The Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment met to receive oral submissions on the Climate Change Bill. During this meeting, five oral submissions were made. Submissions were made by the following organisations: UnPoison & SAOSO, Dear South Africa, Agricultural Business Chamber of South (Agbiz), South African Local Government Association (SALGA) and the Climate Justice Charter Movement (CJCM).
The submissions raised issues around the agricultural sector and the impact of livestock on climate change, the use of agrochemicals and pesticides and its impact on water sources, issues of environmental management and waste management in local government, public participation in the process of drafting the Bill and the inclusion of ecologists in the Bill.
The Committee made comments and posed questions concerning the submissions made by all the organisations. The organisations responded to the Committee’s comments and questions on its various presentations on the Climate Change Bill.
The Committee also encouraged the organisations to continue having discussions on this matter outside of events facilitated by the Committee. The Committee also appreciated the presentations that were made.
The Chairperson stated that the meeting would be a continuation of the provincial public hearings. He said that the Committee was left with submissions from the Free State, Western Cape, one region of the North West and three regions of the Northern Cape. He said he was made to believe that the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental Affairs (DFFE) would be represented by the Director-General, Deputy Director General of Regulatory Compliance, Inspector of Monitoring, Mr Tlou Ramaru, Political Analyst at the Department of Forestry, Fishery and Environmental Affair, Director of Law Reform, Chief Director of Climate Change Mitigation and Specialist in Monetary Service and the Director of Air Quality Management Services.
From the Office of the Deputy Minister, the Chief Director of Governance and Executive, Parliamentary Liaison Officers from both the Office of the Minister and Deputy Minister and other officials.
The Chairperson noted the presenters that would be presenting to the Committee on the Climate Change Bill. The Chairperson went through the programme of the meeting and stated that the presentations would be 30 minutes long, with an opportunity given to the Committee to engage.
He reiterated that this was a continuation of the journey the Committee had started in February. It was expected that the Bill had to be in the hands of the Select Committee by the beginning of June.
The Chairperson noted that Mr Ramaru was present and greeted him.
Mr Ramaru apologised on behalf of the Director-General and the Deputy Director-General at DFFE, who had communicated that they would only be able to join the meeting at 11h30.
The Chairperson asked for Committee apologies.
Mr D Bryant (DA) said, as he mentioned before the meeting began, that he was required to attend the physical seating of the debate on agriculture and his colleagues Ms H Winkler (DA) and Ms A Weber (DA) were also going to be attending and were not present. He said he would step out at 10 o'clock and join again once the plenary was completed.
Mr N Singh (IFP) thanked the Chairperson and everyone in attendance. He said, unfortunately, he would also be in and out between the budget and the committee, but he would do his best to be here most of the time.
Mr Themba Gift Mnguni, Parliamentary Liaison Officer, DFFE, wanted to pass on the Minister’s apology as she had to attend an event on the Biodiversity Financing Initiative in Cape Town.
Ms S Mbatha (ANC) said she was overbooked and supposed to be in the House of Parliament for the agriculture budget vote. However, she requested to attend the budget vote virtually.
The Committee Secretary said apologies were received from the Deputy Minister and Mr N Paulsen (EFF).
The Chairperson said that there was an understanding that there were other activities going on in Parliament and there were many plenaries to discuss budget votes. The Chairperson noted that Ms Weber was present, and Its apologies had been tabled.
He said the Committee should proceed with the understanding that those who would be joining other plenaries would be doing so whilst this Committee was proceeding with maximum and due respect to its presenters.
He welcomed the presenters and said they were here to deal with content as proposed by DFFE of the Climate Change Bill. This Bill was being pushed around the country, engaging various stakeholders.
He said the Bill sought to enable the development of an effective climate change response and long-term, just transition to a low carbon climate resilient economy. It was not amending this Bill as it was the first time it was being introduced to the country, so there was no existing act. He welcomed Ms Annelize Crosby from the Agricultural Business Chamber (Agbiz).
Agbiz submission on Climate Change Bill
Background and general comments
- Preparing agriculture for adaptation should go hand-in-hand with proactive mitigation measures.
- Research is already being carried out to improve seed resistance to drought, heat and higher levels of water and soil salinity, as well as to diseases and pests.
- For example, genetically engineered crops, which are designed to make efficient use of scarce resources like water and nutrients, and which contribute to higher yields and better product quality, can lead to savings in the area of water, soil, and energy, thereby contributing to the development of best practices for environmental sustainability.
- It is critical that the carbon budget and carbon tax instruments should be fully aligned. Whilst most primary agricultural entities are unlikely to qualify for carbon budgets or direct GHG reporting but many companies in the agro-processing sector will
- Factors such as historical mitigation, forward-looking mitigation potential, national circumstances, export competitiveness and the financial status of the sector and agribusiness must be considered in tax level and budget setting.
· Clause 16: Adaptation objectives - It is recommended that the Minister should consult, at least with the Climate Commission, before determining these objectives and indicators.
· Clause 19: Sector Adaptation Strategy and Plan- It proposes that the Minister should be required to consult with the stakeholders in the sector before finalising a sector strategy and plan.
· Whilst clause 28 requires prior consultation in respect of subclauses 1(b) and (c), it should also apply to 19(a).
· Stakeholders should also be involved in the five-year review process of the adaptation strategy and plan.
· Clause 22: Sectoral emissions target- Due to its structure, sectoral Emission Targets will be vitally important for the Agriculture, Forestry, Other Land Use (AFOLU) sector. In sectors that are dominated by a number of identifiable, large entities, carbon budgets and the carbon tax will be the primary mechanism behind mitigation.
· However, the AFOLU sector often comprises thousands of small and medium entities that collectively contribute to South Africa’s Green House Gas (GHG) Emissions, given the nature of agriculture.
- When SETS are calculated, the Department should consider the feasible expansion plans and trajectories of different sectors within the economy.
- As South Africa develops and moves from an emerging market economy towards a developed nation, the economic contribution of different sectors towards our total economy will not remain static.
- The SETS must likewise anticipate these changes and avoid a situation where the domestic and international competitiveness of an economic sector is artificially influenced by the carbon space allocated to that industry.
- Clause 23: Listed greenhouse gasses and activities- The requirement that the decision to list a particular gas or activity should be based on scientific evidence should be included in this clause.
- Clause24:Carbonbudgets- As mentioned above, some of the companies involved in manufacturing agricultural inputs, storage and agro-processing are likely to exceed the threshold for GHG reporting and be subjected to a Carbon Budget.
- How the Bill is written makes Carbon Budgets a punitive measure in the sense that a company remains liable for a carbon tax at the general rate if It stays within Its carbon budget but is punished by a punitive rate if It exceeds it.
- A far more constructive approach would be toward companies that stay within their budget by offering preferential rates.
- We propose that the cost burden imposed on the affected person and the industry involved should also be considered as a factor in subclause 2.
- The cost burden on individuals and small businesses of complying with this clause can prove to be prohibitive.
- The sum of an industry’s approved carbon budgets must not add up to that sector’s emission targets.
- The AFOLU sector, in particular, contains several, smaller companies that do not meet the threshold for a carbon budget to be allocated.
- However, its cumulative GHG emissions must be factored in.
- Likewise, the SETS & Carbon Budgets must make provisions for new entrants into the market.
- Schedule 1 seems to confuse the concept of a ‘function’ with that of an economic ‘sector’.
- Schedule 1 lists functions for which SETS need to be developed but the point of departure is incorrect as not all functions falling under government line ministries reflect an economic sector. For example, agriculture and forestry are listed separately from land reform and rural development because these may be different government line functions.
- However, no economic sector, such as land reform or rural development, exists.
- Similarly, no economic sectors such as “Cooperative Governance” or “Traditional Affairs.
- The list should be critically reviewed to reflect only economic sectors and not the functions of government line functions.
- Schedule 2 should likewise be reviewed to remove duplication.
See attached for full submission
The Chairperson thanked Ms Crosby for her presentation. The Chairperson asked the Committee how It preferred to engage with the presentations considering that most Members were double-booked.
Mr Singh said that the Chairperson was correct that there were time constraints and that it would be best to deal with each presentation individually. The Committee concluded that each presentation would be engaged with separately.
