DFFE & MLR Quarter 3 & 4 2021/22 Performance; with Minister

Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

30 August 2022
Chairperson: Ms F Muthambi (ANC)
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Meeting Summary

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Video (Part 2)

The Portfolio Committee met virtually to be briefed by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), including the Marine Living Resources Fund, on their third and fourth quarterly performance reports for the 2021/22 financial year.

The Department reported that its overall performance for the fourth quarter had been 68%, and five programmes within the Department had received scores below 75%. It had spent 82.3% of its budget, and only two programmes had expenditures below 80%.

The Committee asked if disciplinary hearings had been held for the officials who had resigned. Members were also concerned about the poor performance of the environmental programmes. The need to prioritise the biodiversity management plans of rhinos and African penguins was stressed. The Committee required an update on the Aquaculture and Climate Change Bill.

The DFFE was asked to elaborate on the functionality of the harbours and the challenges they faced.

What had happened to the joint plan by the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure and the DFFE to manage the Hout Bay harbour and its activities? To what extent had the Department and its entities responded to the Committee's directive to raise environmental awareness and community outreach in rural and township areas? The Committee also said the branches of the Department that were performing poorly had to report their progress regularly. It wanted to know what informed the setting of the DFFE's annual targets. It also advised the Department to fix its supply chain management issues. How ready was it to administer and implement the fishing rights allocation after the judgment arising from the current court proceedings?

Meeting report

DFFE: Fourth quarter report
The presentation of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) was delivered by Ms Nomfundo Tshabalala, Director-General (DG), and the relevant Deputy Directors-General (DDGs).
The following targets were not met:

Programme 1 : Administration

The Coordinated Integrated Permitting System (CIPS) permit modules were not rolled out and deployed to production as user acceptance testing (UAT) because the programme took longer than anticipated. The DFFE assigned an additional development resource.

Programme 2 : Regulatory and Compliance and Sector Monitoring

The National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Strategy (NECES) implementation plan had not been finalised because a contract with a service provider was cancelled due to non - compliance with the memorandum of understanding (MOU) and poor work quality. The DFFE had engaged with the National Treasury to request the appointment of the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC), to finalise the work .

Financial provisioning regulations for the mining sector gazetted for implementation were not finalised. The regulations would be consulted through the working group in April and prioritised for approval in the 2022/23 financial year.

Programme 3: Oceans and Coasts

There had been no progress for the period under review for the 1 200 jobs to be created through implementation of the Operation Ocean Economy programme, because the DFFE did not directly create jobs -- the management of job creation depended on the corporations with the industry. The DFFE said that the 2021/22 industry jobs numbers were expected to be submitted only in June.

The African penguins Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) was not published for implementation because the consultative advisory forum had requested further amendments. The public comment process would be finalised by the end of the 2022/23 financial year.

Programme 5 : Biodiversity and Conservation

The Minister's position statement for key issues affecting the biodiversity sector was not published and was on hold until the White Paper was published for implementation.
The three BMPs had not been developed because the High Level Panel (HLP) recommendations required further consultations with the stakeholders. The Department would develop the lion and rhino BMPS in the next financial year.

No heads of game had been donated to the Previously Disadvantaged Individual (PDI) communities, because the transfer of R10 million to SANParks for the capture and translocation of game was delayed, as the process required National Treasury approval. The DFFE would fast-track game capture, translocation and donation in 2022/23. The DFFE would finalise an MoU between the Department of Defence and public entities to unlock donations of more games.

Programme 6: Environmental programmes

The number of hectares to be cleared of invasive plant species had not been achieved because the projects had started late. The DFFE had initiated some projects, and clearing the alien species would improve.

No coastal infrastructure facilities had been constructed and renovated because the branch was still procuring contractors. The DFFE said construction would commence in the 2022/23 financial year. The construction would be guided by the requirements of the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB).

Programme 7 : Chemical and Waste Management

There were no jobs created in the waste management sector because the Recycling Enterprise Support Programme, which was being implemented through an allocation of grants, was delayed. The Department had approved the guidelines for the allocation of the grants.

