SAWS & SANBI 2023/24 Annual Performance Plans

Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

19 April 2023
Chairperson: Mr P Modise (ANC)
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Meeting Summary


The Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment received briefings in a virtual meeting on the annual performance plans of the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) and the South African Weather Service (SAWS).

Some of SANBI’s key priorities for 2023/24 included environmental programmes, job creation through biodiversity services infrastructure maintenance, scientific support to the Department on protecting ecosystems and species, eradicating alien invasive species, and fighting against the illegal wildlife trade.

Members asked about the White Paper on conservation and sustainable use of South Africa’s biodiversity, and how that interacted with the game meat strategy and the recommendations of the high-level panel (HLP), which called for a phasing-out of the captive lion industry. They asked about alien invasive species in terrestrial water bodies and rivers, which led to an increase in water lost through transpiration and evaporation, and reduced the water runoff of rivers. With the responsibility to clear invasive species, what had been budgeted for that activity, and what long-term strategy was there to deal with alien invasive species? There were also questions on the changing membership structure of the Botanical Society, specifically the lifetime membership structure. Members wanted to know how SANBI had decided, and how it planned to work with members affected by the changes.

SAWS said the effects of global warming continued to increase extreme weather effects, with undesirable and devastating effects. In the global risk report of 2022, extreme weather was highlighted as one of the most severe risks on a global scale over the next ten years. Through the implementation of impact-based weather forecasting, SAWS continued to provide impact-based service weather warnings to the public to assist with mitigating the associated impacts. The provision of that service assisted disaster management authorities to coordinate responses, and mitigate the forecasted undesirable impacts.

SAWS remained in a recovery mode due to the well-documented “hammering” it took in the wake of the economic slump that followed the Covid-19 pandemic. Optimal productivity of the entity was reliant on sufficient availability of financial resources to enable and support its functions, so it was actively improving its revenue generation by mobilising funds from external funders in the form of fees generated through different projects and organisations.

Notwithstanding the country's electricity challenges in the form of loadshedding, SAWS was obligated to ensure the effective discharge of its mandate, which was heavily reliant on an operational remote sensing observational infrastructure and information systems. To that end, the entity would implement its soon-to-be-approved infrastructure sustainability plan, which outlined the expansion, automation, and modernisation endeavours, emphasising alternative power solutions for its observation networks. This much-needed contemporary observation infrastructure would enable the entity to improve the provision of timeous and quality meteorological information to protect lives and property in South Africa.

Members commented that if SAWS was responsible for air quality, should the criteria not be to prioritise monitoring those areas with very bad air quality, such as in the Highveld priority areas? With communication, there was the challenge of information not going to the right people. As climate change impacts were likely to increase in frequency, especially when it came to droughts and other extreme weather, the impact on the agricultural sector, food security, and water availability would become increasingly important. How would the information from SAWS be used in a way that was useful to various sectors? What kind of ideal plan did it have in mind, so that one could foresee extreme weather events and how they would have an impact, so those sectors could prepare well in advance? What was its plan to ensure information was effectively conveyed to the relevant stakeholders?

Members also observed that most of the SAWS weather stations were in urban areas, and asked if there was a plan to decentralise them to the rural areas. Most of the time, the rural areas received the least weather warnings. 

Meeting report

[Note: PMG did not capture the opening remarks ].

South African Biodiversity Institute 2023/24 annual performance plan

Mr Shonisani Munzhedzi, Chief Executive Officer (CEO), South African Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), laid out SANBI's role in supporting the Scientific Authority, and what the functions of the Scientific Authority were.

Key SANBI priorities for 2023/24 were

• Repositioning of the National Zoological Gardens

Repositioning for enhanced contributions to conservation, research, recreation, tourism, and education; awareness of the fight against illegal wildlife trade; infrastructure development and upgrades; public private partnerships (PPPs); management contracts for the business side of the Zoo; keeping of iconic species; and partnerships with welfare groups for enhanced animal welfare.

• Financial sustainability

Implementation of the SANBI financial sustainability strategy.

• Environmental programmes

Job creation through biodiversity services infrastructure maintenance; and the Presidential youth employment initiative, Groen Sebenza.

• Green Energy water conservation

As part of SANBI’s commitment towards an expandable energy programme, the promotion of green building practices, and water conservation, SANBI would develop and implement a Green Energy water conservation strategy implementation plan.

• Transformation

A transformation charter had been developed to achieve a socio-culturally diverse workforce across the institute to guide the implementation of the sustainable transformation action plan.

Mr Munzhedzi said key SANBI priorities involving decision support would see SANBI operationalising its High Level Panel (HLP) implementation plan to amplify and support the panel's recommendations. Working with the DFFE on regulatory matters, scientific support would be provided on the protection of ecosystems and species, eradicating alien invasive species, wildlife trade decision support, and the fight against illegal wildlife trade.

In strategic water source areas (SWSAs), SANBI was committee to develop a framework to support mainstreaming SWSAs into municipal planning decision-making contributions to district development models (DDMs). Targets in this regard would prioritise capacity building for municipalities within the selected SWSAs. Other policy advice product targets had been developed to include SWSAs, natural capital accounting (NCA) foundational data, critical biodiversity areas, ecological support areas, investment in ecological infrastructure, environmental management land use, planning biodiversity stewardship, and natural resource management.

It would strengthen SANBI’s role in marine coastal biodiversity research by conducting a needs assessment on capacity funding. Strategic interventions on biological invasions would include mapping, risk analyses, compliance, enforcement and implementation of the alien invasive species (AIS) strategy.

International obligations included science-based strategic support to the DFFE on biodiversity-related conventions/ protocols/ agreements.

Key risks facing the SANBI included:

• Loss of biodiversity in living collections due to the impact of climate change, invasive alien species or overutilisation of national botanical and zoological gardens for commercial uses/events, resulting in landscape degradation and an impact on animal health;
• Donors/funders withdrawing their funding due to the economic downturn;
• Revenue growth lagging behind costs growth, and limited initiatives to grow own revenue, resulting in an inability to meet all operational requirements;
• Inability to achieve a clean audit;
• The negative impact of continuous electricity supply challenges and municipal water supply restrictions affecting SANBI operations and income generation potential;
• Inability to attract and retain critical skills and to deliver on SANBI’s strategic plan and mandate.

Mr Munzhedzi gave details of SANBI's budgeted income, which amounted to R1.059 billion. This would be matched by the entity's budgeted spending allocations.

[Please see the presentation for the details.]


