Department Budget: Marine and Coastal Management and Poverty Relief Initiatives


07 June 2004
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report

This report is produced by the Contact Trust -

7 June 2004

Chairperson: Ms E Thabethe (ANC)

The following documents are available:
Marine and Coastal Management presentation
Poverty Alleviation presentation

The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs continued with the budget discussions as outlined by DEAT. This also enabled the MCM to present its plans since it was the only branch that did not present. The Chief Operations Officer, Ms Yako also presented the Department's comprehensive approach to poverty alleviation and also clarified issues that Members of the Committee had previously asked on poverty relief efforts of the Department.

Marine and Coastal Management Branch
Mr Horst Kleinschmidt (DDG: Marine and Coastal Management) presented (see document). Mr Kleinschmidt noted that the MCM would have policies for each fishing sector. "There would be consultation and after that the policy will be gazetted". The MCM together with Public Works is busy with the rehabilitation of fishing harbours. He also mentioned that they are looking at establishing minimum standards for Blue Flag Beaches and they are having talks with Mozambican authorities. "There is a process of closing gaps in existing 4X4 regulations".

Mr Durr (ACDP) was impressed with the presentation. He however, raised concerns with the question of multiple jurisdictions, lack of control and interdepartmental conflicts.

Mr Kleinschmidt replied that the conflict of jurisdiction affects the management of the areas. The Coastal Management Bill addresses some of these problems. There are discussions with DWAF and DLA because inland fishery belongs to Agriculture.

Mr Durr also argued that confiscated abalones should be made available to local restaurants where they are situated. "You need to beneficiate abalone".

Mr Kleinschmidt mentioned that they have made restaurants purchase abalone on certain conditions. The condition is that they would need to prove to the inspector where they got them. He further mentioned that poachers replace the fresh abalone with the rotten. He also told the meeting that they would be more than willing to do a full briefing on fisheries. He invited Members of the Committee to visit MCM offices and see for themselves how the monitoring system works.

Regarding the issue of gazetting fisheries policy, Mr Greyling (DA) raised the concern that it would be difficult for the fishermen on the Coast to follow what is in the gazette. He also wanted to know what mechanism MCM is using to encourage people to participate.

Mr Kleinschmidt said that with established fisheries, they consult the industry association. For the small-scale fisheries, they engage in community discussions and road shows to ensure that communities participate. He indicated that when the MCM issues a gazette for comments, he would make it a point that MPs get it online.

Mr Greyling (ID) wanted to know how the MCM is dealing with the issue of subsistence abalone fishing in the Eastern Cape.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that the process can only succeed through workshopping communities. "Many people believe the present system of fisheries is appropriate". He further mentioned that divers from the Western Cape are invited to do diving in the Eastern Cape and this has got the potential to defeat the objectives.

Mr Greyling wanted to know how MCM is tracking the vessel.

Mr Kleinschmidt promised to provide details when members visit MCM. He however told the committee that the skipper of the vessel needs to provide coordinates and quantities.

Mr Greyling wanted to understand the work of the Rights Verification Unit.

Mr Kleinschmidt replied that there is an impending report that will be released soon. The details would be available from that report.

Mr Greyling asked about the progress regarding transformation in the fishing industry.

Mr Kleinschmidt replied that 60% of new fisheries are owned or managed by people from previously disadvantaged background. "It is possible to achieve transformation through allocation of rights".

Mr Moss (ANC) raised the fishing problem in Mossel Bay, and where catches are taken to Saldannah Bay and the municipality is raising some concerns.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that there are commercial decisions to deal with. "The Department needs to engage with the issue. We need to establish a degree of stability in small harbours".

Mr Moss wondered how the MCM is going to increase the new fisheries from 25 to 35.

Mr Kleinschmidt replied that this would depend on successes with experimental fisheries. "New fisheries are not big industrial sector and they are small in economic value".

Mr Moss wanted to know how many jobs will be created and how the fishing communities will be informed.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that they are talking to the Octopus Industry about jobs to created. "I cannot tell you about informal employment and we are looking for the economic data". He mentioned that there is a need for geographic justice.

Mr Moss wanted to know if there has been an increase in total allowable catches (TAC).

Mr Kleinschmidt's answer was that the TACs are at their maximum exploitation. Hake is at a quantum of 160 tons per annum. "If we keep it, it will increase. There has been gradual increase and there are recordings of large increases in pelagics".

Regarding aquaculture, Mr Moss asked what the Department is doing to encourage local communities.

Mr Kleinschmidt answered that the Aquaculture Park was developed in Hoston. "This is the suitable area for Port Elizabeth Harbour. With Coega, you could have easily accessible areas. We need to keep a keen eye on things".

Mr Moss wanted to find out how the Department is managing fisheries other than abalone in terms of compliance.

Mr Kleinschmidt said that South Africa is not the only country as far as the problem of abalone is concerned. "We will have a problem as long as abalone is price driven. With other fisheries, compliance is relatively good". South Coast rock lobster is improving and there is scientific evidence to back this. Some Hout Bay fisheries were prosecuted.

Mr Moss raised the concern that the repair of harbours does not benefit local communities.