Programme 8 : Forestry Management

Planned annual targets for the nurseries that needed to be refurbished at Wolseley, Bloemhof and Rusplaas, were not achieved. The DFFE would fast-track procurement through the bid process to attract a bigger pool of service providers.
Programme 9: Fisheries Management

The revenue model for the Marine Living Resources Fund (MLRF) and the collection targets and strategy were not published for implementation. The DFFE said the outstanding work would be prioritised and finalised in the 2022/23 financial year.

Small-scale fishers in the Western Cape had not been allocated fishing rights because the DFFE was waiting for the court outcome.

The planned annual target for an alternative livelihood strategy for fishing communities was not achieved after a tender was cancelled. The tender would be re-advertised in the 2022/23 financial year.

The overall performance for the fourth quarter and annual performance for the DFFE was at 68%, with five programmes under-performing at below 75% -- Programmes 1, 5, 6, 8 and 9. Overall, the Department had spent 82.3% of its budget, but Programmes 6 and 8 had expenditure below 80%.

(For more information on the programmes and the budget, please refer to the presentations attached).


Ms C Phillips (DA) asked if the DFFE had instituted the disciplinary action procedures regarding the resignation of employees in the supply chain management (SCM) unit. How many employees were involved? Were there any criminal cases or complaints against them? She said it was frightening that some environmental programmes were underperforming. She also complained about the bad reporting from DFFE, saying the Committee was still not getting financial reports in a proper format. Had the Department hired any consultants to do the work? If so, what was the amount of the contracts? She asked if the accommodation costs included the accommodation provided for the chalets of the contract workers and staff at Kruger National Park (KNP). She stressed that the BMPs were critical and had not been met for the two species on the brink of extinction. Some things were important and some things were urgent. Both rhinos and African penguins were not urgent anymore-- they were critical. The decline in their numbers was catastrophic.

She said that it was unacceptable that the DFFE's key performance indicators (KPIs) were still in red. She had asked about the locations of the air quality management stations in and around Rustenburg from the previous meetings, and still had not received them. The waste management site next to Mpumalanga on the N4 was growing larger, and it seemed that the tyres were not being utilised for recycling. Recycling was one of their critical responses, not only to reduce unemployment but also due to the shortage of landfill availability. This area was neglected and she would like to see faster movement on recycling and BMPs.

Ms A Weber (DA) said she agreed with Ms Phillips regarding the situation of the rhinos and African penguins. The plans in place took a long time to be executed and enforced, and while they were taking their time, these animals were unfortunately disappearing. Could they do something immediately on the ground, whether they called it an emergency or crisis plan?

She also raised her concern on the environmental programmes (EPs). Were the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) workers still working at the Roodeplaat Dam? Were they still effective? The Department had replaced the community running the dam management with the EPWP, so if they were ineffective, why did they get some entities to pay them?

She said the environmental practitioners in Ekangala could not tell her where the monitoring stations were; she could not even get their contact details. She requested a list of the air monitoring stations in Ekangala. She said that the air monitoring centres were ineffective and there were always excuses when the list of the air monitoring systems was required. Could the Committee have a breakdown of all the environmental programmes and how they were performing?

Mr D Bryant (DA) asked why the environmental programmes had scored 33%, but 71% had been spent on them. Things were not really getting better for fisheries management. How much improvement was required for officials to avoid disciplinary hearings? Was there a barometer? He was also sceptical about the hybrid e-wallet payment system; if he was a worker, he would also not be sure if he got paid at the end of the day. Could the EPWP staff payments be consolidated?

Had the DFFE met with private rhino owners regarding the plans mentioned in the presentation? Many private rhino owners had mentioned that they were in the dark regarding plans put forward by the DFFE and were not getting any opportunities to consult directly with the Department. What had caused the delay in the rhino development strategy?  

He said tender E1590 was a massive failure that should be blamed on the DFFE, and he was glad that some measures were being taken to delegate some of the authority to localised areas. However, it had put the jobs of thousands at risk, and should have never happened.

How much money had been spent by the DFFE on litigation, particularly for Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) related projects? How long would this process take? Was there an estimate of how much the litigation would cost the DFFE and the taxpayers? He asked for an update on the Aquaculture Bill.