Ms H Winkler (DA) asked about the White Paper on Conservation and the Sustainable Use of South Africa’s biodiversity, and how that interacted with the game meat strategy. She also asked how the White Paper interacted with the recommendations of the HLP, which called for a phasing-out of the captive lion industry. There had been a call from the Department for stakeholders to participate in discussing voluntary exit strategies, but what would happen with those owners in the industry, for example, who did not want to exit voluntarily -- how did all of that interact with the White Paper?

Mr N Paulsen (EFF) asked about alien invasive species on terrestrial water bodies and rivers, which led to an increase in water lost through transpiration and evaporation, and a reduction in the water runoff of rivers. With the responsibility to clear invasive species, what had been budgeted for that activity, and what long-term strategy was there for the alien invasive species?

Mr D Bryant (DA) observed that the Botanical Society (BotSoc) had worked with South African gardeners for over 120 years. As part of the BotSoc membership, free entry to South African gardens had been granted to those members. The Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, in particular, had many active BotSoc members who were able to have free access due to their membership. There were also those with a lifetime membership, which cost “in excess of thousands of rands”, which many people had invested in to ensure they had access to those gardens for the rest of their lives. The Committee had been informed that SANBI had decided to cancel those memberships. It provided existing members with an opportunity to extend their membership by one year. He recalled that the cut-off date was the end of March 2023, but after that date, those memberships would no longer qualify those members to have free access to the gardens. Firstly, that would drive down the number of BotSoc members, because many people had signed up with the expectation that they would have that free access, but all they would receive now was a 10% discount on entrance fees. Secondly, there were people with lifetime memberships who were very confused as to the way forward. These were people who had invested thousands of rands in those memberships with the expectation that they would have free access in perpetuity. He asked SANBI why that decision had been made. It had exceeded its revenue target of 1.2 million visitors, and its latest figure was 1.3 million visitors. SANBI was not short of people coming through the gate. Why had it made the decision that had effectively “disillusioned” many traditional visitors to the gardens, and effectively broken that trust between SANBI, the Botanical Society, and those members? Did SANBI plan to reimburse people who had memberships until now?

The Chairperson asked for clarity about the Scientific Authority that had been established. Was it a permanent structure transcending government administration, or did the Minister appoint it for a particular tenure? What were the key scientific studies that the Scientific Authority was considering? Alternatively, what were the programmes that it was busy with at the moment? Scientific publications had been one of the key performance indicators in SANBI, and it was probably there in other entities.

He had a question about the Groen Sebenza internship programme -- did SANBI monitor the progress of young, black interns who published with senior scientists from SANBI, to see if there was growth and progress over time? What methods did SANBI use to monitor their growth into full-time scientists?

SANBI’s response

Mr Munzhedzi referred to the White Paper on Sustainable Use, and said that SANBI, either through the Scientific Authority or through SANBI itself, always played a critical role. It did biodiversity management plans for species. It focused on a number of species, whether it was lion, elephant, leopard, etc. Depending on the species, it would reflect on whether the survival of the species in the wild was compromised by any activity, which was why it referred to “non-detrimental findings” that came in. However, it did not stop SANBI from providing advisory services from a scientific perspective in terms of the trends and analyses that were provided. The Department was facilitating that programme.

He agreed with Mr Paulsen that invasive alien species were regarded as one of the five key drivers of biodiversity loss, alongside pollution, land use and/or land degradation, climate change and others. Investment in that space was critical to ensure that long-term solutions were found. SANBI’s “45 risks analysis”, which it did annually, looked at species that created concerning pathways. The details of that risk analysis would be provided by one of Mr Muzhedzi’s colleagues, Ms Carmel Mbizvo, Head: Biodiversity Science Policy Advice.

On the Groen Sebenza programme, he observed that SANBI ran the programme in a methodological way. It assigned mentors to specific interns, to avoid what the Chairperson had been talking about. There was a tracking system, and a monitoring programme that SANBI was setting up. It would be checking on issues the Chairperson raised to ensure progress and growth. The first instalment of the programme had a number of young people finding their space in the sector. Young people did not have to be with SANBI, but in the sector broadly, including in provinces and other management sectors. It also set up an incubation programme, where mentors were trained on how to incubate interns properly to ensure growth. Interns were not “left hanging,” and were not simply “thrown out there”.

Ms Mbizvo said that regarding alien invasive species, SANBI’s key responsibility was monitoring the impact of the invasives. That was done through its Status of Biological Invasives report produced every three years. That allowed it to monitor the impact, and to identify and detect any new invasions. It had regional programmes that were focused on that within the provinces. The risk analysis was also key for SANBI, and was about the impacts of the invasions. Building up the capacity to conduct those risk analyses was a key component of SANBI’s work. It was reflected in its annual reporting within its APP, under the target of the number of risk analyses conducted. It was also working with the Department on a strategy for responding to the findings of the Biological Invasions Status Report, which had come out with a number of findings and recommendations.

Responding on the Scientific Authority, she said it was the Minister of the DFFE who appointed members to the Scientific Authority Committee. It comprised representatives from each province and a representative from South African National Parks (SANParks). SANBI’s role was to provide administrative, logistical, and secretarial support for the Authority. Another key role was to support the Scientific Authority by conducting research and providing the necessary evidence to support the Minister in carrying out her decisions. Additionally, SANBI’s role was to support the monitoring of illegal trade. Many of the studies conducted were focused on particular areas where species were threatened due to illegal trade. A key example that SANBI focused on was the illegal trade in succulents.

On the BotSoc membership, Mr Munzhedzi said that SANBI had introduced a new system that worked on a 90/10 framework in terms of the ratio, which meant a 10% discount on entrance fees. That was applicable, as SANBI was working on the new loyalty membership programme that SANBI would run. It could not say that it would be similar to what SANParks had, but SANBI was looking at various options – there were third parties involved in that. It still maintained its relationship with the BotSoc for many joint programmes and for strategic reasons, most of which were aligned with the purpose for which the BotSoc was established. There would still be joint programmes that SANBI would be working on. It had worked together on such programmes up until the present.

Regarding lifetime members, in the new arrangement that SANBI had with the BotSoc, it had been agreed that the arrangement with the 450-plus lifetime members would be honoured.

SANBI had also looked at the issue of volunteers – it had a lot of volunteers that came via the BotSoc, specifically in support of the work in the gardens. Most of the propagation work was done by volunteers. Those volunteers would still enter free to the gardens to do that work, and would work with SANBI teams in the programmes that it had agreed upon. SANBI interacted with volunteers beyond horticultural and related matters. Many volunteers came to the herbarium. Most of the pressing and what went into the files to support foundational science, was done in partnership. Such volunteers could also enter the gardens for free.

