DFFE 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan; with Minister & Deputy Minister

NCOP Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy

21 April 2022
Chairperson: Ms T Modise (ANC, North West)
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Meeting Summary


In a virtual meeting, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) briefed the Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy on its annual performance plan (APP) for 2022/23. 

The Minister and the Deputy Minister attended the meeting. The Minister, Ms Barbara Creecy, remarked that the Department wanted to promote good governance through its APP and worked towards a clean audit outcome. The Department was also working toward filling all its funded posts and achieving targets for women in senior management and the employment of people with disabilities.

The Department presented its Annual Performance Plan. The presentation focused on the Department’s priorities for 2022/23, the targeted outputs per programme, and the budget allocations per programme.

Committee Members asked what the Department planned to do to encourage good governance. They asked why the Department was struggling to meet the two percent target for hiring people with disabilities. They asked how many young South Africans benefited from maritime study bursaries and when maritime studies would be introduced at the high school level.

Meeting report

Minister’s remarks

Ms Barbara Creecy, Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, expressed condolences and solidarity with Committee Members and members of the public from KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) following the floods there. Though not at the forefront, the Department was helping in the situation by assessing the impact of the floods on the waste management system and marine life to develop the relevant support. It was important to note, in the broader context, that the disaster was a result of climate change. Both KwaZulu-Natal and the City of EThekwini had climate resilience strategies and their effectiveness would have to be assessed. The Department was working with other municipalities to develop climate resilience strategies, but the big challenge was how to budget for the necessary infrastructure, given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and current backlogs in infrastructure projects.

The Department wanted to promote good governance through its annual performance plan (APP), but it struggled with the audit outcomes for many years. It was working towards an unqualified audit outcome. The Department was working towards filling all funded posts and reaching the targets of 50 percent of Senior Management Service (SMS) posts held by women and two percent of posts occupied by people with disabilities. Progress had been made in that most of the senior managers were women, but the Department was not there yet.

The Department had international obligations related to climate change, biodiversity, desertification prevention, and international protocols in the chemicals and waste sector. The Department was strengthening waste management in municipalities and providing support in dealing with the chemical spills in KZN during the unrest in 2021. The Phakisa programmes on waste, biodiversity and the ocean economy were some areas on which the Department would focus in the coming financial year. 

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment 2022/23 APP

Ms Nomfundo Tshabalala, Director-General, DFFE, led the presentation. She was joined by Ms Vanessa Bendeman, Deputy Director-General: Regulatory Compliance and Sector Monitoring; Mr Jongikhaya Witi, Deputy Director-General: Climate Change and Air Quality Management; and Ms Sue Middleton, Deputy Director General: Fisheries Management.

The presentation covered the overall strategy of the department and the alignment of DFFE strategic outcomes with other key plans. The presentation focused on the priorities for 2022/23, the annual outputs per programme and the budget allocations per programme.

Please refer to the DFFE’s presentation for more details on the key objectives of each programme.


Ms C Labuschagne (DA, Western Cape) referred to a court case opposing the provision of new coal-fired power stations and asked about its impact on the Just Transition programme to move to a low carbon economy. Did the Department foresee that the implementation of air quality regulations would have a big impact on local government? She noted that national and provincial departments were helping local governments. Who was going to enforce the regulations? Would the Department devolve enforcement to local governments? What would be the cost implications?

Regarding waste management, she asked if the policy on yellow fleet services was a must for municipalities. If so, were there certain procedures for the municipalities to follow in using the funding? Referring to environmental programmes, she asked whether a forensic investigation had been finalised and whether it had led to disciplinary hearings. She also asked the Committee to be informed when the waste management plan was adopted.

She asked if the Department looked into pollution in rivers and whether the strategic water resources secured by the Department would include specific polluted rivers. She inquired about a reference to a RAMSAR site in the APP. What was the timeframe for a pilot study on 20 fisheries cooperatives and what kind of reporting system would there be? Regarding the APP, she asked if benchmarks were set. She referred to a requirement that service providers’ accounts be settled within 30 days and asked about outstanding payments to SMMEs. 

