Environmental Affairs and Tourism Budget Vote: Department briefing


24 February 2005
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Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


24 February 2005

Ms E Thabethe (ANC) and Rev P Moatshe (ANC)

Documents handed out:
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism Budget 2005-2006
Department budget presentation: Biodiversity and Conservation
Department presentation: Administration and Support
Department presentation: Social Responsibility and Projects
Department presentation: Tourism Branch

The Director-General of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism briefed the Committee on the Department’s 2005-2006 budget and gave an overview of the main sources of revenue and areas of expenditure. The Deputy Director-Generals of the six programmes then gave a more detailed outline of the budget for each programme. Discussion of the budget by Members focused on the potential of tourism for job creation and skills development, service delivery, poverty alleviation and assistance to small business owners.

The Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Mr M Van Schalkwyk, said that this year, long-term Fishing Rights Allocations would be dealt with on 1 March 2005, and the draft Fisheries Policy would be announced. The Minister also announced the Members who would serve on the National Environmental Advisory Forum.

The Director-General, Mr C Olver, outlined the overall budget for the Department. The allocation for the upcoming financial year was just over R1.7 billion, which he felt was an adequate level of funding for the Department. The budget was divided between the six programme branches, which were Administration, Environmental Quality and Protection, Marine and Coastal Management, Tourism, Biodiversity and Conservation, and Social Responsibility and Projects. Tourism and Social Responsibility and Projects had been allocated the largest percentage of the budget. In terms of economic classification, the bulk of the allocations were transfers of various types. Overall expenditure, personnel expenditure, capital expenditure and poverty relief figures were also covered.

Ms P Yako, Chief Operations Officer, outlined the budget for the Administration branch. This was a support programme dealing with departmental logistics and management. This programme was allocated R143 million and would continue to monitor compliance with relevant policies, work on improved oversight, improved resource efficiency, improved customer service, promote skills development in environment and tourism and promote sustainable development.

Ms Thabethe asked why two of the public entities had not reported back with their budgets and why international tourism was getting the bulk of the transfers.

Mr Bouwer, the Chief Financial Officer, said that as of September 2004, the Auditor-General had not audited the Marine Resource Fund for the previous two years. The current audit should be finalised in March 2005, at which point the final financial report would be submitted to Parliament. JOSCO had been de-listed as a public entity, but financial statements could be submitted to the Committee if need be.

Mr A Mokoena (ANC) asked for more clarity on what was included in ‘compensation of employees.’

Ms Yako said that ‘compensation of employees’ dealt with salaries and associated personnel costs.

The Director-General said that it was the entire personnel budget, and was made up primarily of salaries but included pensions, medical aid contributions, performance bonuses and housing allowances.

Rev Moatshe said that instilling a culture of accountability was necessary, but wanted more elaboration on what this accountability entailed and more information on what ‘better resource use’ meant.

Ms Yako said that accountability included reporting to Parliament, responding to queries from the public and investigating any problems. Better resource use meant the principle of maximising resources of any kind.

An opposition Member asked why the amount transferred to provinces and municipalities was so small and how it was distributed.

Mr Bouwer, the Chief Financial Officer, said that the municipal transfer was mainly given to Cape Town and Pretoria for regional services council levies. Other than that there was no transfer to provinces and municipalities.

Another opposition Member said that there was a need to capacitate local municipalities in terms of environmental management. The R160 000 allocation to municipalities was insufficient for meeting their needs.

Ms Thabethe asked if the allocation to municipalities was sufficient to allow them to implement last year’s Air Quality Bill and what was projected for job creation.

Ms Yako said that issues of poverty relief were dealt with in Programme 6: Social Responsibility and Projects. She said that the allocation to municipalities was not a transfer but a regional services council levy incurred by the municipalities. The issue of the Air Quality Bill was dealt with in Programme 2: Environmental Quality and Protection.

