) of its targets, with 30% (26/87) being in progress and 3% (3/87) off target.
2019/20 performance highlights:
Programme. 2: legal, authorisation, compliance and enforcement:
-234 enforcement notices issued for non-compliance with environmental legislation
-56 criminal cases were finalised and dockets handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA).
Programme 3: oceans and coasts:
-implementation of the coastal water quality monitoring programme: water quality monitoring programme was implemented in 23 priority sites in four coastal provinces.
-peer-reviewed scientific publications (including theses and research policy reports): 20 scientific publications (including theses and research policy reports) were peer-reviewed.
Programme 4: climate change, air quality and sustainable development:
-adaptation interventions implemented: five adaptation projects/interventions implemented through civil society organisation with the support from the Government of Flanders.
-100% (4/4) of annual pollution prevention plans (PPP) processed in line with the regulations.
programme 5: biodiversity and conservation:
-expansion of the conservation estate expanded by 0.14% to 15.74% land under conservation (19 209 923 ha).
-6 557 640 ha of state managed protected areas were assessed with a mett score above 67%.
-United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) drought management plan was developed.
-biodiversity entrepreneurs: 446 biodiversity entrepreneurs trained.
Programme 6: environmental programmes:
-73 568 work opportunities created.
-53 192 youth benefited from implementation of environmental programmes.
-1 852 (100%) of the reported wild fires were suppressed.
Programme 7: chemicals and waste management:
-mercury management national action plan finalised.
-30 Environmental Performance Assessments were conducted.
Key performance challenges:
-Air Quality Management: Planned number of air quality monitoring stations reporting to SA Air Quality Information Systems (SAAQIS) missed due to equipment failures as a result of numerous power outages. Burglaries and vandalism in some of the stations also affected the performance of most instruments.
-Implementation of Environment Programmes projects (EPWP projects): Extensive delays in project start dates due to adjustments to contracts to allow work/payment to proceed and to comply with accounting/financial management and reporting frameworks.
-Delays impacted on a number of planned outputs in Programme 6.
-Performance of contractors: A project which was meant to deliver on the outstanding accommodation units experienced delays due to poor workmanship by the implementer which resulted in work having to be corrected.
-A contract of an implementer responsible for a number of wetland rehabilitation projects has to be suspended as the implementer was under investigation for fraud and corruption by the Nelson Mandela Bay Metro.
-Tyre processing capacity challenges: Planned annual output of 50% of waste tyres recycled (85 133 tons of 170 266 estimated waste tyres arising) missed due limited processing capacity.
The presentation then provided a breakdown of performance per programme – see attached for details
Ms Limpho Maphike, DDG: Corporate Management Services, DEFF, said that the areas that did not fully achieve target would be the focus of the programme report. On Sound Corporate Governance, the external audit opinion did not achieve the target because a qualified opinion was received. On value-focused funding and resourcing, proposals for tourism investment are still under consideration by Lesotho and have not been finalised. On adequate, appropriately skilled, transformed and diverse workforce, the vacancy rate of the Department increased from eight percent to 12% and the targeted percentage of women in Senior Management (SMS) was not achieved because of limited vacancies. On effective and efficient information technology, the online permitting system was not achieved because the three modules that were supposed to be tested have not been tested due to delays. On improved profile, support and enhanced capacity, the draft training on the CAPS programme had to be held virtually.
Mr Abader said that the target of the first indicator on LACE was not met on the average compliance and delays with the finalisations on the action plan for the protection and management of the rhino population. He also mentioned that there were project delays of the EMP working of water, wetlands and land care programme as well as delays with National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC) on the Climate Change Bill process.
Mr Ashley Naidoo, Chief Director: Oceans and Coasts Research, DEFF, indicated that the annual South African Ocean and Coasts Environmental Data report is still being finalised, and that is why the target has not been met. The amended NEMP also still has to be published.
Ms Thuli Khumalo, DDG: Climate Change & Air Quality, DEFF, highlighted that the unachieved area on CC & AQM was because only 76 instead of the targeted 110 state-owned stations reported to SAAQIS due to numerous power outages.
Mr Shoni Munzhedzi, DDG: Biodiversity and Conservation, DEFF, said that the identification of hectares for indigenous species went ahead of the planned target and cultivation was below the set target.
