DFFE briefing on Forestry Sector Master Plan Implementation; with Deputy Minister

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

25 March 2022
Chairperson: Ms F Muthambi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

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Forestry Sector Master Plan

The Portfolio Committee met on a virtual platform to be briefed by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) on the commercial forestry sector master plan. It was told that forestry products contributed at least 4.5% to the total manufacturing in the country, making it among the top five sectors within the manufacturing industry. Export earnings had increased almost threefold, providing a positive trade balance of up to R10 billion in less than a decade. The master plan could result in as much as 50% black and community ownership of land available for plantations if the ongoing land reform programme was expedited and effectively implemented.

The Committee raised concerns about the delay in supply chain management processes that were hindering the implementation of many targets in the master plan. Was the DFFE implying that all the supply chain regulations and the legislation were not useful? Were its own policies making it difficult to address economic sector issues such as fighting poverty, unemployment and inequality -- because of supply chain mismanagement?

The DFFE was asked how they were planning to transform the forestry sector and include previously disadvantaged groups. The scheduling of timelines and meetings to deal with the master plan were questioned, and Members wanted to know what kind of consequence management was carried out if timelines were not adhered to. Why were the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal the only provinces considered to reach the afforestation targets? Were there any outstanding areas that required environmental impact assessments, and how many water licences had been issued thus far?

The Committee asked the DFFE if they had a clear understanding of how many state-owned plantations were affected by land restitution. If so, it wanted details of these land claims, in alignment with the commercial forestry master plan. It was not happy with the substitution of the colloquium on conflicting legislation in the National Veld and Forestry Fires Act with other new structures and asked how the Department could change a document that the Cabinet had approved.

There was some debate regarding the Committee's acceptance of the report on the Accession of the Amended Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean (the Nairobi Convention). Both the EFF and DA had reservations about the management of funds that had accrued since the country stopped paying dues. The Chairperson said that the money issue would be tabled for debate so that the Portfolio Committee could fully adopt the report.

 

Meeting report

After adoption of the agenda, Mr D Bryant (DA) asked if there were any plans to workshop the Members regarding the Climate Change Bill during this term. Otherwise, could it be added to next term's agenda?

The Chairperson asked the Committee Members if they would also like to attend a workshop on the Climate Change Bill.

Ms A Weber (DA) agreed with the proposal, and Ms C Phillips (DA) seconded the proposal for a workshop.

Ms Nomfundo Tshabalala, Director-General (DG), Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), said that the Department would be able to workshop the Committee on the Bill during the next term. She would have to come back with concrete feedback after consulting the Minister and Deputy Minister.

Chairperson’s opening remarks

The Chairperson said the commercial forestry sector in South Africa was important for many compelling reasons. For example, forest products contributed at least 4.5 % to the total manufacturing in the country, making it among the top five sectors within the manufacturing industry. Export earnings had increased almost threefold, providing a positive trade balance of up to R10 billion in less than a decade. The forestry sector also contributed almost 25 % to the gross domestic product (GDP) of agriculture, which was a key driver of economic growth in the country. She highlighted that most of the forest operations were rural-based, making the sector a significant contributor to rural economies and social well-being.

It was stated in the forestry master plan that the sector could result in as much as 50% black and community ownership of land available for plantations if the ongoing land reform programme was expedited and effectively implemented. The Portfolio Committee needed to continuously engage with its counterparts in the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development (DALRDD) on matters of great importance to the forestry sector. Objectives of the master plans included encouraging sector growth, investment in job creation, and competitiveness.

The Chairperson said that besides the assessment of the different role players in the implementation of the forestry master plan, she believed that all the public representatives had a responsibility to monitor and evaluate progress in the sector, especially with regard to investment and job creation. The Committee expected tangible results from the Deputy Minister and the team during this five year (2020 - 2025) forest management master plan.

She advised that the Minister could not attend the briefing today because she had a meeting with a non-governmental organisation (NGO).

Commercial Forestry Master Plan

Ms Maggie Sotyu, Deputy Minister, DFFE, introduced the presenting team and said that a workshop on the Climate Change Bill was possible. The Forestry sector master plan and its implementation had been approved by the Cabinet in November 2020. During the implementation stage, some challenges were experienced by the DFFE, which were highlighted in the presentation. She added that Minister Barbara Creecy was in the process of appointing an expert on a 12-month contract to assist with a technicality that had been identified at the implementation stage. The skills would be transferred to officials identified by the Minister and the Deputy Minister at the end of the contract.

