Overview on all Operation Phakisa Programmes; with Deputy Minister

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

07 December 2021
Chairperson: Ms F Muthambi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

Video

The Committee met on a virtual platform to consider and review presentations from the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) on the progress of the Operation Phakisa programmes dealing with the oceans economy, the biodiversity economy, and chemicals and waste.

Members raised the matter of the controversial exploration off the Wild Coast, which was set to affect coastal communities from Port St Johns to Morgan Bay. There had been protest action from coastal communities and an outcry from environmentalists and non-governmental organisations. Given the fact that the DFFE bore the primary responsibility for protecting the environment, they suggested it would be appropriate for Cabinet to consider revising the responsibility given to the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy. The DFFE was better equipped to address matters pertaining to the environment. The Department responded that it was unable to comment on the seismic surveys, as the matter was still awaiting the jurisdiction of the courts.

Members raised numerous concerns regarding the poaching of indigenous plants and the hunting of wild animals, the responsibility for implementing game conservation measures, and the need to protect traditional indigenous intellectual property. They urged that companies should be held accountable for their products, and called for more regulations pertaining to plastic pollution and items such as disposable nappies and face masks, which could take up to 150 years to degrade. The accumulation of e-waste was an impending disaster, and the government -- as a major e-waste contributor -- needed to take the lead in addressing the problem.

The Committee suggested that all the Phakisa programmes required a greater level of integration and collaboration with local municipalities, to ensure that communities benefited from them.

Meeting report

The Acting Chairperson invited Ms Maggie Sotyu, Deputy Minister, Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), to make opening remarks and provide a brief overview of the presentation.

The Deputy Minister thanked the Chairperson, and introduced the Department’s speakers for the presentation.

Ms Nomfundo Tshabalala, Director-General (DG), DFFE, said that the Deputy Directors-General (DDGs) would be leading the presentations, with support from the chief directors of the various Phakisa programmes.

Ocean Economy Phakisa

Mr Andre Share, Chief Director: Oceans and Coastal Research, commenced with the Ocean Economy Phakisa programme presentation, emphasising the importance of South Africa’s ocean and marine life to economic growth and prosperity. It was estimated that the ocean space could potentially create a million jobs by 2033. 

The focus areas of the programme included skills development, capacity building, research and technology, as well as fisheries as a whole. He proceeded to provide an overview of the economic activities of the South African ports.

Saldana Bay had immense potential for ship repair and marine manufacturing. South Africa had capacity for growth in the marine economy. The legislature had begun working on legislation to allow for cohesion in oil drilling and exploration. The issue of state participation was to be finalised in the Mineral Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Bill. There was an incident management organisation that had been established to look at emergency responses to mitigate the potential impact of future offshore oil spills.

Aquaculture

Mr Share said there was potential to reduce the strain on ocean fishing by introducing aquaculture fishing projects. Aquaculture could help to revitalise the rural economy in particular. There were currently 28 projects in production, and an additional 17 projects had been planned to be implemented. However, there was still room for transformation in aquaculture, as the current projects were mostly headed by white men, and females were a minority. Regarding the new jobs that had been created by aquaculture, the majority of the beneficiaries were black and about a third were Coloured, whereas people with disabilities amounted to only 1% of the total beneficiaries. In addition, there were still gender disparities in aquaculture, as men remained the dominant participants and beneficiaries in the aquaculture economy.

There was an urgent need to reduce the timeframe for the implementation of aquaculture projects, as an evaluation of the business processes of the departments had revealed that it took a staggering 890 days to get through all the authorisations and to obtain all the requisite licences. Practically speaking, this could be reduced to 240 days, but this was still not ideal, and further action was needed to reduce this timeframe.

Much of the work in aquaculture aimed to strike a balance between economic development and sustainability. There were currently 20 protected marine areas which aimed to preserve the biodiversity of ecosystems. He flagged the over-harvesting of rock lobsters on the West Coast as a matter of grave concern.

Tracking of Vessels

Mr Share said there was an ongoing initiative to track ships in South African waters to combat poaching in protected areas and limit ecological damage in fishing zones. He added that an early warning system had been developed pertaining to algae blooms.

Aquatourism

Coastal and marine tourism was projected to create 160 000 new jobs by 2026 and generate potential revenue of about R21.4 billion. The Department of Tourism was currently developing new routes and events to promote aqua-tourism and research in maritime tourism.