Changes to membership had been effected in partnership and in consultation with members. SANBI appreciated the concerns raised. It had made arrangements with the lifetime members, and with the volunteers coming in. There was the 90/10 arrangement, and the loyalty membership model that was coming. There were also continuous partnerships on programmatic approaches, some of which would be to raise funding for specific aspects and programmes that would be done in partnership with the BotSoc. There was an open channel that SANBI had established to continue to work with the BotSoc.

Mr Elliot Mashile, Chief Operations Officer (COO), SANBI, added that the relationship between the BotSoc and its members was between the BotSoc and its members, so if anybody wanted to claim refunds, they would not claim it from SANBI, because people had contractual obligations with the BotSoc. SANBI would honour the lifetime members, and it had requested a list of such members, so that SANBI could transfer them into its database, and those members could still enjoy their free access.

Ms Skumsa Ntshanga, Chief Director: Biodiversity Management and Permitting, DFFE, reminded Members that the Department appeared had before the Committee in January and had presented comprehensively on lions, including its approach to policy and a legislative review, as well as the work that was currently underway which was being managed by the ministerial task team that the Minister had appointed. The Department presented a comprehensive overview of what had been done.

On the linkages and relationship between the White Paper, the game meat strategy, and the work on lions,  the White Paper was adopted by the Cabinet two weeks ago. It focused primarily on the four goals related to conservation and sustainable use, access and benefit-sharing, and transformation. A White Paper was a broad policy direction. It provided a strategic thrust to the rest of the work of the Department and the sector as far as issues related to biodiversity, conservation and sustainable use. All subsequent work of the Department would now be informed by the White Paper.

Members would also recall that in previous engagements with the Department, there had been an indication that the policy position, which would speak more specifically to the issues relating to the four species that the HLP considered, had to be put in abeyance pending the finalisation of the White Paper. Now that Cabinet had finalised and approved the White Paper, the Department would proceed with further developing that policy position. All matters relating to lions, outside of what the current ministerial task team was charged with, would then be covered in that policy position, which also included the Department’s work on the game meat strategy. It had to put the brakes on that, pending the White Paper, so the game meat strategy could now proceed in earnest. The Department would also ensure that it was completely aligned with the strategic task of the White Paper.

Follow-up discussion

Mr Bryant was pleased to hear that lifetime BioSoc members would at least get some sort of reprieve for their long commitment and close relationship with the garden. Unfortunately, it was not the same for existing members. Mr Munzhedzi had said that the issue of lifetime membership had nothing to do with SANBI, and must be sorted out between the BotSoc and its members. That was a “disingenuous” comment since the cancellation of the agreement came from SANBI’s side -- it did not come from BotSoc's side. While there might be an issue with the finances, and the finances changing hands between the members and the Botanical Society, it was not a decision that BotSoc had taken, but it was the one that had been left to deal with the potential financial fallout. He observed that SANBI had mentioned the decision about the 90/10 ratio. What was the reason behind cancelling the existing status quo? What was the problem, and what was not working? As far as he could understand, there was a system in place that was working, and was encouraging membership of the BotSoc, which was helping to grow its members. It was providing a service, and it was not having a massive impact on the revenue of SANBI. What was wrong with the existing membership system that it had to be cancelled and “thrown into jeopardy”? It seemed like that decision had done far more harm than good.

Ms Winkler observed that a Department official had said that the game meat strategy would closely align with the White Paper for Sustainable Use. How did one trade off the increased call for global conservation mechanisms to protect biodiversity, for example, with the Biodiversity Conservation Treatise, and the fact that there seemed to be a push for the wholesale commodification of wildlife in South Africa via the game meat strategy? She struggled to understand how those two seemingly opposing principles could mesh.

She then asked about the recent export of 12 cheetahs to India. With the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) permit issued, according to the non-detrimental findings (NDF) from 2015, it recommended that any export of the species would be detrimental. How was it then that the export was approved, considering that the 2021 NDF was only a draft, and had not gone out for public consultation yet? On what basis were those 12 cheetahs exported since the 2021 NDF? The process had not been concluded yet.

SANBI’s Response

Mr Munzhedzi took it that the Department would be able to reflect on Ms Winkler’s question.

On the issue of the BotSoc, he underscored that SANBI and the BotSoc were “not enemies”. The two would continue to work together. The arrangement that SANBI and the BotSoc had had previously, and even the memorandum of understanding (MOU) that the two had, was reviewed every two years. That review had come to the point of changing the fees model, hence his mention of the 90/10 ratio. There would still be another review in the future. On the BotSoc lifetime members, he said the context changed over time, but he did not want to go into the details of the framing of the arrangement of members who would pay the BotSoc, after which BotSoc would keep the money, and members would come into the gardens for free. The BotSoc would support 10% of what it had collected. The BotSoc would then come to SANBI, and keep 90%, and then the BotSoc would decide which programmes to support. Of course, there were a number of problems to support, and the BotSoc would decide which programmes to support, and the amount of financial support.

SANBI and the BotSoc continued to work together. The BotSoc did a lot in supporting expanded public works programmes (EPWPs), and the additional workers who came in through that. An example was the programme which involved the custodianship of endangered wildflowers. When SANBI started working on the new membership loyalty programme, it had implications for the current arrangement. Hence “protracted” negotiations had resulted, coming to where SANBI and the BotSoc were currently, while maintaining the relationship. The members who volunteered would continue to volunteer; there was an arrangement for that. Lifetime members would still come into the gardens for free. Every Tuesday was an open day for all senior citizens in SANBI gardens, where people could enter for free. There were many opportunities for interacting with the gardens, and SANBI valued its relationships with customers, visitors, and others who came in. It also had various partners – it considered those who volunteered with SANBI as partners in the process and the BotSoc. The BotSoc would continue to be a partner. SANBI had a membership loyalty programme in development, while it still kept the 90/10 ratio.

Every two years, SANBI would review where it was, what was working, and what was not working. It would keep making adjustments to its strategy. It was not a journey that it was doing, with SANBI on one side and the BotSoc on the other side. He wanted to emphasise that in partnership with the BotSoc, SANBI had assigned teams to work on joint programmes. Some programmes would be related to marketing and commercialisation, to support the work in gardens, and some would be programmatic, to support specific programmes. SANBI had an understanding that its current membership model was the one it wanted to follow. There could be future issues with members, and both parties would have to work hard to explain the new arrangement, and how best to leverage the new membership model for the loyalty programme when it arrived. Simultaneously, SANBI would also maintain the other aspects he had spoken about. Nobody would be left exposed, legally or otherwise.