Ms Pumeza Nodada, Deputy Director-General: Forestry and Natural Resources Management, DFFE, said the commercial forestry master plan had been approved by the Cabinet for implementation in November 2020. The forestry sector had initiated a process to develop the master plan to take into account opportunities presented by potential investment in the value addition and downstream industries to create economic and employment opportunities.

There were six focus areas for the master plan. These were:

1. Expansion of the primary resources, maintenance and protection

There were delays in the supply chain management (SCM) processes in terms of lease agreements for the management of exit plantations. The DFFE planned to include the tender in the 2022/23 procurement plan, and the lease agreements would be finalised in the 2022/23 financial year.

Under deliverable 25, the quarterly target was to perform a capacity audit and seek funding. However, the application submitted by Forestry South Africa had not been processed. The DFFE was planning to correct the delay in processing the application by resubmitting and engaging with the DALRRD.

2. Transformation of the sector

3. Processing and value addition

4. Illegal timber and related criminal activities

The targets under these programme had either been met or partially met.

5. Research development and innovation, human resource and skills development

There was currently no progress in terms of investigating new research, innovation and development funding opportunities. The implementation of this objective had been delayed due to the challenges in the functioning of the National Forestry Research Forum (NFRF). The DFFE said that new leadership of NFRF would be elected in the next financial year. The functioning of the NFRF would then be restored and milestones of the deliverables would be achieved.

6. Key inhibitors

There had been no materialisation of the meetings with the identified stakeholders to monitor the performance of the conveyor system through existing quarterly industry forums. The DFFE said that they would provide support in facilitating the meetings through the National Department of Transport.

The National Ports Authority had submitted tariff applications to the Ports Regulator South Africa under terminal tariff costs (deliverables). The comments had not been addressed, and the DFFE said that this matter would be escalated to the Ports Regular.

The meeting between Transnet's public private growth initiative team with executives on port and rail had not been scheduled. The DFFE said that they would provide support in facilitating the meetings through the national Department of Transport.

The meeting with the ports authorities to discuss the "One Stop Shop" had not been scheduled. The One Stop Shop at Transnet would enable strategic alignment between government and industry on rail issues. The DFFE said that they would provide support in facilitating the meetings through the national Department of Transport.

Discussion

Mr N Paulsen (EFF) said that the forestry sector was a massive industry, so the Committee had received many presentations in the past due to its size. During the unrest in July 2021, the industry had been halted for a few days, with a massive economic impact. This sector had the potential to create employment for the broader black community who were previously denied participation in this sector. He asked the Department if it would still allow the disadvantaged to be more disadvantaged --had it not learnt from the fishing rights allocation process? How were they organising the interactions between the organisations, communities, stakeholders and ordinary workers that were affected by the forestry sector?  Were they educating or skilling them to access greater opportunities within the sector? Were they organising them into cooperatives? How would they ensure that forests on tribal land, such as the Ingonyama Trust, were incorporated under the forestry master plan?

Ms Phillips said that the programmes under the master plan were operating around the same theme. Was this because it was dysfunctional, or not completed on time? Had timelines been adhered to? Were meetings not scheduled? Were there any timelines for the scheduled activities? What kind of consequence management had been carried out if timelines were not adhered to? How could the Committee help the rail department to ensure that there was cooperation from other departments? How could it help the Department to hold people to account? She asked why the Department had not got the funding. Was the request late? Was there no money? Did they not qualify? If there was no clarity in this master plan, she was actually worried about the quality of the other reports. It looked like there was no proper organisational management, with proper timelines.

Mr Bryant said that KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Eastern Cape had been mentioned as the focus provinces to reach the afforestation targets. Were other provinces being considered for major afforestation projects? If so, which ones? If not, why were the other provinces not being considered? He was quite happy to hear that industries in the forestry sector were creating around four times as many jobs as the government, as this bore out some of the sentiments that were shared by the President during the State of the Nation Address (SONA) on business creating jobs. Could the Committee conduct an oversight visit to some of these timber processing plants to see some of these new technologies taking place, in particular, the mass timber processing? He would take it upon himself to submit some oversight visit proposals.

What was the outstanding information on the verification of state plantations that had not been submitted yet? He was concerned about the unlawful occupation of some of the plantations, in particular, the settlement known as Grabouw -- were the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI) and the DFFE on the same page on the eviction proceedings? Grabouw had a lot of potential for dignified housing projects for people from previously disadvantaged backgrounds. However, these projects were being stymied due to unlawful occupations occurring there.