Mr Kleinschmidt indicated that he needed to provide a detailed report. DEAT and the Department of Public Works were at loggerheads initially. "We now have common approach. There needs to be a different management regime regarding harbours. I would like to give you details about other options".

Mr Moss went on to raise concerns with the level of efficiency when people contact both MCM and the Department of Public Works about some of the problems he raised.

Mr Moss added that the issuing of permits has been done in an inconsistent way. He further stated that trying to call MCM offices is a long and painful experience.

Mr Kleinschmidt promised to look at the service they are rendering to fishing communities. "We made changes to the system and some things are not working as they should".

Mr Moss also explained that Mandla Xenyane offered to render training and information services to communities. He wanted to know the developments regarding this.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that efforts of Mr Xenyane were beginning to yield results. "Small companies don't just need information but training procedures as well".

Ms Ntuli (ANC) asked about the priorities and the timeframes for Blue Flag Beaches.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that they initially wanted a number of blue flags distributed among coastal communities. " Local authorities have not set minimum standards. We pioneered with Denmark international regulations because of the need to have acceptable and sound standards".

Ms Ntuli wanted to know if any research has been done about problems in legal fishing.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that in each sector, there would be illegal behaviour. The Department would need to look at setting standards to prosecute, in the same way it was done in Hout Bay.

Ms Chalmers (ANC) appreciated Mr Kleinschmidt's depth on issues and responses. She however wanted to find out if he thought the MCM has got the role to play in managing coastal communities.

Mr Kleinschmidt replied that there is a need for the audit of coastal land. He further noted that planning and conservation measures are difficult if you don't know where you are entitled to. He mentioned that Common Ground is doing the audit of the land. "It is difficult to know the owners of the land. High water mark needs to be established and we need to look adjacent land and the extent of sensitivity". The Coastal Management Bill looks at buffer zones.

Ms Chalmers wanted to know what he meant about coastal land.

Ms Chalmers mentioned that there was a plan in 2001 looking at managing abalone. She wanted to know if some aspects of it were being used.

Mr Kleinschmidt indicated that the plan was TURF. He elaborated that the way it worked was if you allocate rights, you must allocate to groups of divers over a sub zonal area. They would participate in its management. All divers in the Western Cape have been given TURF to look at co-management with communities.

Mr Morgan (DA) wanted to about the developments where there has been foreign poaching in Southern Islands. He also wanted to know the monitoring status in the area.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that the catch around Marian Island have gone down in the past 2 - 3 years. He talked of rebuilding not only tooth fish. He further mentioned that they are in talks with their Australian counterparts to have Sahra Bartmann vessel leaving Cape Town and go to Merian and McDonald Islands. The MCM has proposed a reverse measure where the Australian boat will go to Cape Town. The French vessel will also do patrols up to South Africa.

Mr Ellis (DA) wanted to know if environmental considerations were taken into account when building Coega.

Mr Kleinschmidt conceded that he is not an expert on this. He told the committee that the environmental impact assessment was signed. "The impact on marine life is none".

Mr Ellis wanted to know if there is a condition of percentage of abalone caught that goes to local market or if it is internationally focused.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that there is no ruling where you can sell. This is based on market forces and on what is left. "With the introduction of limited commercials in lobster an abalone, we encourage people not to sign long term agreements".

Mr Ellis wanted to know what the 4X4 regulations are going to achieve.

Mr Kleinschmidt replied that they are changed to bring them in line with NEMA and to make sure that there is adequate system of permitting.

Mr Greyling said that he realised that the presentation did not mention threats to marine system. He wanted to know if the MCM is looking at sewerage outlets. He also wanted to know if the MCM has projects under Global Programme.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that the threats to marine systems are covered in terms of the Coastal Management Bill. "There are discussions with DWAF who have authority on sewerage issues". Regarding the Global Programme, he replied that they have access through regional programme and the rest of the department has interests.

Mr Greyling asked about the exemption of small-scale fisheries and wanted to know the update about the appeal process.

Mr Kleinschmidt replied that appeals are under way. "We need to investigate line fishermen who were given rights and misrepresented their permits".

Mr Moss commented that before Mr Kleinschmidt came, fishing was in crisis. He asked if Mr Kleinschmidt can say there is stability and whether there could be improvements.

Mr Kleinschmidt answered that broadly speaking, today there are 5800 right holders. "We have halved the cake. People who had no access and were demonstrating had been catered for. But, not all people are satisfied".

Ms Ndzanga (ANC) wanted to know if there is anything done to train divers from historically disadvantaged background since catching abalone would need people to have completed diving courses. She also wanted to know the costs.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that they don't offer training. He raised that few people in MCM have diving licences. The University of Cape Town provides for diving and it is expensive. He mentioned that abalone is close to extinction. "We don't encourage people to go where there is a possibility of stoppages. 60% of those who dive are from previously disadvantaged background". He also said that the Eastern Cape hires divers from Western Cape.

The Chairperson wanted to know if MCM has a policy on forfeited assets.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that it was not the case until 8 months ago. He said that some ended up in police pounds. "We now have an arrangement and asset status is cleared and vehicles are used in compliance efforts".