Mr Singh asked Ms Crosby if they knew each other from agricultural days in the 1990s.
Ms Crosby confirmed they did know each other.
Mr Singh said it was good to see Ms Crosby and that he was glad to see her with Agbiz. In terms of the impact of livestock on climate change and its being a major contributor, he asked to what extent Agbiz was working with small farmers and people who were not necessarily farmers but owned cattle. He added that it is known that cattle in Kwa-Zulu Natal (KZN) and other parts were considered to be family assets.
He asked, regarding the issue of load shedding in agriculture and agro-processing, to what extent were Ms Crosby’s partners at Agbiz moving towards alternative energy sources on their own accord? What percentage of these partners were looking for alternative sources of energy?
Mr Bryant also echoed the sentiments of the Chairperson on the presentation and said it was the most concise and to-the-point presentation he had seen thus far during these hearings. He said well done to Ms Crosby and added that it was worthwhile to emphasise how important the agriculture and agro-processing industry is to South Africa. He said especially when one considered the cost-of-living crises and food shortages.
Mr Bryant said the result of the Russian and Ukrainian conflict was that South Africa was facing many challenges and it needs to do as much as possible to empower and assist the agriculture industry. This was to ensure that South Africa did not end up with further food shortage and therefore, further escalation of the cost-of-living crisis facing South Africans.
Mr Bryant said that even though many presentations had been made, including the public hearings, Agbiz’s presentation was specifically concise and put together. He wanted to ensure and get a commitment that all the points that Agbiz presented would be adequality responded to by the officials concerned so that they would not get lost in the ether. Mr Bryant said the raised points were very important, particularly in ensuring that our agriculture sector in South Africa was not unfairly prejudiced by legislation going forward.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Bryant and noted that the last time Mr Ramaru was seen was when he was registering an apology. The Chairperson asked if Mr Ramaru was following the deliberations.
Mr Ramaru responded and said he was following the deliberations.
The Chairperson asked if Mr Ramaru noted the proposals to amend the Climate Change Bill.
Mr Ramaru said he was noting the proposals. He said he would also appreciate it if the full presentation could be sent.
The Chairperson said he would ensure the full presentation was sent to Mr Ramaru. He then asked Ms Crosby to proceed with her responses to the Committee’s comments and questions.
Ms Crosby thanked the Members for the comments and questions. She responded to the question on the livestock industry and said that Agbiz was involved in the secondary part of agriculture as opposed to the primary part. However, it did have as members some of the associations that represented the livestock industry and the value chain which supported big and small farmers.
Ms Crosby said in terms of its involvement with those farmers, Agbiz lobbied on behalf of the whole industry, everybody that was involved in the value chain. Ms Crosby said if the Committee wanted more details on the impact on the livestock industry and small livestock farmers, the red meat producers and meat industry would be happy to answer specific questions on the contribution of the sector, mitigation and adaption potential and the impact of climate change on the sector.
Ms Crosby said load shedding was a big headache for the agricultural sector, from the producer through to the whole agricultural value chain. The sector was very much affected by load shedding at this point. She said members of Agbiz that were able to be moving towards other sources of energy and, where possible green sources of energy. Ms Crosby said with this, there was an obvious cost factor and therefore it was limited by the financial implications. She said Agbiz, from its side, was trying to be encouraging and recently had a workshop on energy security and sustainability. Members at the workshop who had gone the solar route were then able to share their experiences on how to go about it with other members. Ms Crosby reiterated that those who could implement other energy sources were looking into it but there was a cost factor that limited the potential of everyone doing so.
Ms Crosby thanked Mr Bryant and said Agbiz was more than happy to send its full submission and not just the presentation to the Committee. She said if the Committee and Department had any more detailed questions to ask afterwards, Agbiz were happy to respond with more details. She thanked the Committee.
The Chairperson asked if the Committee had any follow-up questions or comments for Ms Crosby. He noted that Ms Mbatha had a follow-up.
Ms Mbatha said she was also on the Agricultural Portfolio Committee where the issue that climate change affected the agricultural sector the most had been raised. The Agricultural Committee felt as if it were not included in most cases when it came to climate change issues and therefore there was a need for climate change issues to be also discussed within the Agricultural Portfolio Committee. Ms Mbatha requested that Agbiz get ahold of the Agricultural Portfolio Committee to present to them the issue of how the agricultural sector was being affected or how it was negatively contributing to climate change.
Ms Mbatha believed things were being done especially concerning chemicals used for pest control. In the agricultural sector, these chemicals had been changed and other issues were also being attended to. She added that her request was so that the Agricultural Portfolio Committee could have a say on what it was doing or planning to do regarding climate change.
Mr Singh said the Committee’s Secretariat needed to note that the Committee needed to get statistics from the red meat producers’ organisation. He said this was important because livestock contributed greatly to climate change issues. Mr Singh said this needed to be noted even if the Committee had to write to the red meat producers' organisation and try to get information from them. He thanked Agbiz for bringing this to the Committee’s attention.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Crosby and said it would be up to her if she wanted to remain and listen to other presentations or she could be released if she wanted. He said he knew Ms Crosby was interested in hearing what other presentations said.
Ms Crosby thanked the Chairperson. She said Agbiz had a good relationship with the Department of Agriculture and its Ministers, so discussions were being had with them. She told Mr Singh that if the Committee wanted to use them to get information and as a conduit to the red meat industry, it would be more than happy to do so.
The Chairperson thanked Agbiz again and asked the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), led by Ms Dorah Marema, Head: Municipal Sustainability Portfolio at SALGA, to proceed with the presentation.
SALGA’s Climate Change Bill Submission
Implications of the Climate Change Bill
- The Climate Change Bill gives the Legal duty to act. It is the basis for the country to respond to climate change. The Act will position the country to become an African leader in tackling climate change.
- It also establishes the framework and supports South Africa’s commitment to the global climate change agenda.
- The Climate Change Act will formalise South Africa’s approach to tackling both mitigation (reducing emissions) and adaptation (increasing resilience to climate change).
- The Act will help in national risk assessments, resulting in an Adaptation Programme that must address the risks.
- The Act will build a strong foundation required for government, organisations and civil society to respond to climate change.
Municipal Comments and Concerns
• Lack of consideration for the local municipalities in terms of the category A, B and C municipal roles.
• The Bill needs to differentiate municipalities per category and not assume roles are the same in Metros, Districts and Locals.
• The Bill does not take into account whether the municipalities have the necessary skills, expertise and capacity to achieve the one year timeframe for undertaking climate change needs and response assessments.
• The need to review timelines for municipalities to undertake climate change needs and response assessments based on capacity needs and existing assessments.
• The need to ensure that there is financial, technical and capacity support to enable local government implementation of the Climate Change Bill.
Portfolio Committee to note this submission from SALGA with the following recommendations :
• Ensure financial, technical and capacity support to enable local government implementation of the Climate Change Bill.
• The Bill should give guidance to the financing mechanisms for climate change response implementation. The Minister should provide a strategic approach for implementation of adaptation and mitigation.
• The Bill must explicitly state the percentage of the country emissions reductions by 2050.
• The Bill should limit provinces to oversight role and ensure that municipalities are involved in implementing climate change actions.
• The Bill must aim to address structural inequalities in society, particularly those faced by women, youth, children, people with disabilities and the groups most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, and specifically gender-sensitive and gender-responsive policy programs need to be incorporated in all national and local climate action plans.
See attached for full submission
The Chairperson invited the Committee to engage with SALGA’s presentation.
Mr Singh thanked SALGA for the presentation. He said he saw the thread that ran through the presentation was the lack of financial and human resources at the local government level. Mr Singh said this applied to every sector and service provision item at local government. He asked if a thought had been given on how local government would address climate change challenges considering the human and financial resource inadequacies.
Mr Singh also asked if, as an idea, SALGA could suggest to Treasury to ringfence special grants to municipalities to allow them to deal with the issue of climate change. He said this was because it was an important issue in South Africa moving forward with incessant rain floods and people dying from a lack of water. Mr Singh repeated his question of whether it was possible to recommend to the Treasury to ringfence special grants to deal with climate change mitigation interventions.