Ms Nonhlanhla Mkhize, DDG: Environmental Programmes, DEFF, said that unachieved targets were a result of the change in the contracting system within the Department. On the unachieved target of full-time equivalents, the programme had less FTE’s than the set target. The set target on the number of accredited training participants was not achieved because of delayed starting of the projects, less that the set target was achieved for the number of overnight units and only 124 of the targeted 165 wetlands to be rehabilitated were achieved. Multiple performance indicator targets were not achieved.
Ms Mamogala Musekene, Acting DDG: Chemical and Waste Management, Department, mentioned that there were no achievements with the draft policy instrument being published; there was a decreased target achievement of 21.20% from the targeted 50%. Fewer jobs were created compared to the set target because of post advertisements that could not be made.
On Fisheries Management, Ms Sue Middleton, Chief Director: Fisheries Operations Support, DEFF, said that the set targets of the approval of reviving the agricultural bill and the conducting of research on the candidate species for aquaculture were not achieved. The last target that is still in progress is the allocation of rights for small-scale fisheries cooperatives which have happened in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal but not in the Western Cape due to delays. The overall performance of fisheries management was 73% target achievement, nine percent in progress and 18 off target.
On Forestry and Natural Resources Management, Ms Pumeza Nodada, Acting DDG: Forestry and Natural Resource Management, DEFF, said that the transaction advisor to develop the business model for the recommissioning was not achieved. The overall performance was 75% of targets achieved and 25% off target.
Mr Rannoi Sedumo, Chief Financial Officer, DEFF, provided the presentation outline for the annual financial report of the Department. The Department spent 98.4% of the total budget with underspending in three programmes: programme three, six and seven during the 2019/2020 financial year. He also provided the total expenditure for each programme and economic classification.
On the audit findings, the Department achieved a qualified audit with three findings. This was an improvement of 11 findings in 2018/19 and the adverse opinion in 2017/18.
Mr T Matibe (ANC, Limpopo) was elected to chair the meeting at the Chairperson’s request.
Ms L Bebee (ANC, KwaZulu-Natal) thanked the Department for a detailed presentation and that every programme outlined the challenges that were experienced. She said that it is encouraging that during the 2019/20 financial year the small-scale fisheries cooperatives in KwaZulu-Natal received fishing rights for 15 years and asked if the rights are renewable. If not, why not and if yes, what are the criteria for renewal?
She said that the annual report for the year under review shows that through the National Adaption Fund the Department has supported numerous projects in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), with most beneficiaries being women and the youth. She asked for the exact number of projects that were supported in KZN by the Department through the NAF and the specific districts in KZN where the beneficiaries are located. She said that in November 2019 an expert panel was appointed to review policies, legislation and practices related to the management of breeding, hunting and trading of elephants, leopards, lions, rhino, etc. She also asked if the panel has completed its work. If yes, she requested for the panel’s report to be forwarded to the Committee.
Mr A Cloete (FF+, Free State) said that anyone who disagrees or challenges the Paris Agreement is in denial, adding that conservation is good. There are a lot of issues concerning climate change that are not understood by many. He highlighted that a report by PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PWC) stated that South Africa is the highest contributor of greenhouse gases together with China and, it is one of the worst G20 performers. Air quality monitoring stations remain an area of concern and the legitimacy of the information provided is questionable. He recounted that delegation was sent from South Africa to the fifth Paris Agreement and commitments were supposed to be submitted together with various countries. South Africa did not submit the commitments, and an implementation plan for local government and municipalities has not been recommended. He asked what the way forward with climate change is and when the Committee will be aware that local government needs to implement the Paris Agreement or whether implementation will follow a chain of command on what needs to be done. On the national waste management strategy, he asked why the strategy has been delayed and when it will be available for the public to view.
Mr A Arnolds (EFF, Western Cape) thanked the Department for the presentation and noted that 67% of targets were achieved during the 2019/20 financial year with 30% in progress. He expressed unhappiness with the 67% achieved targets and the lack of performance by the Department. Hopefully the incoming Director-General will note the underperforming areas and ensure that performance is increased and maintained.