Mr Bryant asked a follow-up question, commenting that he was starting to get towards an answer to his question. What he had gleaned so far was that the reason that the existing membership level had been cancelled was because there was a level of discretion that the BotSoc had, in terms of where it invested that money into projects. Clearly, the SANBI did not trust the BotSoc to invest that properly, otherwise, there would not be an issue with it. He did not know how SANBI could then say that it had a great working relationship with the BotSoc if it was not trusting it in terms of its discretionary spend. Was that the central issue, or was there another reason as well? He was still struggling to see the main reason and why the lifetime membership model had been cancelled. He did not see the problem and why the status quo had not been retained. There was also the collateral that followed from that decision being taken by SANBI.

Mr Munzhedzi replied that he did not intend to say there was mistrust between SANBI and the BotSoc. Regarding the level of discretion, SANBI was talking about numbers. The new system, through the loyalty programme, would apply to everyone. One did not necessarily need to be a member of the BotSoc to be able to participate in the loyalty programme. It was something that SANBI would continue to work on. He was not presenting any aspect of the BotSoc numbers that day in terms of analysis and what it meant, the arrangement that was, and the new arrangement that was coming. There were a lot of dependencies in the process, hence the two-year review. In the review, SANBI and the BotSoc had come to agree on the 90/10 ratio. That level of trust remained. The discretionary aspect, as it related to whatever it would be if the membership process operated the way it was, even within the context of 90/10, would still apply. The BotSoc was an independent organisation, and SANBI respected it for that. SANBI would work with the BotSoc. It would intensify its relationship programmatically. While he did not go into the exact details of the figures related to the new membership model, he assured Members that all of it was done to ensure that SANBI continued to provide the services it needed in botanical gardens in a way that aligned with its mandate. If there were certain “glaring” issues in the next review, then SANBI would deal with them and pick up on issues as they went along, not just during review periods. Resolving issues would be something that involves all stakeholders, including the BotSoc. It was an open system, without acrimony.

Mr Bryant felt he would not get the answer he was looking for, because he did not think it existed. He felt that changing the membership model was a “bad decision” that had “broken down trust” between SANBI and the BotSoc members, regardless of what was being put forward. He had spoken to members who were very disillusioned about what had taken place. He wanted to place on record that he thought it was the wrong decision, and he sincerely hoped that it would be reconsidered at some stage.

The Chairperson said that if the Members were to make a follow-up, they would get a written response from SANBI. He confessed that SANBI’s response in the meeting was “not really satisfactory.”

Ms Winkler was still waiting for a response on the export of the cheetahs, as well as the conflicting principles regarding biodiversity conservation and commodification.

Mr Munzhedzi asked the Department to respond to Ms Winkler’s question. He referred back to Mr Bryant’s question, and said that tradeoffs needed to be made. He was not presenting the details of the figures and what they meant in comparison, as well as the projections. All those things had been done, and SANBI had found that the costs it had taken, in partnership or in consultation with the BotSoc, were the best under the current circumstances. As SANBI moved forward, whatever came out of the new model, and the reviews it would keep on doing as part of its agreement, it would make adjustments as it moved along, if adjustments were required. Considering the financial tradeoffs in the whole process, SANBI felt that the decision taken was proper under the current circumstances.

The Chairperson suggested that Mr Bryant put his question in writing, and then the Committee could get a comprehensive response from SANBI on the matter of the BotSoc.

Mr Bryant agreed. He felt his question was simple – he was asking for a specific breakdown of the exact reasons for cancelling the existing membership agreement between the BotSoc and SANBI.

Mr Munzhedzi agreed to respond in writing, and said that the response would include the financial model as it stands currently. Such a model would also include the background of the relationship between SANBI and the BotSoc, and where it was headed.

The Chairperson asked how soon a written response could be provided, and Mr Munzhedzi said that SANBI could respond in ten days. The Chairperson agreed with that timeframe, and asked for the response to be forwarded to the Secretary of the Portfolio Committee.

DFFE’s response

Ms Ntshanga said that she would try to respond as fully as possible to the questions, but she felt that the work on some of them, especially the game meat strategy, was being coordinated within another Chief Directorate within the Department. Indeed, the Department received a number of comments on the draft game meat strategy when it was published for public participation some time last year. Some concerns were related to the fact that the strategy could see a wholesale commodification of biological resources. That was one of the elements being tightened up by the Department before it finalised the strategy. It did not want to “kill the goose that lays the golden egg”. Part of that review was also informed by the global biodiversity framework (GBF) agreed upon in December 2022, which was part of the CITES Conference of the Parties (COP) decisions. Under the Minister's guidance, the Department had agreed that the White Paper was a mechanism to implement the GBF. The Department was geared towards implementing those resolutions at a global level. It ensured that at a national level, it would implement the 23 targets of the GBF, as framed in the White Paper, which had been approved. In revising the game meat strategy, the Department ensured that it would strengthen the conservation aspect, in line with the spirit and the ethos of the White Paper.

On the permitting matters related to the export of cheetahs, the Minister had already responded to a question from Ms Winkler. The Department could make that response from the Minister available to the Committee. There were many considerations, including guidance from the Scientific Authority, which the Department relied upon. There were many considerations, and those were detailed in the response by the Minister.

The Chairperson asked Ms Winkler if her question had been answered.

Ms Winkler replied that she was cognisant of the fact that there was a draft response by the Minister, but what she could not understand was that if the Scientific Authority had advised on the NDF that informed the export of certain species, especially Appendix 1 species, how it was that cheetahs had been exported, despite the fact that the only NDF South Africa could currently use legally was the 2015 one? With the 2021 NDF, the process had not been followed to its conclusion, and public consultation had not taken place yet. She did not understand how the export of the cheetahs had been legally approved, considering the 2015 NDF.

Ms Ntshanga indicated that there were many considerations where the Scientific Authority gave the Department guidance. The Department had also considered the 2020 NDF, and the population viability analysis, which had been conducted, and was dated October 2022. Those were amongst many other scientific documents that had been considered. The decision was made on the basis of the best available information.