Ms H Winkler (DA) thanked the Chairperson and the presenter. She said municipalities were going to be at the forefront of the climate change impact. She added that municipalities had seen the number of local disasters and the inability to adequately react with resources and timeframes. She said there had been many disasters like the flooding in KZN. What assistance or skills development capacitation have local municipalities received so far from the provincial and national governments? How is it devolving climate change mitigation, adaptation and resilience to local municipalities?
Ms Winkler said Mr Singh touched on this. She stated specific grants were made possible by the green climate fund for certain technical capacitation, especially at the local government level. She asked if various structures had been made aware of this, as it did assist in equipping municipalities to implement the type of climate change policies that the Department was trying to enact.
Ms Mbatha asked if all the municipalities did not have climate change human resources - she did not believe that all municipalities had these resources. What are SALGA’s plans to ensure these resources are given to municipalities? She said this also applied to air quality which she knew was usually implemented by the environmental health practitioners in the municipality.
Ms Mbatha said SALGA was correct in saying that climate change, in most cases, affected infrastructure and everything on a local level, mostly affecting municipalities. She asked the IDP if It were busy conducting public meetings on if SALGA had indicated to them that there was a need to plan and budget for climate change and air quality issues in this IDP.
Ms Mbatha said in terms of the issue of waste management, SALGA had touched on it but that when the Committee were doing its public hearings, it received numerous questions and concerns on waste management, which was the responsibility of the local municipality. She said she knew that SALGA had directorates that dealt directly with waste management in local municipalities. Ms Mbatha asked in terms of local municipality how best SALGA thought this issue could be corrected because it was serious, especially with illegal dumping and awareness. Most municipalities did not have funds. In Tshwane, there was communication issued on the internet stating that municipalities were not cleaning up illegal dumping but the Constitution states that all communities have the right to a clean and healthy environment.
Ms T Mchunu (ANC) thanked the Chairperson and greeted everyone in attendance. She thanked SALGA for its presentation and said her questions and comments were based on three issues. The first issue concerned grant funding which Mr Singh touched on. Ms Mcunu said her understanding was that SALGA’s presentation implied that the issue of climate change should not be an unfunded mandate when devolved to local government. With the MIG funding if SALGA had made suggestions on how it could be structured so that it could accommodate the issue of climate change when it came to infrastructure or different climate change-related issues that affected local government.
Ms Mchunu said with the inclusion of local municipalities she agreed but wanted to know if SALGA had suggestions on how It could manage the role of the district with the mandate of dealing with disaster management and the local municipality under the particular district. She said this went together with the proposal SALGA had presented on the national adaptation plan. Ms Mchunu said this pertained to her third point which was that SALGA was concerned with the one-year time frame of developing this national plan. She said, on the other hand, when SALGA spoke about these roles and having the district currently deal with disaster as part of Its mandate because it was mandated by the Act to do so. This adaptation plan could not be done within a year if it was coordinated within the district development model operating in district municipalities. She said this model brought together local municipalities and districts and ensured they worked as a team.
In terms of the national adaptation plan and the development of the local adaptation plan, she asked if the development of it took one year because of the human resource capacity or the need to undergo a study before implementation could take place.
Mr M Dlamini (ANC) thanked SALGA for its presentation and said it was informative. He said most of his questions had been tabled but he still had one more question. Mr Dlamini said his understanding was that the Bill was part of a plan and had not yet been implemented. He said, however, it was trying by all means to get a plan on how to deal with the question of climate change. Mr Dlamini said climate change was a reality we now live with.
He said he was not sure that SALGA had thought thoroughly about trying to force municipalities to ensure implementation of the bylaws. He said if you checked where a lot of floods were happening, you would find the answer given would be it was due to a poor drainage system. Therefore, nothing was being done to ensure these drainage systems were being improved and capacitated.
Mr Dlamini asked what plans SALGA had to ensure that while it was dealing with the Bill at the present moment, there was implementation of the bylaws. He said this was because some of the municipalities were not doing these things.
The Chairperson asked Ms Marema to proceed with her responses.
Ms Marema thanked the Chairperson and the Committee for its questions.
In terms of the lack of human and financial resources and the possibility of SALGA lobbying the National Treasury to ringfence some of the funds that could be channelled to climate change action, she said that SALGA had been engaging on this. She said that SALGA had held a local government environment indaba. Part of what it was doing there was to indicate the extent to which the environmental sector was being funded nationally and how much of this was making its way into local government. She said it had research conducted which it had been feeding through its Municipal Finance Cluster within SALGA that interreacted through the Fiscal Finance Commission as well as through the IGR with National Treasury to be able to lobby for an increase.
She said there was hesitation around ringfencing resources that could be channeled for environmental action within local government in several interactions, but it was part of SALGA’s broader Local Government Financing Advocacy Programme. Ms Marema said the same was done regarding waste management, which looked at what could be the challenge with municipalities not performing. SALGA has looked at the budgets and expenditures of metros and districts and was able to utilise this to engage with municipalities. To be honest, municipalities were able to generate some revenue from their waste management function. The challenge it faced, and which SALGA was lobbying political and municipal administrative leadership on, was that these investments were not being brought back, for example, into the function of waste management.
Ms Marema said SALGA was doing dual advocacy and engaging with both Treasury and municipalities to be able to point out where municipalities could make adjustments and provisions to ensure that there was the delivery of services.
She said in terms of Ms Winkler’s question on capacity building and national and provincial support of municipalities that SALGA had a great relationship with DFFE. The Department, together with SALGA, had what was called the Local Government Support Strategy and Implementation Plan which runs on a five-year basis. Ms Marema said this was a programme it had together as a sector to support municipalities in various areas, particularly on waste, air quality and climate change. This was to prepare municipalities and assist in understanding its role and how it could start mainstreaming climate change in its service delivery mandates around water provision, sanitation and the like.
Ms Marema said in terms of the application for the Green Climate Fund, SALGA was supporting municipalities to identify projects that could be packed so that it was able to access not only the Green Climate Fund but other funds both in the country and internationally. She said some municipalities had already accessed several funds to allow for implementation.
She said what it was talking about in terms of the comments in the Bill was just to be able to make sure that it did not result in an unfunded mandate where municipalities would be unsure if it was going to get funding to implement climate change action.
Ms Marema responded to Ms Mbatha’s questions on whether the issue within municipalities in developing the climate change plans was due to a lack of resources or budget and why SALGA said that the one-year time frame was not enough. She said it was both in terms of the lack of human resources and budgets within municipalities and together with the Department there was a concerted effort to support municipalities to ensure there was capacity. There was a process that the Department had just concluded to enable an allocation for graduates to be placed at the local level of municipalities because the Department had already made provision for the placement of officials hired through its programme at districts. There was a concerted effort and she believed this would serve as encouragement but as it sorted out the issues around funding of the environmental mandate of local government from the national treasury side. She said SALGA would ensure that municipalities would get very clear environmental management business units that incorporated all the functions It performed, such as waste management, air quality, biodiversity, and climate change. This was because it would know how these functions were going to be funded from the fiscus and how It would be able to capacitate them once it had the capable business units. Business units aligned with the municipal prototypes that the DFFE, The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA) and SALGA had already worked on. She said it was also to be able to indicate to municipalities of a particular category what structure needed to be adopted and what functions needed to be filled in.
Ms Marema said there was ongoing work that SALGA was busy with regarding the concerns with waste management. SALGA was having weekly sessions led by the Department, the Presidency and the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), Including the Municipal Infrastructure Support Agent (MISA), looking at innovative ways to introduce and ensure that municipalities were budgeting for waste management. She said but again, to ensure that provinces were able to support them adequality and where there was inaction and municipalities were not doing their part, the relevant authorities were able to come on board and hold the municipalities responsible.
She said she believed the Department and SALGA led a huge, concerted effort to provide support to ensure model bylaws were being adopted and passed at council to allow for implementation and ensure there was enforcement through the municipal and safety directorate. This was where the municipalities would have to make sure they had the human resources to be able to police and enforce the bylaws because some of the challenges that it was facing just required enforcement. She said once it was able to enforce it would mean that the citizens of the municipality would not take advantage of the fact that was recurrent non-compliance or non-adherence.