Harbours

Mr Share reminded Members that in a previous meeting, he had presented on the diversification of SA’s harbours and the creation of new priority harbours. The government was currently working on an extensive harbour maintenance programme that aimed to remove 29 sunken vessels.

Timeframes for implementation

The timeframes for the implementation of the projects included in the presentation had not been finalised as yet, as the projects were diverse and included both long term and short-term goals, but this should be finalised by the end of January 2022.

Mr Share made some remarks about the importance of ensuring that the legislative infrastructure was responsive not only to climate change and the environmental impact of economic activities, but was also inclusionary for women and persons with disabilities.

The Department had embarked on a SWOT (Strengths-Weaknesses-Opportunities-Threats) analysis of all the sectors to investigate the strengths and weaknesses of each of the programmes.

Discussion

Mr D Bryant (DA) suggested that Members first engage with this presentation before proceeding to hear the next presentation.

The Members agreed.

The Chairperson opened the forum for deliberations on matters arising from the presentation.

Mr Bryant lamented that the presentation had focused too heavily on oil exploration and the exploitation of natural resources, and did not pay much attention to conservation and the environment. He emphasised that the Department's primary mandate was to protect the environment. There had been little mention of the Marine Spatial Planning Act, which was intended to address securing a more sustainable future in harvesting marine resources.

He raised the matter of the controversial exploration of the Wild Coast, which was set to affect coastal communities from Port St Johns to Morgan Bay. There had been protest action from coastal communities and an outcry from environmentalists and non-governmental organisations (NGOs), and it appeared that there had been little feedback. He was concerned that the Department's presentation had not included any mention of this issue, as it was a matter falling within the ambit of the DFFE.

It was imperative that small scale fisherman be considered in impact assessments pertaining to marine sustainability and offshore explorations, such as the present one. The presentation had discussed small and medium enterprises (SMEs), but had not considered small scale fisherman, which left the Department's presentation lacking.

Mr Bryant said offshore exploration was a catastrophic event and that the seismic blasting would have a negative impact on marine life. Considering the magnitude of the impact that offshore exploration might have on marine life, how did the Deputy Minister balance this? More specifically, how should the environmental impact assessment (EIA) studies be conducted? How were the studies conducted in the run up to the seismic blasting and potential future oil exploration?

He also criticised the fact that the focus was mainly on oil and gas exploration, and not leaning towards a more diverse energy mix to secure a greener future through alternatives such as hydropower and wind power.

Mr Bryant asked how local municipalities would be included in managing their harbours, and if it was possible to provide them with financial assistance in order to get it right.

He said Operation Phakisa was initially intended to mitigate poaching, but it had since taken a back seat in regards to poaching, and the military had had to step in Richard’s Bay. He asked whether the programme was still going to target poaching, and if the military deployment was allowed.

Ms A Weber (DA) asked about the sustainability of aquaculture, and what the Department was doing to ensure sustainable fishing.

She referred to the role of skills development in communities as a means of facilitating job creation, commenting that this may be an area worth investigating with universities and other stakeholders.

Illegal fishing was a persisting issue that should be targeted specifically, especially since besides the environmental impact, this was also a form of tax evasion, as the proceeds remained in the underground market and could not be reinvested in the communities.  

She concurred with Mr Bryant on the issue of mining exploration and its impact on the environment. She particularly highlighted the use of seismic surveys that generate deafening explosions which were known to disturb essential behaviours such as feeding, breeding and communication for whales and dolphins in particular. Moreover, the impact on marine life would have a mirroring catastrophic effect on ocean-reliant communities.  Had the impact of the seismic blasts been considered prior to approval by the state authorities?

Mr N Paulsen (EFF) commented on sustainability and the ocean economy, stating that the ocean economy encompassed more than the exploration and exploitation of offshore energy sources, but also included marine life. He criticised the fact that the exploration was poised on discovering yet another carbon-based power source, which would definitely be harmful to the environment. The Committee needed responses from the Deputy Minister as to what role this Committee had played in allowing this project to continue, despite the potential environmental damage. He committed to continuing to oppose this project because of its negative impact.

Mr Paulsen stated that there was immense potential for aquaculture in South Africa. He wanted to know what the Department’s role was in the realisation of aquaculture’s potential in South Africa.

He commended Mr Share for his inclusion of infrastructure developments in his presentation. Much of the infrastructure in small harbour towns was managed by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI). However, there was still a need for greater development and inclusion of small harbour towns, as much of the infrastructure remained underutilised or dormant. What could be done to ensure that the DPWI played its part in ensuring that the infrastructure remained in use and was used to grow the ocean economy?  He expressed concern that idle harbour infrastructure may become dilapidated through non-usage.