The DFFE needed to be more specific on the nature of the partnerships under the Public and Private Partnerships and Non-Disclosure. Why did these partnerships take place? Was any action taken regarding the officials concerned, especially on overstating the capital projects completed? How did one overstate the number of capital projects? What did the Department mean by taking Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to the market? Surely this was a function of the government? The MPAs include the Table Mountain National MPA, declared 18 years ago in 2004. It was supposed to have been implemented within six months but still had not been finalised. How could one be confident that this plan was going to work?

He said that the tender process and SCM ran as a common thread throughout the presentations from the government. This consistent failure needed to be addressed, and small achievements involving tender processes and SCM were not worth celebrating. "You cannot praise the fish for swimming."

He asked why the contract/tender within the regulatory and compliance programme had been cancelled for bad work and non-compliance. Was the contractor blacklisted to prevent the same mistakes in the future? He assumed that the creation of 1 200 jobs by the Ocean and Coast programme had been exceeded. How many people were hired under the Operation Phakisa Programme? Was there a moratorium on fisheries, and how long was it supposed to last? He had visited Hout Bay harbour a couple of weeks ago, and the slipway was not in a very good condition. He had heard that people were brought from the outside to operate, notwithstanding other crumbling infrastructure, which was the responsibility of the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure (DPWI), but the DFFE definitely had a significant role to play. He asked the Department to elaborate on the functionality of the harbours and the challenges they face.

Ms N Gantsho (ANC) asked about the over-expenditure of R9.2 million under administration. What had driven the over-expenditure between the office administration and salaries? She said that the Portfolio Committee had advised the DFFE to develop a unified awareness programme for rural and township communities about careers and bursary opportunities in the environmental sector. How far was the DFFE and its entities in response to this directive? Which municipalities had been roped in to carry the Marine Protected Area (MPA) management responsibility under the Ocean and Coast Programme? Were these municipalities capacitated to fully execute that function? What role did the DFFE expect from coastal district municipalities after training them on the coastal risk and vulnerabilities to climate change? Were there committed personnel and funds to use with the tools acquired? Her concern was that many responsibilities were dumped on these municipalities and may never be implemented.

Mr N Singh (IFP) said that he was dismayed and disappointed with the DFFE for the first time regarding what they had been telling the Portfolio Committee. Despite the reasons, some of the branches' dismal performances were a cause for concern. The light at the end of the tunnel was the intervention by the Minister and the DG in getting everybody together. He suggested that the flagged branches (below 50% performance) needed to report back on their progress to the Portfolio Committee in a month to ensure that governmental resources were spent efficiently.

He asked what informed the setting of departmental targets. He had noticed that there had been a reduction in annual targets across departments. Although he was not saying this had happened, one could easily manipulate targets and the key performance indicator (KPI) performance. Were these targets informed by the needs on the ground?

He had been on the Committee a few years ago when the then Minister had announced the MPA initiative to conserve the environment, ocean and fisheries. He thought this was done due to pressure to meet the international standards, and hoped that it was still not the case today. How many of the MPAs were functional? How many were maintained? Had the process to amend the activities allowed at the Aliwal Shoal been completed?

The DFFE had also placed much responsibility on the municipalities regarding the Climate Change Bill, and he asked for clarity on how the Department would approach this. Many branches within the DFFE were not performing, but they now wanted to place an international level mandate in the hands of the local government. How would they manage this?

Mr Singh said he had always had a view that the forestry branch management should be transferred to the private sector, instead of the state. The underperformance by the branch confirmed his opinion. They needed to be convinced that the branch was effective and could perform its functions. It was also sad to see fishermen appearing on TV and speaking about how the DFFE ignored them. Did they have sufficient stuff to tend to the needs of the people in the fisheries sector? Were they doing enough in that sector?

The Chairperson said that the DFFE had adhered to Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) requirements regarding the performance and disciplinary management of the senior management staff of the DFFE. What senior positions did those senior employees occupy? What were the outcomes of the disciplinary hearings?

She said that in the annual performance plan and the Budget Vote of May 2021, the Minister had said she was only expecting more than an 80% performance when responding to the issue of inadequate performance by various programmes within the DFFE. Did this 80% rule apply, because he could see they were getting comfortable with performances under 75%? Were they now performing to the benchmark that the Minister set?