Ms Marema said terms of looking into the Municipal Infrastructure Grant (MIG) to support municipalities was something SALGA was working on together with DFFE and she believed it was starting to bear fruit about how MIG was utilised for municipalities to be able to purchase waste management equipment. It was currently working on looking at other areas within the environmental mandate so that municipalities could start using MIG to be purchased, for example, what was needed for air quality monitoring stations. She said it was also looking at how it could be augmented to assist municipalities in ensuring that there was climate-proofing of infrastructure which was usually an added cost. An added cost when one had to get how to build infrastructure that responded to climate change impacts that had been projected within its area.
Ms Marema said in terms of the roles and responsibilities of districts and local municipalities regarding the performance of functions, SALGA had conducted a study in the previous financial year. This study looked at the issues around powers, functions and disaster management which also fell within its clusters. She said what it realised from the study was that there were districts that were capable of performing the functions but there were other districts that were not able to. It found that within districts, smaller local municipalities were much more capacitated and stronger than the districts themselves. One of SALGA’ s recommendations that it was making to COGTA was that it needed to have a differentiated approach in this case and streamline and make sure that the district and local municipality enter into service level agreements which were followed through by a request to the MEC of Treasury in the particular province. This was to make sure that the municipality or the district performing that function could get the equitable share, for example,, when it spoke of disaster management.
Ms Marema reiterated that SALGA believed that a differentiated approach was needed to perform these functions because of the capacity and capability differences in various districts and local municipalities. She said it was also important to ensure that smaller local municipalities within the district when SALGA was working with the district to develop a disaster management plan, or a climate change adaptation plan also produced plans. She said these plans did not have to be five-year plans but could be one-year plans with clear targets and outputs on what was going to happen at a local level. Ms Marema said it was important to be able to challenge resources to strengthen smaller local municipalities in being able to respond.
She said that she knew that the District Development Model (DDM) provided them with the opportunity however, at this moment, it was still being polished and refined so it could arrive at a place where it was confident that it was yielding benefits. Benefits SALGA was looking to integrate at all three levels of government to ensure It had a consolidated plan with one consolidated budget that would enable them to build the needed resilience.
Ms Marema said in terms of Mr Dlamini’s question, she had already touched on the issue of enforcing bylaws. She said SALGA was focused on this because it saw it as one of the low-hanging fruit interventions that once guided by SALGA to develop model bylaws, frameworks and plans that could be adapted and then adopted through the council and supported in establishing units. Units that were going to ensure that the bylaws were enforced. She said traction could be seen.
The Chairperson said on his side, many municipalities looked at environmental matters as a luxury. He said he had not gotten a sense that municipalities were allocating sufficient resources for this particular sector. He asked what SALGA was doing in this regard and what proportions of the municipal budget SALGA wanted to see allocated. The Chairperson said his concern was that there was enough money at the municipal level for climate action. It must ensure that SALGA sorted out issues of unclean audits.
Ms Marema thanked the Chairperson for his question and agreed that some municipalities were not paying the necessary attention required for environmental management broadly. She said it was SALGA’s responsibility to ensure municipalities understood this was a function set out in the Constitution. The Constitution was clear that municipalities needed to perform.
She said SALGA had many attempts to engage with its members to raise the profile and make them understand the importance of this matter. Ms Marema said SALGA had been doing this at the beginning of every term of local government and inducted the new incoming councillors on the importance of environmental management. Councillor inductions and pieces of training were conducted so that the role of the council was understood. In terms of providing oversight, SALGA looked at and assessed Its Infrastructure Development Plans (IDP) and budgets.
Ms Marema said it was disappointing that environmental management, including disaster management, did not feature much in municipal IDPs and budgets. She said what SALGA had done was look at the review criteria used by COGTA who reviewed the IDPs and the National and Provincial Treasuries who revied the budgets. SALGA then found another challenge within the review criteria and frameworks, because municipalities could get IDPs and budgets approved even though it did not include critical functions such as environmental management and those funded from the national fiscus. She said that SALGA had since requested through these two sector departments a review of the assessment criteria, and this needed to be done in consultation with the municipality so that it knew when it came to a review session of an IDP and budget if municipalities had not factored in some of the functions within Its budget, it would not get - it would instead be sent back to ensure that those functions were included there. Ms Marema said this was the other measure it was taking.
She said in terms of the desired allocation for climate change, SALGA had not done an assessment and come up with something, but it would be doing this. She said what SALGA was doing was really socialising the issues around climate change and just transitioning to say that it did not have to be a stand-alone issue. Rather, there were opportunities within the existing environmental management and municipalities' broader service delivery mandates. When delivering water, sanitation and electricity, their lay opportunities and what SALGA had done was put together a framework that assisted municipalities in putting together IDPs responding to climate change issues. She said this work was started in the past three years so that it did not have to wait for the Bill to become an Act or where funding was going to come from, as there were already opportunities embedded in the mandate. So that in delivering water to a community and doing a water project, there needed to be thought given to what the risk and vulnerability assessment was saying in the particular area. Would droughts or floods affect it, and how could It construct infrastructure that was responsive to potential negative impact stated in assessments?
She said this issue was being talked about from many angles and SALGA was engaging municipalities using the national working group within SALGA that focused on issues of environmental management and climate resilience. This group assisted SALGA with championing and profiling the importance of not treating environmental management and climate resilience as options because it had the potential of undermining and destroying development and the municipalities’ priority investment resources which would mean additional resources would need to be found and this would cost a lot more than proactive efforts to factor issues around climate change and environmental management.
Ms Mbatha thanked Ms Marema and said she wanted to highlight the issue of EMIs within the municipalities whilst she was still here. She said some municipalities did not have EMIs although mandated by laws, which was a serious problem in terms of triple E-waste management or control. Ms Mbatha said that you would find that there was illegal burning of triple e-waste so resources could be received from this waste. She said there were a lot of unlicensed recyclers and asked how SALGA was going to assist municipalities who did not have EMIs in place as it was meant to employ them. She also asked what SALGA’s strategy was to control unlicensed triple e-waste recyclers so that the burning of this waste could be reduced. This was also part of cable theft, where the stolen cables were sold to these unlicensed recyclers.
She said she would refer back to her municipality of Tshwane, where the Speaker had instructed that all councillors needed to do awareness when it came to doing Its public meetings on bills. She said there was a bill it was busy with that pertain to basic education, but she had not seen this when it came to the Climate Change Bill. Ms Mbatha asked if this could be done through SALGA’s office so that municipalities and the Speaker’s office could raise awareness on the Climate Change Bill like it had been done for other bills.
Ms Mbatha said another issue that had a bad impact on climate change was the issue of the Marine Resources Fund (MRF) being closed, not because of other issues but rather infighting between municipal management and MRF management. She asked how SALGA dealt with such issues, as they could also contribute to the issue of climate. She said she was also happy with the graduates as she knew that the University of North West worked with municipalities on environmental issues with undergraduates and postgraduates. Ms Mbatha said this was not happening in all municipalities, depending on the universities in Its proximity and asked how best It could use these resources.
Ms Marema thanked the Chairperson and Ms Mbatha for the detailed questions. She said the issue with the Environmental Management Inspectorates (EMIs) was its agenda. She added that the Department went and sought legal opinion on the role of EMIs in the local authorities, which has since been handed over to SALGA. This was so that SALGA could look and see how it was going to interpret it, as there has always been vagueness around this issue in terms of what some of the functions were and who should be enforcing them. She said SALGA was busy with this together with the Department so there could be clarity. Ms Marema said once this was done, it hoped it could complete the process that the Department started to be able to develop clear guidelines in terms of what the local government authority EMIs were supposed to do.
She said she knew that waste management and air quality were part of the clarification of the mandate of the local government. Ms Marema said communication would be issued to all municipal speakers to request that all local councillors needed to raise awareness around the Climate Change Bill. SALGA has been raising awareness through the provincial member assemblies, executive councils, and working groups on environmental management and climate resilience.