Ms N Khunou (ANC) asked whether the budget dealt with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

The Director-General said that Programme 6 dealt with the EPWP. Provincial and local government transfers had recently been systematised and put into the Division of Revenue Bill. This created formula-driven grants for provinces and municipalities so these were no longer itemised on the budget. When introducing the Air Quality Act, there was discussion of an annual fee for polluting companies that would go to the local authorities to help fund the implementation of the Act. In the final Air Quality Bill this was not included, but may be dealt with separately at a later date.

Ms Yawitch presented the budget for the Environmental Quality and Protection branch. Key areas of activity included managing and preventing the negative impact of all significant developments, reducing and managing waste, involvement in climate change and improving air quality. The budget for this programme was R196 million.

Mr P Wilson presented the Marine and Coastal Management branch budget. This programme’s activities included the allocation of fishing rights, developing harbours and aquaculture, improving Blue Flag beaches, presenting the Coastal Zone Bill, expanding the field of marine science, increasing participation and leadership in regional programmes and improving monitoring and compliance with regulations. The programme budget was R341 million.

Dr P Matlou presented the Tourism branch budget. This programme was responsible for creating the conditions for sustainable tourism and development. This included promoting and monitoring quality and responsible tourism, promoting black economic empowerment, aligning public and private investment activities, working more closely with other government departments and African countries and strengthening international marketing. The total budget was R403 million.

The Biodiversity and Conservation programme was presented by Mr F Mketeni. This programme worked to preserve South Africa’s biological and cultural heritage by establishing World Heritage Sites, combating desertification, implementing the National Biodiversity Framework to be published in April 2005 and establishing a frontier conservation programme.

Ms Yako presented the final programme, Social responsibility and Projects, which worked within the framework of the EPWP. It was meant to encourage participation in tourism and the environment through job creation and skills development. To do so, this programme would create 12 000 jobs, 50 learnerships and would work on skills development. This branch also funded tourism products and routes and rehabilitated wetlands, rivers and lakes. All of the EPWP projects for the coming year had already been identified.

Mr Mokoena suggested that a permanent fund be established for fishermen instead of giving sporadic allocations. This would help them get established, provide access to a regular loan system and remove pressure from the Marine and Coastal Management branch. The Biodiversity and Conservation programme was underfunded and there did not appear to be provision for land claims, which could account for large expenditure.

Mr C van Rooyen (ANC) said that all of the programmes had budgeted for ‘consultants and contractors’ and asked for clarification on what this included. He also asked for clarification on the amount budgeted to the Marine and Coastal Management division.

Mr G Morgan (DA) said the growth in the poverty relief programme was beneficial, but felt that it deprived the other programme areas. Increased funding would be particularly beneficial in the tourism sector, as tourism created more jobs. He felt that the Department was increasingly becoming a welfare department.

Ms R Ndzanga (ANC) asked for clarification on long-term fishing rights. Fishermen had complained that the application forms were too complicated and Ms Ndzanga asked if the forms could be simplified or if assistance could be provided.

Ms J Chalmers (ANC) asked if there was any overlap in programming between the Environmental Quality and Protection programme and the Marine and Coastal Management Programme. She also asked whether the interest accrued on investments automatically went into programme needs and expenses and for information on the HIV/AIDS programme.

Ms Semple (DA) commented that there was little emphasis in the marketing programme on promoting beach holidays and asked whether the Blue Flag beaches were aimed at the international market as well as the domestic market. She asked what goods and services were included in Programme 6 expenditure and what the priority nodes in Programme 6 were. She said that although the National Parks were not the respondent to the land claims in the parks, they would be financially responsible for settling the claim and asked how they would do that.

Mr Papitau asked if the Department had a clear policy on skills development and whether it worked in isolation from or in co-ordination with the appropriate SETAs. He also asked about the role of women and young people in the development of the industry and capacity building. Out of 12 000 jobs to be created, 300 would be permanent and he asked what the nature of the remaining jobs would be. The people who stand to benefit the most from this programme should be the rural poor, young people and women as this would contribute to economic development and sustainability.