The Chairperson said everyone must be concerned about the environmental programmes while attending to the SCM issues. The communities were looking to the DFFE to contribute toward poverty alleviation and create employment. Much needed to be done with the project planning or phasing out of the existing contractors to avoid under-spending the budget. They had attended another meeting where the issue of under-spending had been raised, and DFFE had been encouraged to come clean and report to their Portfolio Committees on how they planned to manage their budgets effectively.

She asked the Portfolio Committee to confirm their readiness for the core judgment by the Western Cape High Court on the small scale fisheries. What if the DFFE was not allowed to issue fishing rights? How soon would the fishing rights then be allocated or concluded? She also asked for an update on the removal of sunken vessels, dredging, repairing and replacements of infrastructure on the shores, which was supposed to have been completed by 2020. What had happened to the operational budget to cover the mandate of the DPWI and DFFE to complete these activities? What had happened to the joint plan by the DPWI and DFFE to manage the harbour and its activities?

DFFE's response

Minister Barbara Creecy said she and Deputy Minister Maggie Sotyu were of the view that last year's performance by certain branches in the DFFE was totally unacceptable. She fully agreed with the Committee Members who had expressed the view that in a situation where Treasury allocated scarce resources to the Department, whoever failed to spend that money was a public disgrace. That was why, when the DFFE received the funds, it held a workshop and gave clear instructions to the DG to institute a performance improvement plan in the underperforming departments. Clearly, this was required, because one could see a significant turnaround in those branches.

She assured Mr Bryant that she was not pleased, and did not accept a 1% or 2% improvement in the EPs. She welcomed Mr Singh's suggestion that the underperforming branches within the DFFE must report regularly to the Portfolio Committee. They were public representatives and were responsible for ensuring that government delivered what it said it would. The Committee was taking the necessary administrative actions, but clearly a little bit more help from the public legislature would be most welcomed.

She acknowledged that her standard performance was still 80%, saying that in a situation where there were branches that were performing so significantly low, it was important to focus. However, she would expect that the branches within the 72 to 75% bracket needed to get closer to the 80% mark. There were always externalities that impacted branch performance, which was why one would be more comfortable with the 80% target.

She hopes the DFFE would get a good outcome on the small-scale fisheries issue from the Western Cape High Court. They had met with the small-scale fisheries association, and they support the Department's approach. They had also worked with the communities that felt they would be excluded, and would be very glad if they got a court finding that gave the DFFE an opportunity to put small-scale fisheries in the Western Cape on a more stable footing.

The Minister said that the position of the small-scale fishermen would be improved by the allocation of the Total Allowable Catch (TAC), or the significant portion of the catch. The Department had made that decision regarding squid, and had been challenged by the commercial sector, and the matter would go to court. They had indicated that when the FRAP process was concluded, they would want to allocate the TAC for hake and lionfish for the small-scale fisheries sector. These matters remained on the agenda, and she believed that this allocation of the TAC would represent sustainable solutions to the problems of the small-scale fishers.

Minister Creecy said that the Biodiversity Management Plan (BMP) was out for public comment. She would be making an announcement about the management of African penguins.

A proposal had been submitted at the Ministers and Members of Executive Council (MINMEC) meeting to articulate that the matter should return to provinces if local governments fail to adequately attend to air quality issues. They were in discussion with the provinces on this matter, and were prioritising the Highveld, the Durban South Basins and the Vaal Priority Area. The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has raised money for these areas for the past three years to fix the air monitoring stations.

She did not know of any litigation concerning the FRAP -- she did not have any litigation relating to the FRAP process on her desk.

Ms Tshabalala said that the departmental branches got a 75% guide from the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), but the DFFE maintained that 80% should be the actual performance target.