Mr A Arnolds (EFF, Western Cape) said the country was dealing with a climate crisis that needed serious attention. He asked what the Department planned to do to encourage good governance. Why was the Department struggling to fulfil the two percent target for hiring people with disabilities? How was the Department going to ensure that the environmental programme was getting a big chunk of the budget? How would the Department improve internal controls to prevent irregular expenditure? How would it ensure its branches’ performance in the coming year? Regarding R1.8 billion in allocations to public entities in the Department’s budget, he asked what the turnaround plans were. When did it expect the entities to be financially sustainable?

Mr M Nhanha (DA, Eastern Cape) said raw sewage and oil flowed into the Swartkops River in Port Elizabeth and then into the ocean. Sewage also flowed into the ocean from Cradock and Makhanda. He had raised these issues on several platforms in Parliament, to no avail. The zeal displayed in KZN was the approach that the Department should adopt with every spillage.

He asked how many young South Africans per race benefited from maritime study bursaries. When would the Department and the Department of Education introduce maritime studies at the high school level? How far was the work and what were the bottlenecks? How was the Department ensuring that bottlenecks were addressed?

Regarding the conservation and oil exploration issue by Shell off the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape, how much engagement did the Minister have with the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy, Mr Gwede Mantasha? Despite a court order stopping Shell, how much engagement did the Minister have with Shell and other role players? Were people of the Wild Coast taken into confidence regarding the matter?

He asked why the Department had failed to meet the targets for planting trees. Was failure due to a human element and, if so, what measures were taken to deal with those who contributed to failure?


The Minister said that to deal with climate change, the country had to deal with the dependency on fossil fuels, and it had to meet the national targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The Department had committed to making sure that the vulnerable workers in the value chain would not be the ones facing the consequences of policy decisions. This meant that there was a need for a lot of research to find alternative uses for power stations due for decommissioning. There was a need to refocus them to be used with renewable energy sources and develop value chains in the manufacturing of renewables to increase work opportunities. There was an integral relationship between the work to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and improve air quality.

Regarding the court case, the Department was going forward with developing regulations, and it had not received any objections to developing the regulations. Environmental law and air quality legislation were a role of many different levels of government, and it was incumbent to support the development of other levels of government in enforcement.

On the issue of waste management, she agreed that sanitation was a major challenge, but it was the responsibility of the Department of Water and Sanitation. Her Department was primarily responsible for solid waste management. However, she agreed on the need for efficient water and sanitation where there were spills. South Africa was a water-scarce country, and the pollution of water sources was a very serious issue.

She responded that it was beyond the Department’s jurisdiction regarding seismic blasting, and it fell under the Ministry of Mineral Resources and Energy. But because of the public concern, the Department was engaging in more research in the coming year so that it would be better able to inform the public discourse. 

The Chairperson asked for clarity about the Climate Change Bill tabled. The Bill seemed to incorporate the much weaker and less applicable nationally determined contribution (NDC) from 2015. It should have been updated by the 2021 NDC. She asked for an update on the development of aquaculture in the country. One of the challenges was the delay in finalising legislation to guide the aquaculture development Bill. How ready was the Bill for tabling?

The targeted number of interventions for wetland protection was relatively conservative, with only two interventions per year. Was that sufficient considering the pressure the ecosystems were facing.

The Chairperson also asked for clarity on how the Committee could verify the 800 jobs said to be created by each biodiversity initiative. How sustainable were these jobs? What were the future economic prospects of the biodiversity beneficiaries? How would jobs be distributed per province?

Regarding the need for adequately trained local government, how would training benefit the municipalities if only one person was trained? On forestry management, she asked what species would be planted in targeted areas. If exotic species were introduced, would they not negatively impact water resources?

Due to the connectivity issues caused by load-shedding, the Chairperson asked the Department to give its responses in writing the night of the following day.

The Director-General, Ms Tshabalala, assured the Committee that the Department would send in the responses even if that meant working into the night.

The Chairperson thanked the Department. She highlighted that the Minister, Deputy Minister, and Director-General were all present, which was an attestation to their commitment.

Committee minutes dated 19 April 2022

The minutes were adopted. 

Report of the Select Committee on Land Reform, Environment, and Mineral Resources and Energy on the Budget Vote and Annual Performance Plan 2022/23 – Budget Vote No 29

The report was adopted. 

Committee minutes dated 22 March 2022

The minutes were adopted. 

The meeting was adjourned.


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