Ms C Phillips (DA) asked for clarity on the initiatives that had been included in the presentation. Had these initiatives already been completed, or were they in the process of being implemented? She wanted to know more about whether the ports had the capacity to handle shipping, as delays had become chronic. She explained that there was presently a 15-kilometre line of trucks at the Mozambican border. The value of the coal and other raw materials leaving South African ports in favour of Mozambique due to the lack of capacity of South Africa's own ports amounted to over R30 billion. She lamented the loss of employment this created, and said that she was sceptical of the developments mentioned in the presentation.

She wanted to know whether the wells that were mentioned in connection with seismic blasting and oil exploration were existing wells, or whether these were new wells that had not been drilled. Was the seismic blasting was necessary, as South Africa was once again seen as a pariah in the international community? The mining exploration would have a devastating environmental impact, and it was embarrassing that the Minister could not do anything to stop an activity that would have an environmental impact of this nature.

She asked what the effect of increasing SA’s ocean territory would be, and how it could be managed. The current ocean territory had been inundated with illegal fishing vessels, and the situation had become untenable. Sources had informed her that poachers worked in broad daylight, and there was no law enforcement on the open seas.

She expressed concern over the sewage situation in the Durban harbour. She had previously visited the harbour and witnessed the sewage problems at first hand. She had seen sanitary towels and faeces clinging to ships' hulls at low tide. She was concerned that the situation had become unsustainable for tourism in Durban.

Referring to the rehabilitation of West Coast diamond mining areas, Ms Phillips asked that the Committee add a site visit to the mines to see whether companies had kept to their environmental responsibilities of rehabilitating mining areas once mining had ended, as rehabilitation had often been treated as a lesser priority.

Mr N Singh (IFP) thanked the Department for the presentation, stating that it had been presented with vigour and enthusiasm. However, a report remained a report unless it was implemented, and there was a need to ensure that people were benefiting from the projects in a tangible manner to lift them out of poverty. He lamented that it appeared that people were not benefiting from the projects, because the Department had failed to meet its targets.

Following up on the issue of seismic surveys off the Wild Coast, he posed a question to the Minister in abstentia. Given all that was happening in the environmental space and the fact that the Department of Environment bore the primary responsibility to enact legislation to protect the environment, would the Minister consider going back to Cabinet and revising the responsibility given to the Department of Mineral and Energy Affairs with regard to environmental responsibility? This was because the Department of Environment had the primary responsibility pertaining to the environment and had the expertise to deal with environmental situations like the offshore seismic surveys.

Mr Singh said that aquaculture was not a new phenomenon, and the Committee had heard of its potential benefits for a while, but there needed to be more clarity on the timelines of these projects.

The development of small harbours in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) had also been a recurring matter. He had lived in southern KZN for a long time, and had often heard the promise of a small harbour in his town, but this promise had not come to fruition. He asked the Department for greater transparency and for more specific information on the projected dates of the project.

He had heard reports that some of the government’s vessels were not in a good condition and wanted more information on them.

He informed Members that there had been an exercise to revisit marine protection legislation, and asked whether this had been completed, as there had been public submissions in this regard.

Ms S Mbatha (ANC) asked for a further explanation on the inclusion of persons with disabilities and previously disadvantaged persons in the marine economy. She had heard reports that people were having difficulty acquiring licences.

She had received a video circulating on Facebook which depicted a black liquid flowing into the ocean close to a public beach. She asked whether Members had seen this video and whether there were any details the Department could provide.

What was the Department doing to assist the DPWI in removing wreckage from the ocean?

Chairperson F Muthambi (ANC) thanked the acting Chairperson for taking charge of the meeting in her absence, and extended apologies for being late to the Committee.

She shared the same sentiments that had been expressed by Members. The hope for the Phakisa project was that things would be done differently. She echoed Mr Singh in stating that the Department’s failure to meet its targets was concerning. She asked how this would impact the Department’s future work. How did the Department intend to uphold the integrity of protected marine areas in the context of oil and gas exploitation, as the oil on gas industry was prone to potential spillages.

Some of the issues raised had been recurring since 2014, and the masterplan to respond to these challenges had remained in the process of being completed. She asked what the timeframe was in this regard. What was the role of the Department of Science and Technology in research and innovation?  How did the DFFE intended to build local capabilities?