South African Weather Service: Annual Performance Plan 2023/24

Ms Feziwe Renqe, Board Chairperson, South African Weather Service (SAWS), said that through the development and provision of innovative meteorological solutions, the generation of new scientific insights in atmospheric and related sciences, the optimisation of infrastructure and provision of quality data, the entity intended to contribute towards the vision of improved quality of life for all in South Africa. She introduced the SAWS APP for the 2023/2024 financial year.

She was accompanied by Mr Itani Phaduli, Board Deputy Chairperson; Mr Ishaam Abader, CEO (who would be presenting the APP); Mr Norman Mzizi, Chief Financial Officer (CFO) (who would also be presenting the APP); Dr Jonas Mphepya, Executive: Weather Services; Ms Petro Dekker, Executive: Corporate Services; and Mr Mnikeli Ndabambi, Executive: Infrastructure and Information Systems.

She said the effects of global warming continued to increase extreme weather effects, with undesirable and devastating effects. In the Global Risk Report (GRR) of 2022, extreme weather was highlighted as one of the most severe risks on a global scale over the next ten years. Through the implementation of impact-based weather forecasting, SAWS continued to provide impact-based service weather warnings to the public to assist with mitigating the associated impacts. The provision of that service assisted disaster management authorities to coordinate responses, and mitigate the forecasted undesirable impacts.

SAWS remained in recovery mode due to the well-documented “hammering” it took in the wake of the economic slump that followed the Covid-19 pandemic. Optimal productivity of the entity was reliant on sufficient availability of financial resources to enable and support its functions. As such, SAWS was actively improving its revenue generation through, among others, mobilising funds from external funders in the form of fees generated through different projects and organisations. Those collaborations enabled the entity to perform research in various weather and climate fields, and increased the reputation of SAWS’ scientific prowess.

The APP and the operational plans would be delivered in an environment characterised by a financial fiscus. Prioritisation of projects was the order of business under those constraints. Despite the fiscal challenges, the effective discharge of SAWS could not be compromised. As such, efforts to obtain and command a fit-for-purpose infrastructure would continue through optimal maintenance, and upgrade of infrastructure and information systems.

Notwithstanding the country's electricity challenges in the form of loadshedding, SAWS was obligated to ensure the effective discharge of its mandate, which was heavily reliant on an operational remote sensing observational infrastructure and information systems. To that end, the entity would implement its soon-to-be-approved infrastructure sustainability plan, which outlined the expansion, automation, and modernisation endeavours, emphasising alternative power solutions for its observation networks. This much-needed contemporary observation infrastructure would enable the entity to improve the provision of timeous and quality meteorological information to protect lives and property in South Africa.

The priorities of SAWS for 2023/24 were:

Infrastructure sustainability plan

To strengthen SAWS as the designated authoritative voice for issuing warnings relating to hydrometeorological and air quality-related hazards, there was a need to upgrade the entity’s technical and technological infrastructure and human resources capabilities.

Load-shedding presented challenges for the optimal performance of observations infrastructure, leading to breakdowns, inadequate quality of data from infrastructure, and operational targets not being achieved. SAWS has developed an infrastructure sustainability plan that outlines the proposed expansion, automation and modernisation/upgrade of the current surface observation networks to restore and maintain optimal infrastructure operation. This plan envisages SAWS commanding a fit-for-purpose observations infrastructure that would enable the provision of reliable, timely, and accurate forecasts and warnings on weather-related events and for subsequent better assessment of the horizontal and vertical structure of the atmosphere, especially during the occurrence of tropical cyclones and deep mesoscale convective systems such as thunderstorms and tornadoes. The plan also addresses the need for advanced telecommunication systems to transmit data from remote stations and for fast dissemination of forecasts and warnings to the public and national, regional, and international data end users.

The infrastructure sustainability plan encompasses the dual polarisation upgrades of the S-band radars, and the modernisation and replacement of the C-band radars. Further, the plan seeks to address peripheral systems and infrastructure such as installing automatic voltage regulators (AVRs), diesel generators' bulk fuel tanks, acquiring diesel bowsers for various sites, and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems for power stability.

One of SAWS’ areas of improvement was “measures to minimise the impact of loadshedding on infrastructure availability”, where the measure to be implemented was implementing an infrastructure sustainability plan that considers alternative energy usage to reduce the impact of load-shedding.

Alignment with government priorities

Air pollution, alongside climate change, was one of the biggest environmental threats to human health. SAWS would contribute to the success of this envisaged new economy through effective monitoring of air quality in the Vaal Triangle air shed priority area, the Highveld priority area, the
Waterberg Bojanala priority area, and air quality forecasting.

Priorities in the development agenda

Improving the functionality of the National Ambient Air Quality Monitoring Network would contribute to ensuring data availability for research purposes and the management of air quality by the regulatory authorities. Priorities included management tools being developed to contribute toward reducing air pollution levels affecting the health of people in the priority areas, and a better quality of life for citizens in the surrounding communities, and the implementation of the SAWS studentship programme.

[Please see the presentation for the details.]


Mr Norman Mzizi, Chief Financial Officer (CFO), presented the financials. He said the SAWS government grant had been converted from capital expenditure (capex) to operating expenses (opex). If one looked at the government opex grant, it was around R200 million. If one compared that grant to the expenditure, one could see that the expenditure on employees was R290 million. The government opex grant was insufficient for SAWS to meet its total expenditure, so it had to convert part of its capex to opex. That was not a sustainable situation. SAWS wanted to thank the Department and the National Treasury (NT) that in 2023/24, and 2024/25, the government's opex grant had increased from R200 million to R300 million, and to R352 million in 2024/25. That had been done so that SAWS did not have to convert the much-needed money for infrastructure into opex. However, if one looked at the situation in 2025/26, the government opex grant would go down to R232 million. The 2025/26 year would be a year that would be challenging for SAWS in terms of financial sustainability. With revenue turnaround strategies, and implementing cost containment measures, SAWS expected that those results would assist it in that year.

Over the medium-term expenditure framework (MTEF) period, if one looked at the figures for 2023/24, the total revenue would be R692 million. In 2022/23, SAWS had a total expenditure of R463 million, depreciation and amortisation of R39 million, and about R74 million used for capex. In 2023/24, the total revenue would be R692 million, and R191 million that would be used for capex in the much-needed areas of infrastructure and turnaround strategies.

Mr Abader covered priority areas such as loadshedding, infrastructure, computing and staff. The staff would be covered under the employee cost, because SAWS intended to attract and retain skilled people during the MTEF period.