Regarding the rail and one-stop-shop, to whom were the issues being escalated? Whose job was it now to set those meetings up? Why were the meetings not set up in the first place? Who was at fault -- was it DFFE officials, or a challenge to get a response from Transnet?

Ms Weber asked if the DFFE had started to implement water use licences immediately in 2020. On what date? Had it been for longer than a year? Had there been any audit? How many water use licences were there now? Was there any area with an outstanding environmental impact assessment (EIA)? Could the Committee be provided with EIAs for each area? Were there plans to deal with the zama zamas (illegal miners) and other illegal activities that destroy the environment? How did they manage the illegal trade? Whose responsibility was it? Was there a plan? If so, could the Committee have that plan?  

The Chairperson asked how community forests worked in practice in terms of rules, responsibilities and obligations for the Department and involved communities. Did the DFFE have a clear understanding of how many state-owned plantations were affected by the land restitution programme? At what stages were the land claims? Would these claims be completed within the lifespan of the forestry master plan? What was the DFFE doing to expedite this land claim process? Were small growers practising agroforestry? If so, what compatible tree species were being grown alongside fruit and crops?

She was concerned about the timeline for the master plan. Would this timeline address all the issues by 2025? Would the identified challenges be resolved before 2025? What informed the R24 billion investment, because the plan indicated that 100 559 jobs were going to be created. However, the presentation stated that R11 billion had been invested in this industry, which translated into 6 264 jobs. The money was almost half of the investment amount but covered only 6% of the 100 559 jobs. She asked for an explanation for the huge disjunction between the investment and the jobs created.

Where were the timelines for conclusion of the post-settlement support packages for all forestry limited claims sites? Could they explain the contradiction between the master plan and the presentation regarding the organisation of a colloquium on conflicting fire management legislation? Was the colloquium set to discuss the amendments to the National Veld and Forest Fire Act? Were the weaknesses or conflicts identified by the forestry sectors covered in the bill that was currently being processed by Parliament?

How was the DFFE delivering a transformation agenda in terms of giving opportunities to growers? The Chairperson said the presentations delivered by the DFFE during the past two financial years had used COVID-19 as a scapegoat for not meeting its targets. The Committee had considered progress reports from the DFFE and been worried because most of the missed targets had involved supply chains based on the appointment of the service providers. Were they saying all those supply chain regulations and legislations were not useful? Were they saying that their own policies made it difficult to address the economic sector issues such as fighting poverty, unemployment and inequality because of supply chain mismanagement?  She said the DFFE was not taking unemployment issues seriously. In her community, there were people who were illegally cutting all the trees in government plantations, which would contribute to climate change impacts and lead to a lack of water resources.

DFFE's response

Deputy Minister Sotyu thanked the Committee and said that their questions would help the DFFE to strengthen the implementation stage of the commercial forestry master plan. She had noted the question of transformation regarding the massive forestry industry.

She said the DFFE was mostly not responsible for the challenging areas highlighted in the master plan, arguing that the responsibility lay within the industry. There were instances where meetings were convened by the industry without the support of the external forces, hence the matters had been escalated to an affected department to intervene.

Ms Tshabalala acknowledged that during the first year of the implementation of the master plan, there had been serious capacity issues that had affected the timeframes of many activities. They were addressing these issues by bringing in project management officers and increasing their capacity through the filling of vacancies. The time frames, timelines and the slack in the time frames were mainly due to lack of capacity. They had been using the existing officials to establish capacity and to focus on the master plan. The officials would be performing their existing responsibilities and functions, and also assessing their performance on the timeframe delays.

Regarding consequence management, the DFFE chose to implement measures to address capacity rather than penalising the officials who were completing their objectives. They had a responsibility as a department to bring additional capacity on board to accelerate the implementation of the master plan. When the lockdown affected a number of sectors, they had to look at the forestry sector and decide to what extent funding like the Presidential stimulus programme would be used. Unfortunately, they had submitted a funding request in 2020 with all the departments. The green marking on the slide indicated that the target was just an oversight. It did not mean that it was achieved, because they had not contributed financially to the sector when they were impacted by the COVID-19 lockdown. They were looking at other measures to evaluate to what extent they could assist the small growers, in collaboration with the Department of Small Business Development (DSBD) to establish initiatives, unlock resources and support small growers.