She said it has been communicating the importance of making presentations and inviting the Department to present on the importance of the Climate Change Bill and its implications on local government. She said this effort would be intensified in the current financial year until it felt that municipalities were aware of climate change and the roles It needed to play regarding it. She said this would be integrated into the broader programme SALGA was embarking on regarding climate change and assisting municipalities in developing climate change action plans and communication materials on the just transition and its implications on local government. She said they were pleased that local government champions were now Presidential Climate Change Commission commissioners. These commissioners were committed to assisting SALGA in raising awareness on issues of climate and what just transition measures local government needed to take. This was a core focus of Ms Marema’s portfolio within SALGA this financial year. She said it was working hand in hand with the local government support directorate within the Department.
The Chairperson thanked Ms Marema. He then invited UNpoison and the South African Organic Sector Organisation (SAOSO) to make their presentation.
Ms Anna Shevel clarified that Unpoison had no affiliation with the United Nations and proceeded with her presentation.
Unpoison & SAOSA submission on the Climate Change Bill
General Comment on Bill
- insufficient guiding criteria to achieve the outcomes of this Bill
- It relies on the outdated 2015 Nationally Determined Contributions under the UNFCCC
- Instead of targets set by SA’s Cabinet last year under SA’s climate action plan.
- Extremely weak provisions for compliance and enforcement make the Bill ineffective
- Critical mitigation measures have no deadlines such as:
- An emissions trajectory
- Carbon Budgets
- Sector emissions targets
- Timeframes given to critical sectors to plan and start implementation are too long – do not reflect the urgency of the climate crisis
- The burden of implementation falls significantly onto provincial and municipal government
- It is not clear how local government will finance its commitments
- Provisions should be made for expertise, capacity building and financial support of the departments
- Strike a balance between increasing agriculture & addressing emissions of AFOLU
- Policies in draft form in DAFF - the Conservation Agriculture Policy, the Agroecological Strategy, the Organic Policy
- The Conservation of Agricultural Resources Act (1983) - not integrated or referenced by DAFF - unlocks key to sinks + emissions reduction
- Address gaps in SA National Terrestrial Carbon Sinks Report
- Address gaps in SA’s policy regarding AFOLU sector
- Lack of inclusion of AFOLU sector in Climate Change Policy
See attached for full submission
The Chairperson thanked Ms Shevel for her presentation and invited the Committee to engage with the presentation.
Mr Singh thanked Ms Shevel for the presentation and said that the Chairperson would take note of the PowerPoint presentation as it was important for something it is doing in a few days. He said the presentation highlighted something Ms Crosby (Agbiz) had shared, which was the impact of agriculture on climate change. Mr Singh said that the presentation and its conclusion highlighted various challenging areas such as pesticides, livestock etc. He said it would assist them and their colleagues in agriculture if Ms Shevel furnished them with a firm proposal on how to use fewer pesticides and move towards organic farming. This was because this helped with the overall objective of the Climate Change Bill.
Mr Singh wanted Ms Shevel to comment on, in particular, the transition from where we were with pesticides to organic farming and other forms of fertiliser.
Ms Mbatha thanked Ms Shevel for a good presentation. She agreed that agriculture had a major role in climate change but wanted to know if Ms Shevel was aware that the chemicals that were now being used in agriculture in terms of safety were monitored by the Department of Health. These chemicals used could not be harmful to the environment. Ms Mbatha also said that farmers had changed the chemicals being used and agriculture was responsible for issuing certificates to those that tested pest control. The Department of Health monitored the chemical storage under hazardous waste, for which an annual renewal license was issued. The EHPs every year did inspections and issued these licenses.
Ms Mbatha said the presentation made it seem as though no other chemicals were being used despite a law stating chemicals could not be harmful to the environment. In terms of food waste, she said that she knew that food produced by farmers that were not being utilised because the market could not take it or due to climate change issues was not good in quality so it could be sold or exported was made into manure. Ms Mbatha this point was not made in the presentation.
She said the only part was with small and upcoming farmers where it could be found It did not have the proper skills or training. She said although she knew that the Department of Agriculture was training these farmers on such issues.
Ms Mbatha said the issue of water pollution and shortage in the early 1990s raised awareness on the 2020 water savings with the then Department of Water, which is now the Department of Water and Sanitation. She said it was saying then that by 2020 if water was not being saved, there would be no water in South Africa. She added that this was true as it had passed 2020 and it was now 2023 and South Africa still had water shortages. Ms Mbatha wanted to know what other strategies were there to make sure water was saved because farmers usually built man-made dams or purchased big tanks where save water for irrigation in winter.
Ms Mbatha said that she agreed with the issue of water pollution and that farmers were not the only ones to blame. She said in rural areas, where the was sloping land, it trained communities to build pit latrine toilets on top of the slope or go deeper than six feet as it would affect and pollute the underground water. This was because these people used boreholes and other streams of water that would then be contaminated. Ms Mbatha wanted to know if Ms Shevel did such community training in rural areas. She said this also applied to rivers because rivers were not clean, as people used them to dump things. This means rivers were no longer safe.
Ms Mbatha said as a former EHP, she knew that when it did its cholera swabs, it got a lot of E. coli from the river water, so she agreed with Ms Shevel that the water was contaminated. She asked what UNpoison & SAOSO’s relationship and strategies were to keep Its relationship with the Department of Agriculture and communities working. This was because communities were doing backyard food gardening and had small communal food gardens that It contributed to. She also asked if it were aware of the current situation that the Agriculture Sector and the farmers had in place to take off some of the things It had mentioned in Its presentation.
The Chairperson asked what timelines Ms Shevel wanted to see in terms of climate change interventions such as mitigation, as in the presentation, Unpoison considered these too long. He also asked if there were international best practices from elsewhere that she wanted the Committee to look at and learn from.
Ms Shevel said in terms of the issue of proposals and working with government, it was important to look at policies that were still in draft form. She said the Unpoison network comprised numerous university departments, farming groups, farm worker organisations, academics and experts. This meant It could provide support and be involved in contributing to policies and strategies.
She said in terms of the draft regulations sitting in the Department of Agriculture were very important when it came to implementing effective strategies. It needed things to be passed on to make them effective.
Ms Shevel said with Ms Mbatha’s comment on how farmers used chemicals, unpoison worked closely on agrochemicals. She said South Africa used 178 hazardous pesticides that had been in other parts of the world. There was an incredible double standard in terms of the pesticides the Global North, Europe, East and United Kingdom (UK) made which were very toxic and banned for use on Its land, but South Africa was still importing these chemicals in high quantities. Effectively, pesticides banned in the North were allowed to be used in South Africa and poisoned our people in high numbers. She said these pesticides were being used in huge quantities and she knew this was going to be phased out but paraquat atrazine were very harmful chemicals. The inherent nature of these chemicals was to be a poison, although some were less toxic than others. They were designed to kill pests, fungi or plants. Therefore, it was difficult to look at agrochemicals and pesticides and say they were not harmful as they were intrinsically harmful because that was their function.
Ms Shevel said It had established a relationship with the regulator of agrochemicals who was open to Its support. She said that the regulations governing agrochemicals and fertilisers were written in 1947; this was 76 years ago. This left gaps for misuse and perhaps things had changed when it came to the Department of Health’s monitoring. She said as far as most areas of agrochemicals and pesticides and how things were applied and checked on farms were incredibly deficient. Monitoring was non-existent in actual practice on farms. Pest control operators were on farms currently researching pest control regulations and these were good and tight in terms of structural pest control but what happened in houses and silos. She said it was also better around aerial application but there were still gaps in this area. There was also very little monitoring of how pesticides were being applied airily, which needed to be better looked at. She said residents of farming communities were not warned before spraying, resulting in drift and people, especially farm workers and residents near farms getting sick from the drift.
Ms Shevel said, most importantly, farm pest control regulations were deficient. It was not a definite requirement on all commercial farms to have a pest control operator overseeing the application of pesticides. This was where a lot of harm happened, especially to the most vulnerable agriculture workers, often women. Women were even more susceptible to endocrine-disrupting effects, reproductive toxicology effects and mutagenic effects on fetuses. She said that there was a long way to go in terms of where it was now and where it needed to be with effective regulation, monitoring and enforcement of how pesticides and agrochemicals were used on farms. However, it was starting the process which was good news.