When looking at the MTEF figures for the next two years, which were 2023/24 and 2024/25, SAWS would be covered regarding the funds it would need for capex. However, when one looks at the year 2025/26, there might be a challenge, because the government opex grant would have decreased to R200 million. SAWS expected that the situation would improve in terms of the commercial grant.

With commercial income, one could see, for example, that if one looked at aviation income, it would be R108 million for 2023/24, going up to R128 million in 2024/25, and to R140 million in 2025/26. That meant that with the situation post-Covid-19 regarding aviation income, SAWS expected it to recover in 2024/25.

[Please see the presentation for the details.]


Ms A Weber (DA) thanked SAWS for its presentation, describing it as a far better presentation compared to 2019. She saw the planning, laws and policies implemented, and the code of conduct. She liked the code of conduct, and wanted to know if SAWS had finished the code, and had started to implement it. One of the biggest issues was enforcing the work done on paper. SAWS had realigned things well with what government had said, but it was on paper. She suggested that the Committee come back and see if all of those things were implemented, and if they were working. SAWS mentioned it was supporting sustainable farmers – how did it do that?

SAWS had mentioned aerodrome warnings, and its target was 98%. Were there aerodromes in every province, or in every municipality? How were SAWS using the aerodromes, or was it moving to a place where there was already space for aerodromes to go? How many aerodromes were there in the country? For her, reaching a target of 98% would probably require SAWS to be all over the country, and was that the case? For the indicator, “Percentage availability of Automatic Weather Stations infrastructure,” the target was 85%. Where was SAWS currently, because its weather stations needed to be measured? For her, that was “quite high.” Where was SAWS currently, so the Committee could measure from where SAWS would need to go to reach 85%?

SAWS had also spoken about how the air quality status was 80%. That had been a continuous problem for her, including the criteria. Where did SAWS decide to do the air monitoring? Every time she asked that question, she got an answer saying that SAWS did not have a weather station in a particular area, and that an area was not a part of what SAWS did. If SAWS was responsible for air quality, should the criteria not be to prioritise going to areas with very bad air quality, such as in the Highveld priority areas? That area had a major impact on South Africa’s weather, its air pollution, and many other things. Why were the heavily polluted areas not on the South African Air Quality Information System (SAAQIS), and why was SAWS not monitoring those as well?

With communication, there was the issue of information not going to the right people, and Ms Weber encouraged SAWS to work on that, because, in South Africa, that was “a must.” SAWS talked about meteorology, and she asked if it had been working with the MeerKAT telescope in the Northern Cape. That group also did research and related activities. If SAWS was not working with the MeerKAT, then that was a suggestion of people who would be able to assist SAWS.

Ms Weber was very concerned about supply chain management (SCM), and could see that SAWS had worked on it since 2019. SCM training of the bid committees was something that had to be established. She understood that it was something that was continuous, in that there was a personnel turnaround, and SAWS had to continue doing that. SCM, in general, was in such a place that it needed to already be compliant, with people adhering to everything that needed to be adhered to. She was concerned that “we still have not arrived at that within three to four years.” By when would SCM be functional and compliant?

Mr Paulsen said the Committee had spoken with SAWS about weather stations being affected by load-shedding for a number of years. He asked if SAWS could give the Committee a concrete plan about what was being done, because it was critical that those weather stations, especially the ones that assisted South African aviation, were not affected.

The previous day, there had been fog cover in Cape Town, resulting in many flights being rerouted to George. Flights from Johannesburg to the Eastern Cape had to be rerouted due to fog cover. Was that as a result of the failures of weather stations? There was “complete chaos” in George because of the rerouting of flights due to fog cover. He imagined those were the sort of matters that could be circumvented through the services offered by SAWS.

Ms Winkler referred to the air quality monitoring stations reported on the SAAQIS website. She asked if raw data was represented on the site, or processed information, where specific pollutants were reflected on the website. For example, she had looked at the data for Ethekwini on the SAAQIS website two evenings ago and saw that the air quality was very poor. In instances where one had anomalous air quality incidents happening consistently, was there any communication with compliance and enforcement in the Department with the varying bodies in the province, such as the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA), for example? How was that information carried through so that something could actually be done about the poor air quality?

With climate change impacts that were likely to increase in frequency, especially when it came to droughts and other extreme weather, the impact on the agricultural sector and food security, as well as the availability of water, was going to become increasingly important. How was information from SAWS on "meteorological-related solutions provided to meet user needs" going to be used in a way that was useful to various sectors? It was something that SAWS was considering, but what kind of ideal plan did it have in mind, so that one could foresee those extreme weather events and how they would have an impact, so that those sectors could then prepare well in advance? What was its plan to ensure information was effectively conveyed to the relevant stakeholders?

Mr M Dlamini (ANC) observed that most SAWS weather stations were in urban areas. Was there a plan to decentralise the stations to the rural areas? If one checked the affected areas, most of the time, when they got the least warning, it was the rural areas. Did SAWS have a plan to make sure that rural areas could at least be able to get weather stations in those areas?

There were challenges regarding the prediction of the weather. Mr Dlamini asked for the plans that could deal with key risk management. Risk management was based on available data. How best could SAWS have a sustainable plan? The second issue was the timeframe for analysing the data. The longer SAWS took more time to analyse data, the more “events were taking us out” because of the climate change that was taking place.

On the complexity of weather events taking place, he asked what plan was in place to mitigate or ensure that SAWS was able to optimise the turnaround time on that matter, and on the other matters that he had raised.

The Chairperson observed that SAWS had identified loadshedding as one of the challenges regarding its infrastructure sustainability plan. The solution was the implementation of the infrastructure sustainability plan. What would the details of that entail in terms of loadshedding? How would SAWS ensure that it did not come to the Committee at the end of the period to tell it that the radar availability was affected by loadshedding?

SAWS’ response

Mr Abader said that SAWS had already developed its code of conduct. As far as he was aware, it had been work-shopped with SAWS’ staff members. It was already being implemented, and staff were already aware of the requirements. With enforcement, if there were any infringements of the code of conduct, SAWS dealt with them definitively.

On sustainable support to farmers, SAWS did seasonal forecasts. In other words, it predicted what was going to happen in the seasons that were still to come. That allowed the farmers and the agricultural sector to plan for their crops, and how they dealt with crop rotation, planting, etc.

Aerodrome warnings were linked to South African airports. Every airport had aerodrome warnings. It also related to Mr Paulsen’s comment regarding the fog. Before any planes could land or take off, they looked to the weather service to provide weather data that would allow them to land. That was probably the reason flights were rerouted to another airport. Fog was a natural phenomenon, so some occurred quite quickly, and one had to make alternative plans. Some phenomena could not necessarily be predicted that easily.