Ms Tshabala said that the DFFE was working very closely with the DPWI and engaging on the land invasion issue in Grabouw. They had met with the local municipality and the potentially impacted stakeholders. The DFFE had been granted a court order to evict the illegal occupants in the area, but could not successfully complete the mission. The DFFE was therefore looking at alternative ways to secure alternative land.

She had highlighted that there was lack of capacity in the SCM which had resulted in delays in the environmental programmes. The DFFE subscribed to the regulatory prescripts of the supply chain management. There had been weak SCM in the past that had affected awareness of the DFFE's level of compliance. The Auditor-General (AG) had had to identify a number of irregular contracts, and the DFFE then had to discuss how best they could address the SCM issues. The DFFE had about ten branches, but there were fewer than 23 supply chain positions because most of its budget was not on goods and services. Most of the past DFFE’s budget had been classified as transfers -- the Department was transferring funds to an implementing agent, which created challenges because the DFFE could not account for how the resources were transferred and utilised. With the introduction of the modernised cash standard, there was a clear distinction between what constituted a transfer and goods and services, in terms of the DFFE's service procurement. They were capacitating managers and officials on procurement processes and adherence to critical regulatory compliance. The training was taking a lot of time because they were changing the culture of the business in the Department, hence affecting some of the deliverables. They were expecting to move away from irregular expenditure, and also to ensure that there was sufficient capacity to deal with the Department’s demands. They had inherited the fisheries and forestry departments and were currently using officials from other regions to deal with the SCM. They had weekly meetings with the supply chain management to look at what stage their various projects were at in terms of tenders, evaluation, and adjudication. She agreed with the Committee that they must not make excuses, and needed to address the issues of supply chain management and job creation.

Ms Nodada said that the forestry master plan ensured that there was a specific target that addressed ownership and post-settlement support to the previously disadvantaged communities to provide funding, training, skills and development in collaboration with the Sector Education and Training Authority (SETA). The DALRRD was working with the DFFE to ensure that the post-settlement support was a reality. The DALRRD further supported the DFFE with the establishment of relevant structures and their functions. There was some training taking place and they had signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the DSBD to introduce additional activities for the training and support of small, medium and micro enterprises (SMMEs).

She said the treatment of the tribal land depended on the nature or type of the forest. Community forest agreements established the benefits the community should have and then the DFFE monitored the signed agreements. The Act was very specific in terms of what the forestry agreement must have. The DFFE monitored foresters at all governmental levels. They ensured that the forest was productive and facilitate funding if there was a need for additional funding through different partners. They also link the communities with strategic partners through principles, criteria, indicators and a standard framework, to monitor the effective functioning of the plantations. They also use their sister departments to solve community conflicts.

They submitted all their compartment lists when they submitted the information for evaluation at the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS). The DWS needed specific property descriptions to allocate the boundaries. They had also asked the DFFE to produce the proclamations for the plantations. Through the geographical information system's work, they had produced and submitted maps so that the DWS could see the buffer zones for allocations. The DFFE had utilised the national archives to get copies of the proclamations. The water licence issue had been resolved. The DFFE would provide the actual water use licence numbers after liaising with the DWS.

Ms Nodada said she would submit a table to the Committee so that they would know which plantations were affected by land claims. The DFFE got support from the DALRRD on updates of the claims. Through the master plan processes, they had identified the plantations that required prioritisation within the years of the plan. The R24 billion was structured so that some of the funds would go into the processing industry for the upgrading and building of mills, to increase capacity and timber yields. Most of the jobs were within the primary sector, which were the targets that they were currently struggling with. Once they were able to plant in more areas at state plantations, there would be more jobs created in the primary sector. There would also be a knock-on effect on the contracting side in terms of the number of contractors that one could employ in different areas, such as the pole and sawmilling industry. They wanted to focus on the primary sector so that they could sort out the issues in the primary production so that more jobs would be created.

Mr Tebogo Mathiane, Chief Director: Small Scale Forestry, said the DFFE was focusing on the Eastern Cape and KZN because afforestation was regarded as a stream flow reduction activity in terms of the National Water Act. Therefore before one could undertake afforestation, a licence was required. The Department had holistically conducted suitability assessments in all provinces except the Western Cape to plan the master plan programme. The Western Cape had been excluded because there was some decision of a withdrawal in some parts of the province -- a decommissioning. The results had suggested that there was good suitability in the two provinces.