Ms Flora Mokgohloa, DDG: Biodiversity and Conservation, said that they had just completed a review of the 2013 biodiversity management plan, which had highlighted the areas that the branch needed to focus on regarding biological management. They had taken stock of all rhino-related initiatives they had engaged in since 2013. This included the Commission of Inquiry outcome, the recommendations of the High Level Panel, and the review of BMPs for black and white rhinos. They had met with the rhino stakeholders in July and October, in line with the recommendations and the priorities identified. They were developing a rhino conservation recovery plan which would include numerous components related to the BMP, enforcement and compliance, demand management, and fostering relationships with private rhino owners. The South African National Parks (SANParks) has completed their own rhino conservation strategy, which would be consolidated into an overall rhino conservation recovery plan. The BMP would be ready for public consultation by the end of the third quarter in 2023. Once the White Paper processes were concluded, the BMP consultations would also be finalised.

Ms Nonhlanhla Mkhize, DDG: Environmental Programmes, agreed that the poor performance of the branch could not be justified. She highlighted that 2020/2021 and 2021/2022 were significant years for the branch due to changes with the service providers. The change from advance payments to order-based systems for delivering goods and services had been underestimated and impacted by the cancellation of Tender E1590. The branch would be re-engineered to ensure that there were systems in place that would allow the staff to deliver as expected. They were also building capacity in terms of project and contract management.

She said a process was unfolding at the Roodeplaat Dam to appoint service providers for clearing at the dam. They were working with other stakeholders, like Rowing SA, to clear the invasive alien plant species while the DFFE was concluding the process. No team was currently working, but they would have a team in place by September or early October.

The information on which Working For Fisheries programmes were not performing would be sent to the Portfolio Committee.

She referred to the branch report on performance in terms of targets achieved and work in progress, and areas where the targets had been missed, and explained that the percentages were influenced by when the projects were executed, or if they were indicated as work in progress and off-target in the presentation. All the areas, when consolidated, related to 71% of the expenditure.

She said that the payment system by Nedbank had been with the DFFE since 2020, because it was a preferable system. Previously, there had been a process in place with the PostBank. This system allowed them to control the timeliness of the payment of stipends to the participants. This mode of payment was not applied across the branch, but only to the in-house project management and certain infrastructural projects. In instances where a Nedbank was not used, the branch would be paid through an appointed service provider.  

Ms Pumeza Nodada, DDG: Forestry Management, said that the low performance of the branch had been noted, and the branch had looked at ways to improve going forward. The DFFE was already executing the plan of moving the plantations to private ownership through the work done with the commercial forestry master plan. A number of plantations had already been identified and were earmarked for the transfer. The branch and the DFFE had already committed to a catch-up plan on the plantations due to be transferred. They had discussed the plan with the relevant sister departments -- the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development and the Department of Traditional Affairs -- which would assist the DFFE in ensuring that the transfer of the plantations was possible, and deal with any conflicts among the communities. The Department would provide sector leadership, policy development, and enforcement and compliance functions during this transferring process, as required by the National Forest Act.  

Ms Sue Middleton: DDG: Fisheries Management, said that the industry stakeholders had requested more time to comment on the Aquaculture Bill. They had extended the public comment period to the end of July, and were currently processing all the comments. There was a two-day internal workshop on Thursday and Friday this week to analyse the comments. It was a work in process, and the Bill would be updated as the comments were accepted. The Bill would shortly be submitted to the Minister for approval and then it would be submitted to the Cabinet and undergo parliamentary processes.  

She said that the Committee must be aware that the management of the fishing harbour was a dual mandate between the DFFE and the DPWI. The DPWI was responsible for all the infrastructure maintenance, including the slipways. The DFFE was responsible for the day-day fisheries operations within the harbour. She reported that the DPWI had removed the sunken vessel in Hout Bay. The DPWI had maintenance and upgrading programmes in key harbours, including Hout Bay, Gordon's Bay and Kalk Bay. However, due to vandalism, Hout Bay remained a concern for both the DPWI and the DFFE. They were now looking at increasing the security and access control at Hout Bay.

Ms Middleton said that the branch had been preparing internally for the Western Cape High Court judgment on small-scale fisheries, and would be ready to start the implementation process. They had a workshop yesterday with all the community-based organisations (CBOs), and several issues were raised. They indicated that the community needed more time to submit their applications. Two service providers were appointed to ensure that the process was independent, free and transparent. Numerous staff had been reassigned from numerous components within the Western Cape, and they were ready for the implementation. They were just waiting for a go-ahead from the court.