On programme one, he pointed out that the vacancy rate was still high even though people were promoted to try and reduce the vacancy rate and he expressed dissatisfaction with the 12.3% vacancy rate, adding that it needs to be corrected. He also raised concerns on the percentage of compliance to the employment equity targets for women representation in senior management and said that the underperformance is unacceptable and must be corrected as a priority matter.
On programme two, compliance and monitoring, he raised concerns on the increased expenditure in legal costs for cases against the Department, the purchase of software and the increased costs of compensation of employee. He said that the Department needs to expand on the legal excellence that is being brought up against the Department as well as the total costs and nature of the legal costs.
On programme five, he said that the challenges on the number of biodiversity economic initiatives that were implemented were not clear and asked for more information on the challenges of delays that were outlined in the presentation.
On programme eight, he said that there was a target for recommissioning forests in the Western Cape and asked for clarity on the target and whether the plan to start recommissioning is for indigenous or exotic plantations. Which former plantation areas are being considered? What is the cost-benefit analysis for recommissioning and the impact on conservation efforts in the areas?
On programme six, he noted that the Department of Basic Education was to build toilet blocks in schools and requested more details on the project, especially because it is not responsible for constructing schools.
He said that the issues with the internal control system of the Department that have been identified by the Auditor-General are not up to standard and that the Committee needs to look into the Department because adequate internal control systems were not implemented and there was high irregular expenditure in previous financial years, which is concerning.
Ms C Labuschagne (DA, Western Cape) referred to the annual financial report on the expenditure per economic classification variance in the public corporations, transfers and subsidies. She noted that the variance was high and asked for an explanation on this. On the internal control functions, she asked the Department for a report or presentation on the plan of action to correcting the internal control system by the Department.
On the findings by the Auditor-General on Goods and Services, she highlighted that the presentation noted the issue as ‘resolved’ and asked the Department to explain how the issue was resolved and the terms of the agreement between the Department and the Auditor-General. She also asked how the Department was planning on solving the issue of irregular expenditure and the current status of the issue.
On the regulatory compliance and sector monitoring, she said that the focus is on the strategic objective of improving compliance with environmental legislation and that there are set standards with the Paris Agreement and emissions that need to be adhered to. Year after year, large companies and industries in air quality priority areas request permission not to comply with the emission standards, which results in a lot of money being spent on court cases where the Department is not taking action against the polluting companies but non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are. She asked for insight on the Department’s plan to enforce change and ensure compliance by the large companies and industries.
On air quality administration, she noted that the Department conducted four awareness campaigns and eight activities held and said that air quality is a major issue. She asked to whom the air quality programmes were targeted and where they have been conducted.
On programme three, concerning the socio-economic study to determine the potential of different sectors of the oceans economy to contribute to the GDP, she said that the figure provided for aquaculture is far beyond what has been achieved through the project and that the figures for employment do not seem realistic. She asked on what the supporting environmental legislation would need and whether the private sector will have to invest or if the prioritisation of the Aquaculture Bill will make it possible.
She asked for the Department’s opinion on the other southern endemic species such as Cobia and Yellowtail that have been researched by other countries in the Southern Hemisphere like Australia and whether there is a willingness by the Department or the country to look into culturing endemic species with the already-existing cooperation with other countries.
On programme four, she asked the Department to inform the Committee on the National Declared Contributions (NDC) that South Africa has done and the respective implementation plan. On programme six, she asked why the Department is involved in the construction of school toilets when there are other priorities. On programme seven, she said that 100% restriction on recycled plastic in the industry that was outlined in the presentation by the Department was not approved by the industry and she asked for further information on the matter.
On the tyre-recycling target, she asked for the names of the two companies that could not fulfil their duties and the reason for this. She said that the two programmes, Environment programmes and Chemicals and Waste Management, which did not achieve their targets, also received forensic audit reports and she asked why the forensic reports were not mentioned in the annual report and whether the forensic reports have been concluded. She also asked for the findings of the forensic investigations to be shared with the Committee as well as the reasons for the investigations taking place. She also asked on the functioning of the Department on fruitless, wasteful and irregular expenditure.
Mr M Nhanha (DA, Eastern Cape) said that the work-in-progress targets in programme one have less than six weeks to be concluded before the end of the financial year and asked whether the respective DDG’s of each programme that has underperformed will receive performance bonuses.