Ms Khunou asked if efforts at improving customer service and accountability included service in various languages and whether the learnerships that the Department was creating would lead to absorption through job provision. She also asked what criteria would be used for selecting priority nodes and said that some of the marine and coastal acronyms were unclear. The level of donations in the parks was very high and she asked where that fit into the budget.

An opposition Member asked about the status of the observer programme in relation to quota holders. She also asked what monitoring systems were in place at harbours to oversee landings, whether land rehabilitation was done in conjunction with other departments and how job creation would be monitored.

Ms B Dlulane (ANC) asked what impact had been seen in the training programme for Air Quality Officers and whether any donor funds had been sourced. She also asked what relationship there was with the SETAs in terms of training funds for small business quota holders.

Mr L Greyling (ID) asked for information on research on the impact of international negotiating models for greenhouse gas emissions. The EPWP was meant to increase the natural asset base of disadvantaged communities and the programme was useful in enhancing the livelihood potential of those communities.

The Director-General said that Mr Greyling had responded to Mr Morgan’s question and that the large allocation for job creation was used for projects that built a natural resource base and created sustainable jobs through tourism and natural resources. The allocation to National Parks was the departmental contribution to the National Parks budget, which was supplemented by its own revenue. The Department of Land Affairs was responsible for compensation in the land reform programme.

Ms Yawitch said that her branch and the Marine and Coastal Management branch were co-ordinating closely on areas of common interest. Donor funding had been sourced for Air Quality Officer training, and training would be implemented across the country. Various different models were being used in international negotiations to try to quantify emissions and South Africa was examining which model would be most advantageous to its own socio-economic interests and sustainability.

Mr Wilson said that some of the marine issues would be further dealt with at the 1 March 2005 meeting. It had not been easy to get support from the SETAs for small business funding. Other structures had provided support to small quota holders in various ways, but it was clear that small businesses needed more support than simply the allocation of the quotas. New forms for fishermen and small business owners were being developed, help desks would be established at various locations serving customers in the language of their choice and staff would visit communities where there had been difficulties to explain the procedures further. There was an observer programme to inspect 10% of all the trips of high seas vessels to ensure that they complied with regulations. Vessels were not allowed to land their fish until they indicated the harbour in which they were registered to the harbourmaster, and they could not discharge any fish until an inspector was present. The MRRF functioned as a public entity and raised its own funds. This year, the Department was permitted to use the interest earned on funds paid against the purchase of vessels, but this was an unusual case. The Blue Flag emblem was used in international, and not domestic, tourism advertising.

Ms Yako said that there were thirteen rural and eight urban nodes, selected on the basis of poverty. The HIV/AIDS programme was an internal departmental programme that focused on awareness and specific projects, such as posters and condom dispensers. There was a plan to move into voluntary testing and to provide support and counselling to those affected. Consultancy fees varied but included payments to the Auditor-General, payments to the State Information Technology Agency and costs for the management of vessels that were used in conjunction with external partners. Creating permanent jobs was a challenge because most of the jobs would be created during the construction phase. The EPWP was linked to other departments and other programmes such as the Tourism Enterprise Programme, which assisted with skills and support once businesses had been established. The Department had developed its own system to monitor the number of jobs created, and statistics would be collected as the projects were implemented to help project implementers stick to their targets. Not all of the learnerships would lead to jobs, but learnership recipients were prioritised for absorption.

Dr Matlou said that South Africa was marketed mainly as a cultural and biodiverse destination, and that beaches were not strongly developed. Goods and Services costs covered exhibitions and funding for projects such as the Tourism Enterprise Programme. There was a plan to train 50 000 foreign language tour guides as part of the 2010 Soccer World Cup programme.

Mr Mketeni said that public entities did fundraising and were accountable in their budgeting to their donors. Those funds were, in most cases, earmarked for specific projects. The funding they received from the Department provided them with a platform from which they could go out and fundraise.

The meeting was adjourned.


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