He said the automatic weather station availability was at around 80%. Over the last two quarters, SAWS was heavily impacted by loadshedding. The difficulty was that some equipment did not automatically start up, even if the power came on. One had to allow the machines time to recalibrate. Some machines took half an hour, some an hour, and some two hours. Once that happened, one usually had one or two hours of measurement, and then there was load-shedding again, especially at the heightened levels of load-shedding. SAWS had done a report on weather station availability for its board. It was not looking good for the past quarter.

For the SAAQIS, SAWS did the air quality monitoring in conjunction with the DFFE, and did prioritise the areas with poor air quality. The priority areas would be the Vaal area, because of steel manufacturing, etc., that happened in that area, and also the Highveld area, which was regarded as one of the major pollutant areas. It was only in the Bojanala area where monitoring was done proactively in response to what was going to happen there. The Bojanala area had been identified as a potential area with more air quality issues. That was the reason those three areas, in particular, had been identified as priority air quality areas.

On SAWS communications, it looked at its strategies to see how it could improve its dissemination of weather information.

Mr Abader thanked Ms Weber for her suggestion on the MeerKAT. SAWS was working with the South African National Space Agency (SANSA). It also collaborated with various state entities, such as the Agricultural Research Council (ARC) and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), on various collaborative projects, so that SAWS enhanced its offering in that regard.

He said SAWS had come a long way in SCM, particularly over the last few years. It had sorted its governance issues out. If Members looked at SAWS’ previous audits, they would see that compared to the previous years, there had not been issues raised concerning supply chain management – and it was hoped it would be the case with the current audit. For now, if SAWS was to look at its most recent audit, it would appear to be “fairly functional and compliant.”

Mr Abader responded on the critical weather stations and those related to aviation, and said the targets were very high, and those targets were set. The targets were in excess of what was required in terms of the international standard. SAWS prioritised those stations for continuous maintenance because it was a safety issue. With those weather stations, if something went wrong at a particular airport, SAWS attended to them as a matter of urgency and emergency, because it would imply that if such stations were not functional, it could impact the lives of people flying in or out of a particular airport.

Air quality monitoring happened in conjunction with the Department. He understood that the measurements were taken in particular areas, consolidated, and then put on the app concerning the overall air quality for that particular area or region. He did not think it was raw data that was entered into the SAAQIS -- it was definitely processed. In terms of the monitoring points, there would be too many data points to put them up as raw data on the app.

On air quality and compliance in enforcement, it was something that SAWS did in conjunction with the DFFE and its air quality section. If anomalies were found, the compliance and enforcement section was alerted. SAWS would investigate where the source point was for that particular area, whether someone should be charged, and whether there were possibilities of improving the situation based on the readings it was getting there.

SAWS agreed with Ms Winkler that the impact of climate change was more important than ever. SAWS had a Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS), which then fed into the National Framework for Climate Services for South Africa (NFCS-SA). That framework was meant to give guidance. SAWS did time series analyses of climate change and its impacts on the various sectors. The sectors would use that to inform what the future would look like. That also addressed Mr Dlamini’s question on what SAWS did with the weather events, and how it used that to predict future weather events. Those climate change services served to inform the sectors about what to expect, and then they would be able to act accordingly. For example, the El Niño southern oscillation would indicate whether South Africa would be getting drought or rain, depending on whether it was a La Niña or El Niño event. Sectors would then be able to plan accordingly.

On the weather stations and the rationale for placing them, he said many stations were in urban areas, but SAWS also had stations in some rural areas. The rationale for those was because of the climate data collected in those areas over time. There were several stations over the expanse of South Africa, and Mr Ndabambi would be able to indicate exactly which areas were covered in terms of that.

On the data and analysis of data, SAWS did that on a daily basis for South Africa’s immediate weather. SAWS looked at the data that came in from its various observation stations. It interpreted that data, but it also did a longer analysis of data, which linked specifically to its climate services and how it used that data for climate prediction and weather prediction.

Referring to the severe weather that South Africa had been having in terms of rain and flooding, for example, SAWS would use its data to inform planning. To give a concrete example, SAWS engages with the Department's working groups involved in environmental assessments, and planning as well. SAWS would indicate to it that there was a future risk of severe flooding in KZN. Whenever one is granted a certain environmental authorisation, one would have to take that into account in terms of planning, which was also disseminated to the provincial authorities.

On the sustainability plan, Mr Abader recalled that in the last meeting, the issue of the radars had come up. SAWS had developed a radar sustainability plan -- a short-term plan, which fed into the overall plan. The radar plan was ready, and SAWS saw that as a priority, but obviously it could not do all 13 of its radars immediately because of the related costs. He was talking about general upgrading, but SAWS prioritised its main radars regarding alternative energy. It had, for example, the Irene radar station, which was the priority for SAWS, so it would make sure that it had every sustainable alternative energy source, and it would deal with those stations in terms of their priority in terms of the information they gave SAWS, where they were located, and what that meant overall for the country in terms of severe weather. The sustainability plan for the radars had been developed already.

SAWS had other observational mechanisms that it also had plans for. Those plans were still a work in progress. However, it was going to implement some of the initiatives, which had already started. For example, the data logging initiative to get better connectivity was already in process. SAWS was just waiting for delivery of some of the equipment. In other instances, SAWS would have to phase it in over the next six to 12 months. In some instances where the plan talked about replacing a radar, that would be a  slightly longer-term project. He cautioned that while SAWS was doing that, it would still have poor performance from some of its infrastructure, but hopefully, by the end of the year, it would not have that. The procurement processes would take some time, and then SAWS had to ensure that its technicians got out to those various pieces of equipment. SAWS had about 200 weather stations. One had to go to each station and address the issues related to that particular station. One would also have to go to the 13 radars.

SAWS’ plan was sitting at 70 pages already, and it would finalise it shortly. It would then have a comprehensive plan for all of the infrastructure.

Mr Mnikeli Ndabambi, Executive: Infrastructure and Information Systems, SAWS, confirmed that the CEO was correct about the aerodrome warnings. Those were the warnings that SAWS gave at all of the airports, so that aircraft knew whether they could land or if they should not land. If aircraft landed, they would adjust their instruments accordingly. SAWS would also advise whether flying was advised or not. Regarding the fog, he said it was predicted the previous day. The challenges related to the diversion were instrument problems. The instrument was called a runway visual range (RVR), which was an Airports Company South Africa (ACSA) instrument. If the instrument was working, the aircraft would be able to land.