On programme three, he said that is it unjustifiable that rural areas have not benefitted from the ocean programmes and asked on the programmes that will be or are tangible for these rural areas that rely on oceans as means for living.
On programme seven, he said that in Nelson Mandela Bay there is a company that is polluting the Swartkops River which runs into the ocean; in Makhanda there is sewage that runs into the Makana River stream that is used as a source of drinking water. He asked what the Department was doing to encourage municipalities to prevent pollution.
He said that an audit turnaround strategy was highlighted by the CFO and it has been mentioned over the years. A turnaround strategy should include key performance indicators to determine the strategy’s effectiveness. He said that nothing in the Department’s presentation mentioned the progress or status of the Department on the turnaround strategy since 2019. The CFO mentioned that there were issues of accuracy on the irregular expenditure, which is concerning. He asked for clarity on the issues of accuracy.
Ms W Ngwenya (ANC, Gauteng) said that the Committee is concerned that the Department received a qualified audit outcome but there is comfort that the material findings of the Department have decreased from the previous financial year, from seven to three audit findings, and there are hopes of a clean audit to be received by the Department. She expressed satisfaction on the appointment of the incoming DG, Ms Nomfundo Tshabalala.
She noted that the Department, through working for water programmes, has managed to donate schools desks throughout the country and asked for a provisional breakdown on the list of educational institutions that benefitted from the programme, considering that the Constitution mandates of the NCOP to represent provinces to ensure that provincial interests are taken into account by national departments.
She noted that the Department had an increase in legal costs for cases against it and asked for further clarity on the nature of the cases. She also asked on what contributed to the annual decline of rhino poaching and illegal wildlife trade. She noted that the annual report outlined that the Department had 25 SMS vacancies which were vacant as of 31 March 2020 and asked why the vacancies were not filled and the challenges that were experienced. She requested guarantee from the Department that all the vacant posts will be filled by the end of the current financial year.
The Chairperson said that the percentage spent on the compensation of employees is more than 100% and no explanations of the variants were provided. The Chairperson asked for the reason for the variants and why it was not done during the budget adjustments period. On the pre-payments and advancements, the Chairperson asked for the reason for the amount.
The Deputy Minister (DM) agreed with the comments made by the Committee on irregular expenditure and issues on pre-payments and said that a meeting was held with the AG to gain clarity on the some of the issues that were raised by the Committee. The DM said that the Department CFO works closely with the AG to ensure that there is compliance.
On the issue of irregular expenditure, Mr Sedumo said that the manner in which irregular expenditure is addressed considers the findings by the AG and overall performance administration. The majority of the irregular expenditure was a result of the functionality criteria that was set by the Department, which affected more than 20 tenders of the Department. The AG did find that the Department’s functionality criteria is not objective and this means that decisions made and tenders awarded by the Department were not evaluated objectively. The resolution from the audit outcome was that from April 2020 the evaluation criteria was changed to be more transparent and objective to prevent irregular expenditure. Process flows have been changed and updated to allow the administration of the process to deal with compliance. Training will also be implemented to allow everyone in the Department an opportunity to be part of the change and to fully understand and comply with the updated process flows.
Mr Sedumo said that new forms have been put in place for the submissions by bid Committees so that compliance is carefully monitored during the procurement process. He said that a permanent BAC has been implemented in the previous financial year that enables the Department to deal with compliance consistently. A new Chief Director has been appointed; this will bring in a new perspective into the processes.
On the identification of irregular expenditure, he explained that the issue is interlinked with pieces of legislation that need to be confirmed. On accuracy, he said that it relates to the amounts that have been reported as ‘irregular’. Annually, the Department is required to report on the payments that have been made on contracts but the employees in Supply Chain Management (SCM) did not understand the financial reports.