She stressed that the Minister had inherited litigation from 2015, which was still carrying on in the horse mackerel sector. There were a number of reviews that were currently underway. Numerous staff had been appointed on a contractual basis to assist with the small-scale fisheries management components. They had also had a number of critical vacancies from the previous Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) and were filling the new administration of the DFFE. They were also hiring people under the critical scarce skills category for the Marine Living Resources Fund (MLRF). They were slowly but surely addressing the capacity issues. They were also piloting an online e-service that would speed up the turnaround of issuing permits, rather than expecting the applicants to travel to Cape Town, or be serviced through consultants.

Ms Andiswa Jass, CFO, DFFE, confirmed that there were no service providers that had assisted the DFFE with its financial statements. The DFFE had been qualified on the Public-Private Partnership Disclosure in the previous financial year for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of the Department's office accommodation (Environmental House). The partnership had been entered into in 2012 and handed to the DFFE in 2014, reporting and accounting for it in a consistent manager. Nothing had changed, even in the previous financial year, but the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) had found problems with the manner in which they were accounting for certain technical line aspects in the disclosure. As part of the audit plans, the DFFE had engaged the AG with the technical task team (TTT) unit within the National Treasury and the private party. They had to explain the base model specifically created for the DFFE. As a result, they intensified the manner in which they disclosed financial statements, but there were no errors that they had to rectify. The balance disclosed in the previous year would remain the same as the opening balance for the year (2021/22) that was under review. They had to expand in the note, resulting in the DFFE having to clear the qualification item. The matter had been cleared and they were therefore not qualified in this area.

Ms Jass said that the capital work in progress was a qualification item from last year. The infrastructure projects that the Department built were accounted for and capitalised in nature. However, the AG indicated last year that the DFFE was overstating its capital projects due to the manner in which it technically disclosed them.

She said the transfer payments to the MPAs were signed through an MOU that expired in 2022. In the past, National Treasury had exempted them and said they could continue with the transfer payments without following the SCM processes. However, when the DFFE requested an exemption renewal in 2021, the Office of the Chief Procurement Office indicated that it was not a matter that should be granted by them. As much as they were legislated MPAs, it did not necessarily mean that other parks surrounding their areas could not get the services. For the DFFE to be deemed transparent, they were advised to go to the market so they did not close other areas.

The DFFE did not overspend or incur any underlying expenditure on any line item. In the presentation, it seemed as if they had exceeded 100% on the compensation of employees, but overall it had included Operation Phakisa. They had an agreement with the National Treasury that when they were making payments, these would be reflected as the compensation of employees, but at the year end, they had to ensure that this was rectified.
Ms Mmamokgadi Mashala, DDG: Corporate Management Services, said that there had been 67 resignations from the DFFE. Two SCM employees had undergone a disciplinary process; one official was dismissed while the other was given a three-month suspension without salary. Therefore, there were no resignations that were linked to the disciplinary processes.

Four awareness campaigns were planned according to the thematic areas of climate change, environmental programmes, Operation Phakisa and FRAP. Numerous schools were reached, as well as communities. The DFFE also promoted their services, such as bursaries and internships. Last year, 128 bursaries were issued in different fields linked to the DFFE's mandate on core support function.

Ms Vanessa Bendeman, DDG: Regulatory Compliance and Sector Monitoring, agreed with the Minister that the DFFE had received no FRAP litigation regarding the 2021 FRAP process. They still had to undergo a process in terms of the appeals. Litigation costs could be limited by appointing a team of counsels through the appeals process to assist the Minister in consideration of an appeal. The same counsel would be utilised if there were review applications of the litigation that emanated from the appeal. She said that the 2015/16 FRAP process had five pending reviews. The state attorney's offices would determine the litigation cost through the claims. In the last financial year, only one claim of less than R40 000 under fisheries had been received.

She said that the matter of blacklisting one of their past service providers had been referred to the SCM unit. They also needed to give the service provider an opportunity to respond to their allegations of poor performance. The service provider requested a meeting through the CFO for non-compliance. Blacklisting would have a huge impact on the service provider's business, and the DFFE had to ensure that the service provider was given an opportunity to discuss the cancellation of the contract prior to the service being blacklisted.