She said with food waste, there was a great cost that came with processing food waste and farmers were already stretched with their backs against the wall as farming was the riskiest profession. With the citrus crisis, where farmers could not export, thousands of tons were dumped in environmentally sensitive areas. Farmers also often left the supposed food waste on trees because they could not afford to pick it but there was a significant amount of dumping of agricultural produce. Not all of it was turned into compost; on commercial and industrial farms, composting was not relied on as nitrogen fertilisers were used.
Ms Shevel said that the Department of Agriculture and Training was not training in alternative methods but giving support and extension services to people who would farm with chemical agriculture. The Department of Agriculture did not have the capacity, resources and skills at the moment and had not passed the policy supporting alternative farming methods. She said it would work on this with the Department of Agriculture to assist them.
Regarding water pollution, Ms Shevel said studies showed that 70% of pollution resulted from agricultural chemicals. She said of course there were other contributors, waste was a big problem. She said she wanted to share that a lot of the chemicals could be forever chemicals. With E. coli and other contaminants with the right interventions, these could be broken down in the water and filtered out to have clean water. She said however, there was already an agricultural chemical called atrazine which was found in all South Africa’s water sources; this included groundwater and had terrible effects on reproductive health. Ms Shevel said this was why the chemical runoff into the water was an important focus for Unpoison.
In terms of engaging with communities, Unpoison’s focus was not water but rather water as impacted by agrochemicals and farming practices. She said there were better non-profit organisations such as the Association for Water and Rural Development (AWARD), that worked with rural communities and agriculture to better manage rivers and catchment areas. She said looking at how catchment areas were managed was important when it came to agriculture. Ms Shevel said she knew there was a war almost between agriculture and the mining sector for water availability and land use. She said these were not areas she was proficient in though.
She said with the question on what Unpoison’s strategies were that Unpoison had a large network, and many different organisations were working in an aligned manner towards certain goals with them. Ms Shevel said Unpoison’s core focus was on regulatory and policy changes, and, at the moment, looking at policy around highly hazardous pesticides and the phasing out of these pesticides from agricultural activities.
She said the regulator had included group 1B to be phased out but there was no phase-out plan. The target date set by the regulator was 24 June but there was no phase-out plan, and it was still waiting on the Presidency to promulgate the regulations which make this come into effect.
Ms Shevel said as Unpoisoned, it was going to work with the regulator and identify another eight categories besides 1A and 1B of highly hazardous pesticides that needed to be phased out. Phasing out could not happen without solutions so it needed to work to find solutions that could replace, reduce and restrict the use of these pesticides. UNpoison was also working on regulations concerning pest control operators on farms. She believed this would have a significant positive impact on the plight of farm workers, women on farms and people surrounding farms that were suffering from ill health and economic losses due to not being able to work.
Ms Shevel said she had not prepared to answer the question timelines but as a guest, she said to have strategies in place and targets to complete the planning this possible to do within a year. She said she would like to see implementation starting within the next 12 months as it had the resources, experts and intel to assist in acceleration. Regarding realistic timelines, she would need to consult with others, but she thought a year would be feasible.
Prof Raymond Auerbach, Agricultural Research Council (ARC) Board member, interrupted and introduced himself. He noted that it had put resources from SAOSA in the Zoom chat which was relevant to the question of the best agriculture practices. Prof Auerbach said it was something they had been working on for some time and wanted to draw the Committee’s attention. He apologised for the interruption.
The Chairperson asked if Prof Auerbach was assisting with responses from Unpoison.
Prof Auerbach said yes, he was and was from both the ARC and SAOSO. In terms of the Chairperson’s question on best agriculture practices, the United Nations Trade and Development put out 2008 a comprehensive best practice for organic policy study and he [Prof Auerbach] wrote the chapter for South Africa. Prof Auerbach said perhaps the Committee would find this useful and it could be downloaded using the link in the chat. He apologised for interrupting again.
The Chairperson said this was useful and he would go through the chat, but it was often difficult to do so whilst running the meeting.
Prof Auerbach noted at the beginning of the chat he had provided the book on food systems was also free to download. He thanked Ms Shevel for the comprehensive proposal and the wonderful Committee for its important work.
The Chairperson said It appreciated this and could not do this without their assistance. He said the professor was forgiven for barging into the meeting. He then proceeded to Dear South Africa’s presentation.
Mr Rob Hutchinson, Managing Director, Dear South Africa, thanked the Committee for the opportunity to represent the public voice to the Committee on the Climate Change Bill and proceed with the presentation.
Dear South Africa’s Submission on the Climate Change Bill
Comments originated from all provinces with the greatest input arising from Gauteng, followed by Western Cape and KZN. Participation demographics can be further broken down into comment options (yes, no, not fully), employment status, top reason, municipality, city or town, language, and more.
Do you support the proposed Climate Change Bill?
- Yes, I do [1,547 selected] which was 11.48%
- No, I do not [10,703 selected] which was 79.44%
- Not fully [1,223 selected] which was 9.08%
What is your top concern?
· The proposed Bill in its entirety [9,052 selected] which was 67.19%
- Carbon budgets, emissions, and removals [1,197 selected] which was 8.88%
· Other [871 selected] which was 6.47%
· Climate change response [719 selected] which was 5.34%
· Provincial, Municipal, Presidential climate commissions [475 selected] which was 3.53%
· Adaptation to impacts of climate change [431 selected] which was 3.2%
· Definitions and interpretation [420 selected] which was 3.12%
· No concern [308 selected] which was 2.29%
- Corruption within all spheres of government is a major concern.
- Will taxation as a punitive measure make any difference to carbon emissions? Moving away from coal in an electricity crisis is detrimental to economic growth. Tax incentives for renewables instead of punitive carbon taxes.
- International agreements in Presidential and municipal spheres need to be transparent and perhaps revised — suspension of climate goals while SA faces an electricity crisis.
See attached for full submission
The Chairperson thanked Dear South Africa and asked the Committee to engage with the presentation.
Mr Singh thanked Dear South Africa for the presentation, and he understood this to be the views of South Africans. He said he was surprised that most South Africans did not support the Bill despite it being progressive. He said he could understand not supporting aspects of the Bill does not support the Bill at all was confusing. Mr Singh said in terms of the demographics of the Bill and the 11 000 people he saw that with Gauteng and KZN, the majority of the rejectors were retired people. He asked what one could read into the fact that the majority of the rejectors in those two provinces were retired people.
Mr Dlamini wanted to know the methodology to obtain the responses from the citizens, where these samples were taken, and which cities were targeted. This was to understand the places that It went and the number of people It had met and the methodology It used. He said he was happy that people acknowledged that climate was real and something we were now living with. Mr Dlamini had a problem with the suggestion that stated that government needed to stop consulting with people on the ground to get more information and contributions. He asked if it would have an issue with the government continuing to engage with the people on the ground to get more information because there were public hearings and people needed to be able to do this. He asked if it were able to be the ones to provide more information about engagement on what the government was supposed to be able to do.
The Chairperson asked if it would have been better for Dear South Africa if the people it engaged were first asked if climate change had impacted them. He asked if this would have provided context for Its support or rejection of the Bill. The Chairperson said as people who were not affected by climate change, it would see the Bill as irrelevant. He said them if it had asked as a first if it had been affected by climate change, the context of Its support would have been different.
The Chairperson asked if he was correct in saying these were anti-government folks. He said he was not getting the context fundamentally of what necessitated Its rejection of the Bill. He asked if Dear South Africa understood in discharging Its constitutional obligation, the Committee was required to do what it was currently doing. He said these consultations were not a tick box exercise, Bill or final Act. This had to be done so that this could be passed and be a final piece of law that would affect everyone. He asked Mr Hutchinson if It understood all of this.
Mr Hutchison suggested an opportunity to provide a written response because he wanted to pose these questions to the participants as he thought they were valid. He said the constitutional obligation was extended; it was not just the constitutional obligation to get public participation in the formulation of the Bill, but it was also in the context of the Bill to provide a better life and healthy environment for all. This came down to Chapter 2 of the Constitution which dealt with human rights. He said this was a good question and it bounced off the question the Chairperson asked if the participants were affected by climate change. Mr Hutchinson said this would be a great question to ask as it allowed for the participants to think within the context of whether it was affected by climate change. This would be in the sense that the participants would have to understand what climate change is and what it has affected them. He said he did not believe that people understood how climate change impacted things around them as it was not just the simple question of is the weather is good today. It went deeper than this and depended on Its employment, financial and location status within South Africa’s diverse geographical climate.