On the audit action plan, he said that both teams will be combined and the review process will be strengthened to ensure that checks are done on time and appropriately. On the transfers of variations of R66 million, he said that the response will be submitted in writing to the Committee because more details need to be gathered from the office. On the audit findings on Goods and Services, he said that the Department has an EPWP programme that is implemented by implementing entities. When payments are made to these entities they are classified as outsourcing services and on the document the payment is further classified. In the 2019/2020 financial year the Department did not have enough supporting documents from the implementing entities to support the adjustments that were made under Goods and Services, which resulted in the audit not expressing the correct numbers. The Department sent out accountants to the implementing entities in the previous year to ensure that findings on classifications are corrected. The pre-payment model of the EPWP programmes was discarded by the Department because it created dependency on information that is sourced from outside the Department and the implementation entity payments will be order based.
On the turnaround strategy, he said that the Department has an action plan which provides the milestones and what needs to be achieved. The strategy in place has enabled the Department to reduce the 11 qualifications to three qualifications, but there is commitment to completely clear the qualification findings on the audit report.
On the matter relating to the Paris Agreement and increased greenhouse gas emissions, Ms Khumalo said that there is a graph that is used to measure targets and that the Department is well within the targets. On the legitimacy of the information from the air quality monitoring stations, she said that the information is correct and that air quality information on the state of air is not presented if it is faulty or does not meets the minimum standards. The information is presented if it meets the at least 75% of the reporting year.
On the NDC submission, she highlighted that the deadline of submissions is before the CORP and that the Department is still updating the NDC in preparation for the submission to the Cabinet so that the public participation process will begin. On the adaptation strategy and work done in the provinces, she said that all nine provinces have been supported and have developed their climate change response plans. She also said that municipalities have been capacitated to implement the response plans into their respective development plans. The provincial plans can be forwarded to the Committee. There is no top-down approach that is followed by the Department but instead a collaborative relationship exists with all provincial officials and municipalities. On the industrial pollution, she said that the Department has a legislation for industrial pollution and that there is enforcement of activities for non-complying industries with emissions. Mr Abader’s branch is responsible for providing compliance reports.
On the vacancies and compensation budgets, Ms Maphike indicated that the Department has relooked at the realignment structure so that funded priority posts are filled, and she assured the Committee that the vacancy rate is being addressed through advertisements in an attempt to fill vacancies. Hopefully by the end of the current financial year there will be progress and improvement on the vacancy rate.
On the eight activities that were conducted on air quality monitoring, she said that the programmes are targeted at ordinary community members and students where feedback and an understanding of air quality are questioned. Activities were held in Kimberley, North West, and were published in various newspapers.
On the publication of the waste management strategy, Ms Musekene said that in September 2020 Cabinet approved the strategy and it is available on the Department’s website but a direct link will be shared with the Committee. On the waste tyre companies linked to processing underperformance, she mentioned that the companies involved are: Heaven Renewables (Gauteng), which is currently undergoing upgrades; EnviroProtect (Gauteng), which has not been profitable and Trident Fuels, which did not continue with processing because of disputes with waste tyre.
On the waste water from municipalities that pollutes drinking water sources, she said that the Department works with the Department of Water Affairs because of DWA’s mandate to protect water resources and manage pollution. Municipalities and industries that discharge pollution into the water will be dealt with by the DWA.
On the renewal of fishing rights, Ms Middleton said that the allocation of fishing rights to the commercial and the small-scale sector is managed according to Section 18 of the Marine Living Resources Act and the maximum period of allocated rights is 15 years. Thereafter, the rights are reverted back to the Department. Fishing rights are not property rights, so reapplications are necessary.
On the Aquaculture Bill, she said that the Bill was referred to the sixth Parliament for revival and will be in the Fisheries branch’s Annual Performance Plan for the 2021/2022 financial year. The Bill is also on the parliamentary schedule for the year, for adoption and consideration. On the culturing of aquaculture species, she explained that in South Africa the species that are being cultivated at a research level are Grunter, Yellowtail, Cobb, Scallops and Sea Urchins. The species are being cultivated at the Seapoint Aquarium with hopes that enough spat will be generated for farming purposes. There are two Yellowtail and Cobb Farms in the Eastern Cape (in East London and Hamburg).
On the concerns of oceans as a means of living in rural areas, she said that fishing rights were allocated to 71 cooperatives in the Eastern Cape along the wild coast in December 2019. The function of the Department is to provide support to the cooperatives. On the focus on coastal provinces and not inland provinces, she said that historically fisheries was focused on marine areas but a mandate has been taken for inland freshwater fishing and the inland freshwater fisheries policy is at an advanced stage.