Mr Lisolomzi Fikizolo, Acting DDG: Oceans and Coasts, said it had been mentioned that the DFFE was not responsible for creating the 1 200 job opportunities. The jobs must mainly be created by the industry. It was a dual responsibility from the Oceans and Coasts (economic side) and the fisheries management branches. They struggled to consolidate the number of job opportunities created by the industry. They had challenges with personnel because they had only one economist responsible for aggregating such statistics; unfortunately, she was currently on maternity leave. The data would be available in due course and made available to the Committee as soon as it was done.

He agreed that some of the municipalities were assisting with the management of MPAs, namely Nelson Mandela Bay and the City of Cape Town. They were doing a good job and raising their finances to get equipment and resources that were, in turn, made available to the DFFE, like water monitoring equipment.

He said that there were different types of MPAs and designated zones, and it was frustrating for the local communities not to have access to some, particularly the Aliwal Shoal. They had been in contact with the South Coast Subsistence Fisheries and met with them on 26 July. They were contributing towards finding a sustainable solution to the problems, including rezoning of the Green Point to Mahlongwa area. Amended regulations were currently being drafted which responded to the issues that the communities had raised. Internal processes would be followed until they were submitted to the office of the Minister. They were also working with their legal team to expedite the process. They have given themselves a time frame of four to six weeks.

Mr Tlou Ramaru, Acting DDG: Climate Change and Air Quality Management, said that the list, locations, and contact details of the air monitoring stations would be sent to the Portfolio Committee. He indicated that the DFFE supported the municipalities in capacity, assessments and integration of the risks within the planning tool regarding the Climate Change Bill. The risk and vulnerability assessment, adaptation strategies and partnerships with the donor funders were supported by the DFFE  at the provincial and district level. They were moving towards on-ground implementation in various municipalities, and were looking into securing funding through various interventions and donor support. The DFFE worked with the South African Local Government Association (SALGA) to ensure proper integration of the implementation.

Mr Obed Baloyi, Head of the Waste Bureau, acknowledged that the waste tyre depot in Belfast, Mpumalanga, had a huge number of tyres. The processing and recycling of the tyres had not been prioritised. They were finalising the waste tyre management plan and processing waste tyres. Initially, the priority was diversion and reducing the number of tyres that go to the waste site. They had achieved that goal and were now looking at recovering energy using the rubber from different processing facilities.

Ms Tshabalala said that the targets set by the Department were informed by the Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) and then linked up with the five year strategy and annual performance plans (APPs) in terms of the outcomes achieved as a department. It was critical to ensure that the performance baseline of prior years and lessons learnt were considered when one projected one's annual targets. That was a challenge, as there had been no baselines and sufficient groundwork to inform some of the targets. It was a lesson that they were taking into future APPs.

She said the Aquaculture Bill was still in process because the industry had raised few concerns after initial consultation. They had had to take it back for further public comments. Those public comments had been received and were being processed internally. Once this was done, it had to follow all departmental, Cabinet and governmental processes. The DFFE acknowledges that it took long, but there were serious concerns around the Aquaculture Bill.

The DG highlighted that some of the resources under the EP were used to support infrastructure delivery and other EPWP programmes implemented through the DFFE's entities, such as iSimangaliso Wetland Park and SANParks. Therefore, the targets and the KPIs under the EP were accounted for in the APPs of those entities.

She closed by saying that the 80% performance level was non-negotiable, and the DFFE had utilised the 75% currently.

Follow-up question

Mr Bryant thanked all the officials for the concise and comprehensive answers. How could one quantify the target of 1 200 jobs under Operations Phakisa Programme? How then could one measure the performance against the target?

Minister Creecy said that Mr Bryant had raised an important issue that really went beyond the DFFE's duties. StatsSA was usually used as an independent institution that would provide data on the growth of different sectors of the economy. Whatever the issue regarding the economist of the DFFE at the moment, he did not think they should wait for months and months until somebody came back from maternity leave. She suggested that due consideration should be given to the question in a broader context of achieving verifiable and accurate statistical information that an independent authority would develop. Perhaps this was one of the areas where they needed to interface with the Presidency, because she was unsure whether this 1 200 was an appropriate target for DFFE.

The Chairperson adjourned the meeting.

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