He said the current infrastructure availability in the last quarter had been low. SAWS had calculated the number of hours without loadshedding, corresponding to the low availability. For example, SAWS’ radars in quarter four were at 31.3%, which was the lowest ever, but with the lightning detection network, that was much better, and was at 83%. SAWS’ automatic weather stations were at 77%, and automatic rainfall stations were at 73%. The hardest impacted infrastructure was the radars. After load-shedding, they took time to stabilise.

There were few weather stations in the rural areas. SAWS tried to look for secure sites, because it was experiencing vandalism and theft. In the rural areas, it had identified schools, but now in the expansion plan, the area with the most gaps was the eastern half of the Eastern Cape, and also in the KZN interior. It would then expand into Limpopo, the North West, and the Northern Cape. All municipalities needed to have weather stations, because the impact-based warning system was assisted by the presence of those stations, including the flash flood guidance system. The priority was thus to look at those municipalities that did not have a weather station.

The plans to combat load-shedding contained an alternative source of energy. The radar operation was not only concerned with energy -- there was other supporting equipment that ensured the stability of the infrastructure. Another important aspect was an upgrade to a solid state transmitter. That was part of the dual polarisation. Dual polarisation meant that if the radar was scanning, and giving out a scan with a low resolution, one would see that it was a picture of a child. A high resolution scan would show that there was a nose, and eyes. Dual polarisation would give those details to the radar. In addition to that, it also allowed an upgrade of the radar to a solid state transmitter. If the radar was upgraded to a solid state transmitter, it would need less power than if one was using a diesel generator, for example. The transmitters that SAWS had currently cost about R2 million each to replace. Sometimes it took nine months for a piece of equipment to come from overseas. The upgraded equipment would be cheaper to replace. at R600 000 to R700 000 each, and would have a longer duration. That meant that if SAWS had solar energy, even if the power was not strong, if it had a solid state transmitter, that would not be a problem.

Dr Jonas Mphepya, Executive: Weather Services, SAWS responded to the question on the services that SAWS provided to the farming community. He said it first gave farmers the seven-day weather forecast. Before the onset of a season, it also provided a seasonal forecast. It was now winter, and SAWS would provide a seasonal forecast to farmers. Other services it provided was the seven-day fire danger index, which informed farmers of the likelihood of fire activities in their areas.

The climate service was a way of responding to the likelihood of climate change and its impact on agriculture and drought. The DFFE, together with the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI), had a coordinating structure that implemented the national climate service. The departments were also providing leadership with regard to strategic direction, and also in assisting with providing several products. The committee related to the coordinating structure consisted of other key sectors such as the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC), the ARC, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS), and the Water Research Council (WRC). SAWS produced a state of the climate report, which looked at trends and climate projections. It also provided forecasting as part of ensuring that the sector was aware of the likelihood of impact, and what response measures the sector should put in place.

Follow-up discussion

Ms Winkler wanted to ask if it was possible to access the raw data referred to. If so, where was it published, and if not, did she need to request it specifically?

Mr Abader replied that some of SAWS’ data was not publicly available. There were certain datasets that it did make available under certain circumstances, and it had a particular policy that addressed that. Some of the data was proprietary, and it used that for its commercial ventures. It depended on the type of data that one wanted to access, and whether it was publicly available or not. Based on that, SAWS would make a decision on whether to make it available or not. However, in some instances, particularly with students, it made certain datasets available to promote development in the meteorological and climate change space.

Ms Winkler said that with specific reference to the quality monitoring stations and the raw data that was most probably processed and then published on SAAQIS, was it possible to get more datasets that were coming from those equality stations, especially in problematic areas, or where there were anomalous air pollution events?

Mr Ndabambi replied that the data put on SAAQIS came from various service providers for municipalities. It was available on SAAQIS, and as raw data. In terms of accessibility, certain data could be accessed, but he did not have the details now. That data could be made available. It was actually the data that had been collected. SAWS encouraged all the service providers, the municipalities and the private sector to put the data on SAAQIS, and they put it on the system for free. He offered to provide written guidance on accessing the data to the Members.

Ms Winkler also asked how the Department ensured that there was no manipulation of raw data by municipalities and other stakeholders that had a vested interest in displaying data within the confines of legislation and did not reflect poorly on them. How did SAWS ensure that the data seen on the SAAQIS website was, in fact, a true and accurate reflection of the air quality in a specific area? Were there balances and checks to ensure that, or was it relying solely on harvesting information and publishing on SAAQIS, with no checks and balances?

Mr Abader said that if he recalled correctly, the provision of incorrect information carried a penalty. He said that if it was the case that one provided information and it was incorrect information, one ran the risk of being charged with fraud. If he recalled correctly, there had been one or two instances of that. There were indications that a certain entity had not given SAWS all the information, and if he was not mistaken, in that instance, the plant manager had, in fact, been charged criminally for that. The Department would have its own data verification, which it did on an ad hoc basis from a compliance perspective. If someone was willing to take the chance, they could probably give false information, but if caught, it would have implications, the least of which would be criminal sanctions against them.

Mr Ndabambi added that compliance and enforcement was the role of the Department. The Department looked at all matters that were related to enforcement.

Mr Tlou Ramaru, Acting Deputy Director-General (DDG): Climate Change, Air Quality and Sustainable Development, DFFE, asked if the Department could consult internally and provide a written response regarding the processes and ensuring that the data did not get manipulated.

The Chairperson said that the Committee would appreciate a written response.

Mr Abader referred to the Air Quality Act, specifically offences and penalties in terms of the Act, which said that a person was guilty of an offence if that person supplied false or misleading information in any application for an atmospheric emission licence. If a person supplied false or misleading information to an air quality officer, that person failed to comply with the conditions of the Act. The Act also said that a person operating as a controlled emitter was guilty of an offence if the emissions from that controlled emitter did not comply with the standards under section 24. If one had a listed activity, and one was performing that activity, one would be guilty of an offence if air pollutants at concentrations above the emission limits specified in the licence were emitted as a result of that activity. He felt the consequences for supplying false information would be covered adequately under chapter seven of the Air Quality Act.

The Chairperson said that clarified the matter of penalties and fines.

He thanked the Members for participating in the meeting. The people of South Africa had heard the views of SAWS on its APP, together with those of SANBI.

The Chairperson hoped to see all of the Members in the Eastern Cape that weekend, as the Committee did public hearings on the Climate Change Bill.

The meeting was adjourned.



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