The study also recommended that afforestation would be suitable in Limpopo (6 000 hectares) or Mpumalanga (8 000 hectares) if there was water trading with irrigation farmers who were no longer using their land. When the DFFE tried to pursue this initiative, it seemed a bit laborious -- in some instances, the DALRRD indicated that they would still need to use the water that had been allocated, so the DFFE had decided to pursue a route where there were clear outcomes in terms of suitability, which led to KZN and the Eastern Cape.

The DFFE was preparing land for afforestation that required a licence, so they had to conduct environmental impact assessments. The community representatives were consulted when the DFFE collated the land, and projects and localities were identified through a screening process to assess feasibility in terms of environmental considerations. The total area amounted to 28 000 hectares in KZN, where projects would be subjected to EIA processes in the next financial year. He added that the DFFE was busy with the process of appointing environmental practitioners.

Mr Mathiane said that the aim of the agroforestry strategy and implementation plan was to address household food security for small growers. The inter-cropping system of agroforestry was suitable where one was planting in between the one-year-olds as well as the two-year-olds, and then as soon as one's next compartment was harvested one could prepare the next compartment for agroforestry as well. However, when the land for small growers was not fully planted, they could also practise a sequential system of agroforestry. In a sequential system, one could plant trees and crops on different parts, and also farm animals on a different section of the same plot. The concept of agroforestry in an African context originated from countries near the equator, which practised crop production under canopy trees. It was unfortunate that South Africa was not well endowed with natural forests, so piloting agroforestry was groundbreaking because there was no record that documented the planting of crops among commercial plantations. The Agricultural Research Council and South African universities were assisting the DFFE with guidelines and finalising the piloting of the agroforestry system.

Mr Avhashoni Renny Madula, Director: Forestry Development and Regulation, referred to the National Veld and Fire Act and said the DFFE had tried to resolve issues relating to the conflict that stakeholders thought existed between the various pieces of legislation. It had created new structures and institutions instead of a colloquium. The team had convened a meeting of the National Veld and Forest Fire working group with various government departments, such as the Department of Defence, the DALRRD and the DWA. The working groups also included landowners, the Fire Protection Association (FPA), the South African Weather Service (SAWS), the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and insurance companies. The meeting had focused on the target reflected in the master plan, and the team had agreed that there were no specific contradictions in terms of legislation. The working group had advised that there needed to be an effective collaboration between different stakeholders and institutions that had a role in dealing with issues related to integrated fire management. The institution included the DFFE, provincial and national disaster management centres (NDMCs) and other role players that needed to collaborate on an ongoing basis to address issues and deliver specific mandates reflected in the legislation. For example, the National Veld and Forest Fires Act made provisions in situations where a fire service existed at the FPA, especially in municipalities. A chief fire officer of a municipality must ensure that the strategic and fire management plans of the FPAs were coordinated and integrated into the municipality's fire fighting services. He called for close collaboration between the DFFE, municipalities and Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) to ensure that there was enough capacity for chief fire officers. The capacitation must ensure that the chief fire officers were knowledgeable and understood their obligations in terms of the National Veld and Forest Fire Act. After the working group, the DFFE had engaged with the NDMC to get their inputs and perspectives in relation to the processes sitting with the Portfolio Committee in relation to the amendment of the Act. He added that the NDMC and COGTA were amending the Fire Services Act so that it could merge with the amendments to the National Veld and Forest Fire Act.

Ms Nodada said that the DFFE was fast-tracking all the outstanding targets with the help of a project management officer to collate and coordinate with all government departments so that the strict timelines were adhered to. They would then be able to resolve all the targeted issues related to the primary sector, such as land reform issues. The targets for years two, three and four were based on the implementation of the missed targets from year one. The Department would ensure that by the end of six months of the next financial year, they should be at a different level in terms of addressing the missed target issues. If need be, they would make additional efforts to catch up with outstanding issues. She added that the DALRRD would be brought in to discuss land restitution issues related to the master plan.

Follow up discussion

The Chairperson said some of her questions had not been answered. She also asked the DFFE to explain why they had put the colloquium on the confusing fire-related legislation targets in the master plan and were now telling the Committee that there was no conflicting legislation. She was concerned and not sure whether the DG and the Deputy Minister had been well acquainted with the contents of the master plan prior to its implementation. The responses they were giving the Committee were unacceptable. It was in their own document that they had said they were going to organise the colloquium -- had they revised it now to align it with what they had said about the issue of the conflicting legislation? If so, she was worried because the document had gone through the Cabinet, and now they were telling the Committee that there were certain things in the document that were unimplementable. Were they preparing these documents for malicious compliance? Why had they just not said they had not met the colloquium target? How many things were in the master plan that were unrealistic?