On the breakdown of schools that benefitted from the Department’s programme, Ms Mkhize said that the breakdown will be provided to the Committee. On the involvement of the Department in constructing school blocks, she said that the environmental programmes initiatives has a focus called ‘Value Added Industries’, which maximises on the removal of biomass plants as a way of creating jobs and enterprise development. The partnership with the Department of Basic Education is based on the provision of school blocks and the removal of biomass plants. The Department has since made a withdrawal on the construction of school blocks and the programme will be redirected to align with the mandate of the Department.
On the recommissioning in the Western Cape, Ms Nodada said that in the Western Cape an agreement was made that 45 000 hectares (ha) would be exited in forestry to try and address the conservation and environmental issues. She said that when this process began many businesses had to close down because there would not be any fibre to use to sustain jobs in the areas. At a later stage through a study, it was decided that half of the 45 000 ha would be returned to forestry, which is what is being recommissioned. On the replanting in the Western Cape, she indicated that there were disturbances from the fire outbreaks that occurred in 2017 and 2018. The Department has returned to the areas to ensure that there are no fire breaks so that both forestry and conservation areas are protected. She said that there are companies that struggle with accessing timber and that is why the Department has included the target in the master plan without compromising conservation initiatives. A cost-benefit analysis was conducted together with the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) on the cost of replanting or not replanting in areas.
On the increased legal costs and nature of the cases, Mr Abader said that the responses will be provided in writing because there are several cases. On non-compliance, he said that compliance can be administrative or legal processes and substantial work has been conducted on the air quality in priority areas with some industries spending close to R200 million in updating their infrastructure to ensure that emissions are reduced.
On the matter at Swartkops River, he said that a complaint was received from the Swartkops Conservancy and has been forwarded to the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). The matter was attended to by DWS, where samples were taken at the site and the matter is under investigation. He said that there are also informal settlements that contribute to the water pollution and that the reporting on the findings by the Auditor-General happened towards the end of the financial year so the implementation of the recommendations will only happen in the following financial year. On consequence management, he said that there have been suspensions of officials.
On the contractual issues on land that was supposed to be cultivated, Mr Munzhedzi said that financial support to the programme was the same as support given to the EPWP programme. On the aspect relating to rhino poaching and illegal wildlife trade, he said that statements have been released on the matter and the latest statement shows that there was a decline in the activity and outlines the arrests that have been made.
On the socio-economic analysis, Mr Andre Share, Chief Directorate: Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy Secretariat, DEFF, said that total ocean sector economic analysis is conducted to look at all the ocean sectors and sub-sectors that contribute to the GDP and job creation in aquaculture. On the aquaculture indigenous species, he said that the Department encourages the cultivation of indigenous species considering the criteria and the relevant risk assessments. Yellowtail projections show that in the next five years, there will be 200 tons to 3 000 tons.
On the involvement of provinces in the Department’s initiatives, he said that there is close collaboration with all the provinces in the oceans economy and initiative engagements are held with each province. The Eastern Cape strategies have been heavily funded and there are multiple projects in aquaculture and initiatives on small harbours where economic and feasibility studies have to be conducted to determine infrastructure span. Provinces are heavily involved especially in community-based projects but more work still needs to be done by the Department in this aspect.
On the expert panel that was appointed, Mr Munzhedzi said that the work of the panel was concluded and completed in December 2020; the Minister is still evaluating the report.
The Chairperson said that the Department should consider the questions that were raised by Members in the chat panel. She thanked the DM, the Department and the newly appointed DG, expressing hoped that areas of underperformance will be closely monitored and that implementation plans will be carried out.
Ms Labuschagne asked if the Department can provide feedback on the issues that were raised and at a later stage for the Department to present the findings on the investigations to the Committee.
The Chairperson said that annual reports needed to be categorised and separated so that there is sufficient time for each annual report.
Mr Cloete raised concerns that the Department gave provinces permission to develop plans for the implementation of the Paris Agreement. The proposal allows provinces to develop policies that have not been evaluated by the Committee.
The minutes of the previous Committee meeting were considered and adopted.
The meeting was adjourned.
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