Mr Hutchinson said the participants were not anti-government and that he had seen people supporting this Bill. Dear South Africa held no bias and did not oppose the government. The Dear South Africa platform has run for five years and has presented itself as a facility that helps governments be better by engaging the public and assisting in formulating good policies by involving the public in this process.
He said it was not anti-government however, there was a huge financial component to this Bill through taxation and therefore it would attract a crowd tired of paying taxes but seeing no benefit from it. He said whether this was anti-government or anti-taxation was a different question.
Mr Hutchinson asked if he could pose these questions to the participants and send them to the Committee at a date stipulated by the Committee. He said this would be a great opportunity to provide feedback for the participants.
Mr Hutchinson responded to Mr Singh’s question about the participants' demographics and why the participants in Gauteng and KZN had a lot to say. He said this was the nature of public participation. Dear SA saw a high participation level on all projects from retired people with greater knowledge and took the time to review policies. He said wisdom comes with age - they were not afraid to express Its comments and gave succinct answers.
In terms of it being in Gauteng and KZN, he said it was also in the Western Cape and simply due to the population density within those areas.
Mr Hutchinson, in terms of Mr Dlamini’s question on the methodology, said he sent a copy of the presentation along with a summary and pdf of all the public comments. He encouraged the Committee to go through it. Dear South Africa had broken down the methodology which was quite simple. It took the Bill and put it on Its platform, and it was then broken down into a clause-by-clause analysis provided in the memorandum of objectives. Dear South Africa then presented a drop-down selection based on the different chapters and clauses within the Bill. The first question was B-road such as Do you support the Bill and the answers that could be provided were yes, no or maybe or yes, no or not fully. People were then asked to provide a reason for their choice. People were also asked to select one of the clauses or all of the above and then provide their comments. Dear South Africa would then capture the participants' demographics, where they lived, employment status etc.
He said that this was presented countrywide and in the summary document, there would be a breakdown of the participants across the country and around 12 500 people had their say on this campaign.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Hutchinson and said a follow-up would be of great assistance and perhaps the participants as individuals could appear to provide insight into Its comments. He said this could be helpful and some of the questions the Committee asked Mr Hutchinson were perhaps difficult as a particular survey guided him. A survey was interested in whether participants supported the Bill and that perhaps there was not enough time for Mr Hutchinson to discuss whether climate change impacted participants.
The Chairperson appreciated the feedback and said it would help the Committee arrive at a particular determination.
Ms Mbatha said she would love it if Dear South Africa gave the Committee the questionnaire it used. She said this was because she was trying to ascertain if this was qualitative or quantitative research. She asked how they structured Its questions and decided on its research sample. Ms Mbatha said this was because there were so many questions and it was useful for them to provide its questionnaire so the Committee could understand how it was structured in detail. Was it quantitative, qualitative or a research report? She said she was confused as Mr Hutchinson had referred to it as a campaign report.
Mr Hutchinson said he was typing the website link to the campaign in the meeting chat. In clicking the link, the Committee would see the campaign and the questions exactly as the participants would have seen them. There was also an information page with all the information on the campaign, the comments from the participants that were provided could all be downloaded, and a summary report and a copy of the presentation were also available.
The Chairperson thanked Mr Hutchinson and said he needed to continue taking an interest in these discussions. He said perhaps when the Committee was in Mr Hutchinson’s province, it would be interesting to activate them so it could present to the Committee Its thoughts on the necessity of the Bill. The Chairperson called on the Agricultural Research Council (ARC).
Dr Alanna Rebelo, Senior Researcher, ARC, introduced herself and thanked Committee for the opportunity. Dr Rebelo noted although she was an employee of the ARC, she was making a submission in her capacity.
Agricultural Research Committee (ARC) submission on the Climate Change Bill
This Bill has the potential to do a lot of good, and the importance of nature in underpinning both the resilience of society (enabling us to adapt) and the ability to mitigate climate impacts comes through strongly in Chapter 1. However, the rest of the Bill is rather vague, especially around the types of interventions and programmes that will be endorsed, and not enough emphasis is placed on ensuring that sufficient ecological expertise is included in the various processes at various levels to ensure that these are appropriate for the context, and will do more good than harm. This is critical if the aim is really to bring about change that will be just, equitable and transformative and help us build a more resilient society.
See attached for full submission
The Chairperson thanked Dr Rebelo and invited the Committee to engage with the presentation.
Mr Singh said he appreciated Dr Rebelo's commitment to making this presentation and congratulated her on the new addition to her family. He said it needed to take serious note of the interventions by Dr Rebelo and as It discussed in the Committee there were specific recommendations made. He said all he could say was that serious notes needed to be taken of the presentation.
Ms Mbatha thanked the Chairperson and Dr Rebelo for the presentation. She said that the presentation was straightforward, especially about ecologists being part of the climate change bill and other areas. She said that she knew when there was a new development, those plans needed to be approved and whence checking those plans, Dr Rebelo needed to look at the signature of the specialist such as the geologist etc. This was so that the timeframe of the building must not be less than 100 years.
Ms Mbatha said the officials usually somewhere and somehow bypass those and find out after disasters that during heavy rains, people's houses were flooding. Their farms are flooding and, in most cases, farmers whose crops were flooded could not breathe and then die. Also, if there is too much heat, the crops die.
Ms Mbatha said she was not sure if this Committee or the Minister of DFFE, who sat on the Presidential Climate Change Commission, could take up these issues with Commission. She said this should be the Minister's task as this Committee was not a part of the Commission.
Ms Mbatha said she was happy about the issue of whether the report was scientific. She said that once a report was written it needed to cite sources that back up the report as scientific research. She was happy that Dr Rebelo had raised this issue because the other two reports were not scientific. In the end, this would mislead the Committee because all reports had to be done following the procedures and regulations of research and had to be published. Ms Mbatha also said it needed to be based on scientific evidence so that the results and interventions from these reports could be used and implemented.
Ms Mbatha said non-scientific reports made engaging or even benchmarking with other scientific reports difficult. She said the Committee needed to review presentations before they were presented to ascertain whether they were scientific or not to avoid misleading. She said that one could not claim that elderly people were not concerned with climate because it was obvious that people did not live in the areas most affected by climate or know what climate change is. She said that there was proper awareness before, like when the Committee went to public hearings, so people could understand what was wanted from them.
She said that she hoped those who had presented here learned that scientific reports were needed, not just campaign reports.
The Chairperson said he was happy that most of the presenters were still present and encouraged them to have separate engagements outside those that the Committee facilitated. He said that it all saw the changes in the rainfall patterns as usually, people who had birthdays in May would know it was meant to be getting colder and not raining more. It had been raining in Gauteng for the past two days. There were also heatwaves and an increase in floods. The Chairperson noted that it had been suggested the DFFE keep Its presentations simple. This was so people could understand and there was no need to repeatedly explain the same thing. The other point that was made was that the legislation should not be vague.
The Chairperson asked how ecologists would want to be incorporated into the overall Bill as individual South Africans or as part of an institution or organisation.
Dr Rebelo thanked the Committee for Its questions. She said the question on how it wanted to be incorporated was a good question. She responded that the reason that she raised this issue was that often ecologists were excluded from these discussions and engineers and climate change scientists who sat in labs were instead included. Dr Rebelo said the work done in labs was important but what was often excluded was people who understood nature. In terms of how it wanted ecologists included explicitly, she said for the panel outlined in Chapter 2 of the Bill, if there was a list of expertise included, she suggested that ecologists were explicitly added there as well. She said if other fields however were not included, she would not expect ecologists to be the only ones to be mentioned. Dr Rebelo said it was just to mention that leadership should not forget when putting together panels that those fields also needed to be included.