The Chairperson asked the Department to respond to all the questions Members had raised before continuing to the next presentation.

Department's response

Deputy Minister Sotyu noted Members concerns, and agreed that the Bill had taken a longer time than expected, but the Department was in the process of finalising the aquaculture project. She said that Department officials would respond to the questions raised more specifically.

Small Harbours

Mr Share said that the Operation Phakisa issue was very complex and involved multiple sectors at various levels. However, the decision was informed by the fact that at the time it was customary for the Department to present ocean policy to Cabinet, and the Cabinet would in turn lead and coordinate the work. Therefore, the Department played a facilitating role.

Renewable energy

He said that the Department's plan on renewables was a living document and that there were advancements in using greener energy sources, especially on the east coast.

Infrastructure and maintenance

Infrastructure fell within the domain of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure. There were also investigations poised on learning what kind of activities would support and justify the infrastructure that was in place to ensure sustainability.

The Department had consulted on how best to include women and persons with disabilities in aquaculture.

Health concerns in the Durban harbour

The Department accepted the points raised by Ms Phillips. It was working with the local municipality, as sewage was a municipal issue. It had sent officials to Durban to monitor the situation and specifically give feedback on the water quality of the area.

Wild Coast mining areas rehabilitation

Mr Share said that he had noted Ms Phillips's comment on the rehabilitation of the Wild Coast mining areas.

Small Harbours

The work on new priority harbours was an ongoing matter, but feasibility and economic viability studies had begun to ensure that the activities could support the infrastructure that was needed, and that the towns were viable to become priority harbours.

Vessels

He agreed that the vessels were ageing, but they were still working vessels and the DDG would talk on this further.

Aquaculture and transformation

In the broader scene, most of the aquaculture farms were privately owned and there was still room for transformation, as the majority of owners were white males.

Responding to the Chairperson’s question, he said the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME) was currently keep an eye on the targets to ensure they were met. A contributing factor to the failure to reach the targets had been the extended economic slump that had gripped the nation, and the lack of investment appetite due to COVID.

The Department of Science was involved, and was working on the unique challenges that South Africa faces in order to achieve the benefits the fourth industrial revolution would bring to the country.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for the succinct responses.

Ms Mbatha suggested that the Department should send some responses in writing due to the time constraints.

The Chairperson agreed.

Mr Share added that some of the vessels in the South African fleet were ageing, and the Department had initiated an inter-departmental programme tasked with building vessels. This was still at the early stages and the Department would report back to the Committee in the future.

Ms Tshabalala asked if the Department could respond to some of the questions that were not adequately addressed in writing.

The Chairperson agreed.

Wild Coast exploration

Deputy Minister Sotyu said she was unable to give her views on the Wild Coast exploration, as the matter was still being ventilated in the Eastern Cape High Court.  She asked the Department's legal team to advise on the outcome of the court proceedings.

Ms Vanessa Bendeman, the Department’s legal advisor, said that the matter had been heard in the Eastern Cape High Court and was subsequently dismissed. The ruling judge had indicated that there was limited material in support of the applicant's contention to establish that there was a reasonable apprehension of irreparable harm to the environment. The court held that there was nothing to suggest that Shell would not implement the mitigation measures it had promised to implement, and there was also nothing to suggest that these measures were inadequate. Shell was obliged to keep the activities within a low risk. In response there had been a further application brought to the High Court, and the matter was still ongoing. As the matter was still ongoing, the Department could not make any comments on the merits of the case.

Mr Singh asked the Deputy Minister to clarify on the matter pertaining to the Department of Environment as the sole custodian of environmental issues.

Deputy Minister Sotyu agreed that the mandate for this matter required a review of the policy, as the Department was better suited to deal with the matter. She would consult with the Cabinet in this regard, as a policy change was needed.

Biodiversity Economy Phakisa

Mr Khorommbi Matibe, Chief Director:  Biodiversity Economy and Sustainable Use, began his presentation by providing scientific information on the diversity of South Africa and its place in the world biosphere, and emphasised the importance and wealth of indigenous knowledge in the context of biodiversity. He said there was a great need to localise our indigenous resources for the benefit of South Africa.

Giving a brief historical overview of the Phakisa, he said the biodiversity project was in the implementation phase. He emphasised the importance of sustainability as a guiding factor for the exploitation of these resources. He said hunting was an important sub-sector, as hunting was limited to non-breeding old animals, who were competing for food with breeding animals.