Mr Durr congratulated the Department for expanding the marine reserves. He aked how unalienable the reserves are, and if the Department can change its mind.

Mr Kleinschmidt responded that he thought regulations are unalienable. "If you are part of the global community, we may be challenged in international forums".

Mr Durr also wanted to know if some areas that are representative of climax colonies can develop so that they can have control in terms of research.

Mr Kleinschmidt replied that new marine protected areas and old ones have areas which are "no take areas". " If you take De Hoop reserve, it demonstrates for scientists something quite unique".

The Chairperson indicated that invitation to come to MCM offices would be given attention. She further raised that resolutions taken at the Antarctica discussions would inform how the committee deals with some of the questions.

The Chairperson took this opportunity to inform members of the committee that they had received invitation to attend the launch of the Domestic Tourism Market Strategy in Langa Township on 10 June 2004. He asked members to contact the Committee Section about their availability or non availability.

Poverty Relief Initiatives
Ms Yako (Chief Operating Officer) presented (see document)

Ms Chalmers (ANC) said that it was gratifying to have allocations. She wanted to know how job creation is working and what the people are doing and how it translates to better lives.

Ms Yako replied that in Motherwell, there is a process of nodal champions. "Some officials attended the meeting. The mayor had raised the plight of other people outside Motherwell". Most of the projects involve waste management.

Ms Chalmers wanted to know what the land based livelihood means.

Ms Yako replied that ther are a range of projects including land degradation. There are 20 pilot projects using CBNRM guidelines. "These projects are second economy interventions where we target first level poverty areas. The question is how much can you leverage jobs".

Ms Ngema (IFP) asked what happens after tracking and what about follow-ups.

Ms Yako responded that there is a need to develop data about people who participated in a project and what kind of training they received. "Monitoring and tracking needs further strengthening".

Mr Ellis raised that the key word in all this work is sustainability. He wanted to know if jobs created are being monitored. He also wanted to know if the Department is monitoring people using their skills.

Dr Sefularo (ANC) was keen to understand the role of other departments. He also commented about emergence of cooperatives from this. He wanted to know if the Department is training entrepreneurs.

Ms Yako commented that the programme is coordinated centrally. The DGs in the sector meet and identify issues. The EPWP started last year. She said that institutional mechanism is there and effectiveness is another matter. "Entrepreneurs are not directly trained".

Dr Sefularo raised his concern that there is no focus on marine resources and therefore no opportunity for poverty relief.

Ms Yako responded that they spent a lot of time trying to identify what they find in marine management. There is a debate about sustainability. "If you explore marine culture, is that sustainable. Its not covering the broad spectrum as far as marine issues are concerned", she said.

Mr Morgan wanted to know if the Department is at a stage of setting goals for particular projects and if they have worked out the breakdown.

Ms Yako responded that the targets have been set for the programme. Each Department would have to deliver in the programme. "The Department does not recruit people and we set a criteria that focuses on women, youth and disabled".

Mr Morgan also wanted to know what mechanisms DEAT would use to coordinate job opportunities and ensure that they are extended all over the country.

Mr Maja (ANC) wanted to know how the Department resolves the question of land where chiefs or tribal authorities refuse to give for projects.

Ms Yako responded that the problems regarding land are handling by the Department of Land Affairs as the competent authority. She said the suggestion to engage traditional authorities is worth looking at.

Dr Sefularo wanted to understand the rationale for over allocation of unforeseen requests.

Ms Yako responded that they needed to look at different sources for projects. "We need to link it with IDPs. "The question that comes up is what goes to the IDP".

Ms Khonou (ANC) wanted to know why the Department is concentrating on unsustainable jobs rather than looking at training.

Ms Yako responded that they have got a couple of options. The one is concentrating on training and not on jobs. We also know that training alone is not going to lead to jobs. "You need a balance to grow the economy. We need to transform the first economy".

Ms Ntuli raised whether projects are benefitting the people if the Department is just there to coordinate but do not monitor the projects and devise strategies for implementation.

Ms Yako responded that there was a need to clearly define targets and improve interface between levels of government.

Ms Chalmers raised that she was hoping that the 20 pilot projects mentioned were a combination of rural and urban nodes. "It would be useful to have that information about where they are and whether their contribute to the needs of the poor".

The Chairperson wanted to understand how the Department is going to integrate Department of Public Works priorities in terms of EPWP and how these programmes balance labour intensive methods with advancement in technological use.

Ms Yako replied that the Department of Public Works coordinates across government. There is also a DG cluster that works together but the DG - Public Works takes the responsibility. "Then, you have 5 DGs who are given responsibilities for the sector".

On the second question, Ms Yako replied that the use of technology is part of transforming the first economy. "There is also a dilemma and tension. If you compete, you need to be efficient. The Growth and Development Summit pronounced on labour intensive methods".

Mr Morgan commented that there is a need to visit the areas where these projects are taking place. "We need to look at our oversight role since these jobs are there for poverty alleviation. His concern was that the end benefit could be for private gains.

The Chairperson acknowledged the importance of the proposal and raised that when these projects are arranged, there should be mechanisms to guard against fronting.

The meeting adjourned.


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