Dr Rebelo said concerning engagements, the ARC was a parastatal and was there to assist the government. Therefore, it was always engaging closely with DFFE regarding projects and plans. They were happy to continue these engagements.
The Chairperson thanked Dr Rebelo. He asked to now move to the Climate Justice Charter Movement (CJCM) presentation.
Mr Charles Simane, an Activist at the Climate Justice Charter Movement (CJCM), thanked the Chairperson and greeted him. Mr Simane proceeded with his presentation.
Climate Justice Charter Movement submissions on the Climate Change Bill [B9 – 2022]
- The Climate Justice Charter Movement are concerned with section 8 subsection 2 of the Bill which says that “Sections 17 and 19 of the Intergovernmental Relations Framework Act apply to a
- Provincial Forum on Climate Change.”
- Section 21, subsection 3 of this Bill is shocking and extremely disappointing. The National Greenhouse Gas Trajectory cannot be based on an outdated and abandoned 2015 Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC).
- The Bill should not legitimise Carbon budgets. It is a false solution!
- 2050 is not a scientific target.
- Section 29 subsection 3 of this Bill is insufficient for public participation.
- Civil society is not empowered to object to exercising a power emanating from
- this Bill.
- Even worse is the fact that the Bill says in ‘appropriate circumstances’, the Minister, MEC or Mayor may allow interested parties to make oral submissions and objections. This then beggars the question, in what circumstance is public participation inappropriate in a democracy?
- Therefore, the Climate Justice Charter Movement proposes that once an objection has been made, the Minister, MEC or Mayor must respond to that objection within 30 days before exercising a power emanating from this Bill and must justify why the power will be exercised despite objections to it.
- The offences and penalties set out in section 32 of this Bill are not enough to serve as deterrence. The offences are based on Section 49B (2) of the National Environmental Management Act
- The Bill must stipulate a harsher penalty. Failure to abide by an allocated carbon budget (false solution) and failure to implement a greenhouse gas mitigation plan must result in a fine of 10% of earnings in the financial year where the violation was made
- this Bill should not be silent on mitigating the impacts of the climate crisis on our Agriculture. The fact is, South Africa is a starving country. A study by Ipsos for the Centre for Social Development in Africa based at the University of Johannesburg found that 46% of South Africans are experiencing hunger. The climate crisis is worsening this situation. Globalised and export-oriented neoliberal agriculture has failed; sectoral emissions cannot fix it. Only through food sovereignty pathways that produce food through agroecological farming, delinked from globalised corporate control, can South Africa have a food system that materialises the right to food.
See attached for full submission
The Chairperson thanked CJCM for Its presentation and asked the Committee to engage. He said he suspected that Committee were preparing to join other mini-plenaries.
Mr Singh thanked the Chairperson and said the presentation was once again relevant as it considered the issues from this morning that the Committee had not considered. He said this was because these were real community issues. Mr Singh suggested, like with the last presentation, that It go through this one with a fine comb and extract areas that could improve legislation, particularly with community participation. As well as the role of various levels of political office bearer both in the national and provincial spheres.
Mr Singh asked if CJCM wanted to expand on the particular issue of the role of political office bearers and the role of communities. What was CJCM’s suggestion as a more meaningful role that communities could play moving forward?
Mr Simane said this was important because if communities were left behind. He added especially those that were vulnerable, lacked resources and were at the forefront of the climate crises were left behind the Bill would be shallow. This is because the Bill would not be based on people's lived experiences. The CJCM emerged from campaigning with drought-affected communities long before day zero was announced in Cape Town. He said there were several communities across the country, especially in rural areas, who were living on the perpetual verge of day zero. He said it was through talking with these communities and working with them that CJCM developed as a movement.
Mr Simane said even with the Climate Change Bill, there needed to be engagement with communities at the forefront of the climate crises. It should not be limited to academics and people’s lived experience had to drive the Bill.
Ms Mbatha wanted to clarify that when there were public hearings, the target audience was mostly affected people and in all public participation meetings, it transported communities and targeted mostly affected areas.
She said this needed to be corrected because the presentation looked like it did not target the most affected. She said it dealt with vulnerable communities and before any public participation, a team raised awareness for two weeks. This was so that communities knew what was happening by the time public participation commenced. It was also allowed to speak in Its language as interpreters were present. The issue of public participation was covered.
The Chairperson said he also noted the point Ms Mbatha made.
Mr Simane said most of the communities it was talking about did not know there was a climate change bill. Therefore, it was important for the Committee to enlarge its reach and ensure that work was being done hand in hand with the local government. This was to reach as many people as possible to ensure that people were informed about the processes of Parliament and the Bill which profoundly impacted them. There was always room for the Committee to enlarge Its work and work along with local government and other organisations reaching out to communities, especially in rural areas so that no one was left behind. The climate crisis we were dealing with as much as it impacted everyone; it impacted the most vulnerable the most. This was because these people did not have the resources to mitigate against this. He reiterated that there was room for the Committee to work with movements and civil society to ensure people were reached and made aware of the processes going on in Parliament and that these people partook in these processes. This was not to say that the Committee was not engaging with communities but that there was still room for improvement in reaching a wider audience.
The Chairperson said this was fine and he would take this as constructive criticism. In his view, it aligned with the view of Dr Rebelo that things needed to be kept as simple as possible as the Department and the Committee which was part of the legislature. He agreed but the point that Ms Mbatha had raised was correct. He said it sat and analysed, for instance, this weekend, the Committee was descending to the Northern Cape, where nine people had died due to the heat waves. The heat wave resulted from climate change, so nothing was flipped under the carpet. Nothing was being taken for granted; this included the rainfall patterns. The Committee was not being simplistic about Its approach. It was the best way to create an understanding between the point of view of the legislature, and government which was the Department and stakeholders that were being engaged.
The Chairperson said the Committee would take this as constructive criticism and an effort to enrich the final draft before it became an Act. The Committee would not only be descending to urbanised areas but rural areas too, where the most vulnerable people were.
He said in terms of engaging with people, he suggested that it be kept simple with reduced technical jargon to create an understanding where people could make inputs. The Chairperson accepted this as necessary criticism.
The Chairperson asked if CJCM wanted to take a second bite of the discussion.
Mr Simane said no, and he could not concur more. He thanked the Committee.
The Chairperson thanked CJCM.
Ms Mbatha said this morning, the Committee had requested SALGA to ensure that the municipalities continued with their councillors through the office of the Speaker to conduct public participation on climate change even if the Committee was there for public participation. She said SALGA had agreed and noted that it usually worked with councillors from different areas. The Committee worked with councillors, mayors, speakers and organisations dealing with climate change and participated in public participation.
The Chairperson thanked everyone who participated in today’s deliberations; the views shared were important and valuable. He said this process was proceeding and engagements would be had with people across South Africa to get as many views as possible. The Chairperson said the Committee would perhaps not be able to visit every single corner of the country, but it took note of the stubborn problems South Africans faced. The problems included poverty, inequality, unemployment and, to a larger extent, poor governance.
The Chairperson said It noted the financial problems that South Africans were engaged with. He said it also noted the extreme weather events that the presenters raised, agricultural production failure, freshwater availability, alien invasive species, and forest fires. The Chairperson said all the issues raised today were issues that Committee was seized with and assisting on. The Committee wanted to create a responsive strategy that was developed, needs-driven, evidence-based, transformational and cost-effective. This strategy also needed to integrate all spheres.
The Chairperson said everyone else needed to play an important role in ensuring it came up with a solid final piece of legislation to build South Africa’s climate preserve for future generations.
The Chairperson said the Committee would go to three different Northern Cape regions this weekend. The Committee still needed to go to the Free State and the North West to complete the work It had started there. He said after this, the Committee would be going to the Western Cape should there be a need.
He said in terms of the Committee programme, there was another set of virtual submissions to the Committee scheduled for 16 May 2023, followed by another on 23 May 2023, a physical session in Cape Town. There would also be other submission sessions on 26 May and 30 May, 2023.
The Chairperson said the Committee was consulting as widely as possible. He said this was not the end of the final touch engagement would continue until there were many views and concerns heard. He said these views would hopefully be sustained and sustainable, but no views were wrong as the Committee was not perfect.
The Chairperson thanked everyone.
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