The Department had initiated a bio-management initiative for the cultivation of native plants, such as the Aloe Ferox and the Devis Claw plants. It had developed a national policy framework on game donation, which was approved. This policy framework would allow the provinces to conclude their own policies on game donation.  They had been able to donate 3 000 animals to various communities and individuals across the different provinces.

163 applications were approved for funding through the Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme (EPIP) window for 2018/2019, which amounted to R2 billion. This programme aimed to include people who were previously excluded from participating in the economy.

Mr Matibe said there was a great potential for supplying game meat, given the large variety of animals that were available for exploitation, and stressed  the importance of providing support to communities living in protected areas through the biodiversity programme.

He presented a summary of the interventions, stating that these were designed to bring about change, and without them historical problems would remain.

Discussion

Ms Phillips commented that hunters typically hunted prized game and not older or sickly animals, and it was important that the animals with the best genes -- the prized animals -- were preserved. It was important for the colloquium on wildlife to take place so that the outcomes and findings could be included in the presentation. She said there were loopholes in the current permitting system, as she had received reports that people often took more game or animal products than their permits allowed.

There needed to be more transparency pertaining to game donations. The particulars of each donation needed to be made known, so they knew who the actual beneficiaries were.  There had been an instance where game had been donated to an established hunting lodge, and the communities had not benefited from it.

Ms Mbatha commented that the presentation had not mentioned youth empowerment or the inclusion of previously disadvantaged people. She asked whether wild animals were slaughtered at an approved abattoir and if so, whether the meat processing was inspected by a qualified meat inspector. She asked for more information on where the waste products were disposed of, as it was important to maintain a clean and safe environment.

She said there were concerns around partnering with traditional authorities to the exclusion of the communities.  She asked about the protection of traditional healers' intellectual property when consulting on traditional approaches. Were any steps taken in this regard to ensure that traditional healers benefited from their knowledge?

Mr Bryant asked how much autonomy individual provinces had in terms of managing game donations.

He asserted that contrary to what had been presented in terms of the growing number animals that had been bred in captivity, game reserves had been struggling to maintain numbers due to poaching. He wanted to know where the animals that were being hunted were coming from, and what the norms and standards were in this regard.

There was uncertainty as to the number of leopards in South Africa, and asked what the conditions were for hunting them, as they had to be hunted at night, which made it difficult for hunters to identify whether the animal was huntable. He added that there were concerns pertaining to succulent poaching, and exports in particular.

The Chairperson asked for more information on the location of the projects so that the Committee could schedule oversight visits.

There were number of projects supporting biodiversity innovation by the Department of Science and Technology. She asked what the Department of Environment had done to contribute, as these projects speak to cooperative governance and were aimed at uplifting the poor.

She asked what illicit syndicates have been developed around biodiversity and the Phakisa programmes specifically.

Department's response

Mr Matibe stated that the Department would provide a full summary in writing, but that he would provide brief verbal reports in the meeting.

He said trophy hunting involved hunting ageing or sickly animals, whereas game hunting was done to reduce populations in excess, and this was done in line with legislation. The Department's provincial authorities regulated hunting.

The Department had had an intensive session on animals bred in captivity with the Portfolio Committee a few months ago, and recommendations had been made in this regard. One of the recommendations that would be implemented was to end captive lion trading and its derivatives in its entirety.

The question of authority was a matter of concurrent jurisdiction between the national legislature and the provincial legislature. This meant that the provinces had full authority to make regulations.

He would provide an overview of the inclusion of people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds in writing.

Regarding waste, there was still room for growth and learning in this area, and the Phakisas needed to be aligned to deal with this matter.

There were mechanisms in place to ensure that the communities did benefit from the Department's partnerships with traditional authorities, and he was looking into the matter. A memorandum was being drafted to protect traditional healers' patent rights.

He would respond in writing to the question on the location of the projects.,

Mr Mathibe stated that the impact of biodiversity was a pertinent issue, as it was important to ensure that there was no abuse of animals in the hunting process. Game donations were regulated by the provincial authorities and the provincial treasuries. There were a number of stakeholders ranging in diversity and function, who would participate in the wildlife forum.

The poaching of indigenous plants was at the heart of the Department's work, and it was doing all it could to ensure that all perpetrators were prosecuted. Regarding leopard numbers, the determination of the hunting quotas was done across several sectors. The number of leopards was determined by the scientific community, and the Department followed these, in addition to its own monitoring mechanisms. It published hunting quotas for public comment before finalising them.