Ms Phillips stressed that the fire mitigating measures were very important because without them the objectives of the master plan and the businesses around the plantations would be doomed.

DFFE's responses
Ms Tshabalala asked if she could revert to the Committee with responses in a written format. She did not think it would be correct for the Department to change a document or view in terms of the resolutions, plans and recommendations that had been adopted by Cabinet. She requested an opportunity to come back to the Committee on the issues of the colloquium and the disparities between the presentation and the master plan on conflicting legislation.

Ms Nodada said that during the community forestry agreements, communities had approached the DFFE to ask to plant on a certain portion of land. The DFFE would go out and consult with the community to ascertain if any additional communities needed to be considered. The DALRRD had facilitated the community resolutions to ensure that they submitted agreed community offers. The agreement would be signed, and the DFFE ensured that there was a structure to oversee the implementation of the agreement in collaboration with the leadership of that particular community and other governmental departments. It also assisted the communities in terms of procuring a strategic planner when required. It also conducted annual audits to monitor the functioning of the forest and check if there were any issues in terms of basic sustainable forest management principles. The DFFE had a list of plantations claimed, and it confirmed with the DALRRD on an ongoing basis to check if there were any new developments in terms of research on the claims.

The Chairperson said that her questions on the land claims had been partially answered. What were the different stages of the land claims on the list? Where and when would the land claims be incorporated within the lifespan of the master plan? What part was the DFFE playing to expedite this process? Had they prepared the master plan themselves, or was it an official's document that they had just submitted for Cabinet approval? The Committee Members were not happy with the indirect answers they always got from the DFFE. How would they change a document that Cabinet had approved?

Ms Nodada apologised for not answering some of the questions. She said that some of the land claims were at the research stage, while others needed to be verified. The state plantations were prioritised and would be finalised within this period.

She said the commercial forestry master plan document had been developed in collaboration with their partners. The Department would provide a detailed response to the questions to ensure that all issues were answered appropriately.

Ms Tshabalala referred to the R24 billion commitment and the current investment and job numbers and said the DFFE would respond in writing on how they would increase the number of jobs created.

Deputy Minister Sotyu said the DFFE would respond in writing to the responses that were not sufficiently answered. She repeated that the DFFE had appointed an external expert to deal with any issues regarding the contents and the implementation of the master plan. She would go over the whole document to check if the contents that had been approved by Cabinet were still the same.

The Chairperson said that Members would rephrase their questions in writing so that they could be responded to adequately. She said it was very frustrating because they came to the briefings to get answers. They hoped this would never happen again. She urged the Department to stick to what they had presented to Cabinet.

Document for public hearings on National Veld and Forest Fire Amendment Bill

The Chairperson went through the document and asked the Committee Members for any comments.

Ms Phillips said she was happy with the document.

There were no comments from the other Members.
Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries on the Accession to the Amended Convention for the Protection, Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment of the Western Indian Ocean (Nairobi Convention), tabled in terms of section 231 (2) of the Constitution, 1996
The Chairperson asked the Portfolio Committee to consider the report on the Accession of the Amended Convention for the Protection Management and Development of the Marine and Coastal Environment the Western Indian Ocean (Nairobi Convention), tabled in terms of section 231 (2) of the constitution of 1996. The report was dated 25 March 2022.

Mr Paulsen said that the Committee Members need to engage with the report thoroughly before they could make a decision.

Mr Bryant, Ms Phillips, Ms Weber, Ms Gantsho and Ms Mbatha supported the report.

Ms Phillips said that she had some serious reservations about the amount of money that was going to be paid by South Africa for projects. She was worried about the payment that had to be made because the country had not paid in the past. Where would the money suddenly come from?

The Chairperson asked if the Portfolio Committee should be allowed to debate the Convention so that all the issues could be raised.

Mr Bryant said that the Committee had had an extensive opportunity to discuss the issues during the previous Committee meeting, with resolutions and no objections.

The Chairperson confirmed what Mr Bryant had said.

Mr Paulsen said that there were still issues around the management of funds accrued as a result of the country's membership of the Convention, and that was where he had serious reservations.

The Chairperson said that the issues of funding could be tabled for debate, but the Committee adopted the report so long as the parties would be given an opportunity to do declarations and raise issues with the DFFE on an ongoing basis.

 The meeting was adjourned.

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