He concluded that more information would be provided in a supplementary report, and the Chairperson asked the Department to also include information on the demographics of the beneficiaries.

Waste and Chemicals Phakisa

Ms Mamogala Musekene , Deputy Director-General: Chemicals and Waste Management, said the Department was currently in the process of transitioning, in line with the waste masterplan. The main focus had been on food waste, with the aim of diverting food waste away from landfills. The Department also intended to reduce the use of single use products. Its impact targets were aimed at developing the waste management economy to contribute to economic growth. It was also important to limit the administrative burden of waste management to ensure that people could benefit from the programme.

The Department had worked with the University of Pretoria for research on how to develop fertilisers from waste products.

11% of households were separating waste in metropolitan areas, but there was potential to increase this through public/private partnerships. The Department had managed to support 20 black-owned enterprises through this initiative, and more details would be provided on the demographics of the programmes. The Department had created about 300 new jobs as part of diverting waste, but aimed to produce 600 new jobs through the programme and approximately 2 000 indirect jobs from related businesses.

She said issues had been raised on the packaging of manufactured products, but these were being dealt with.

The Department aimed to unlock investment in funding to ensure that the waste masterplan project was sustainable. Trained professionals were used in the implementation of the programme, and consultation was done with the Department of Health. The Department was also working on a national mercury management programme. She emphasised that the Department was also working with municipalities to ensure that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) that did not have access to the internet could benefit from the programme as well.

The Department had included over 700 women to benefit from the Phakisa, and was committed to increasing this number over time. It was also working with the private sector to acquire investment in the waste sector.

Discussion


Ms T Mchunu (ANC) asked about private sector integration and the buyback centres. How did the Department intend to ensure that the prices of products and services remained reasonable, to prevent exploitation of communities? She asked about the feasibility study on disposable nappies and whether the study also included disposable face masks, as she had recently learned that facemasks could take up to 150 years to degrade.

She said more needed to be done about e-waste, commenting that the presentation had not included the government departments themselves as major producers of e-waste.

Referring to the South African Coal Ash Association, she asked about the role of associations, as they often became a barrier for the government to reach and include previously disadvantaged groups, as the laws and regulations became too stringent and unattainable for upcoming businesses.  How was the disposal of ash managed?

Ms Mbatha said that plastic was banned in South Africa, but it was still being produced. There had been multiple petitions, but the recycling of plastic was still not as it should be. What was the Department doing to combat plastic pollution?

She asked about energy plants that turned waste into energy. Where were they located, and could they also be included in the oversight visits for next year?

Ms Weber asked about power stations experiencing issues with full ash dams, and what was being done to mitigate this. She concurred with Ms Mbatha about the issue of disposable nappies, adding that companies needed to be held accountable for the polluting nature of disposable nappies, especially given the fact that they contained human waste and were a health hazard.

She also agreed with Ms Mbatha on the issue of plastic, and asked how shops and businesses could be held accountable for the plastic that they used.

The Chairperson asked how the Phakisa programme had reduced illegal dumping. She said e-waste disposal was a pressing issue, and as government was the biggest holder of e-waste it should take the lead, as this was an impending disaster. It was important to ensure that communities benefited from the programme. She understood there was already a black industrial company involved in the programme, and asked for more information on its involvement.

What programmes were being implemented to ensure that households separated waste? How was the Department engaging with municipalities to prevent water pollution?

Department's response

Ms Musekene responded that the issue on nappy waste would be included in the report on plastic waste.

She committed to working with the Department of Public Enterprises to close the gap on e-waste in government departments.

She had engaged with the private sector to inform them that producers did not have to work with associations, and could work with communities directly.

The Department would respond on the issue of power stations' ash dams in writing.

The Department had worked with municipalities to mitigate illegal landfill sites, and there had been improvement in this regard. It had worked with the Department of Cooperative Governance to encourage adherence to landfill regulations.

Ms Musekene highlighted different approaches that were being employed in Cape Town and Ethekwini to encourage households to separate waste. There were also designated waste management officers in this regard.

The Chairperson thanked the Department for the presentations, and said that the Committee was waiting for more details in the form of written responses. It was imperative that the responses were adequate, as the Phakisa programmes were intended to bring substantive change and did not result in "business as usual." The Committee would continue to engage with the Department pertaining to the Phakisa programmes.

The meeting was adjourned.

 

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