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ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE Mr D Olifant (ANC)
6 September 2005
COMMITTEE REPORTS ON EASTERN CAPE VISIT AND COMMITTEE PROGRAMME: ADOPTION
Documents handed out:
ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
Mr D Olifant (ANC)
Committee Draft Report on visit to Mthatha and Port St Johns, 10-12 August 2005
Committee Draft Report on visit to Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens, 16 August 2005
The Committee Draft Reports on their visit to poverty alleviation projects in Mthatha and Port St Johns on 10-12 August, and to the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens on 16 August 2005, were adopted with minor technical amendments. This was also the case with the Committee Programme for the fourth quarter.
It was further agreed that Eskom should brief the Committee on the court case regarding the Pebblebed Modular Reactor on one day soon, and by Earth Life on another day, although these would not be public hearings. The Committee would also follow up on the serious problems seen in St Lucia. The launch of the Sutherland SA Large Telescope (SALT) would be publicised to other departments.
The Committee had visited poverty alleviation projects in Mthatha and Port St Johns in the Eastern Cape on 10-12 August. Spelling errors in the report were identified for correction.
Members noted that the Eastern Cape visit had been very well organised from the Committee side but very poorly by provincial government. When meeting with the Executive Mayors of OR Tambo and Port St Johns District Municipalities, a number of challenges, opportunities and concerns had been raised. Some of the major problems that inhibited eco-tourism related to non-utilisation of indigenous knowledge in project development, lack of capacity for community participation, underdevelopment of the airport and lack of investment in tourism and poverty alleviation projects. However, there had also been the creation of tourist attraction sites such as the Nelson Mandela Museum in Qunu, and Mandela’s birthplace in Mvelo.
The delegation had visited poverty relief projects, including Mthatha Greening and Cleaning, and the Siyqola Recyclers Community in the OR Tambo District Municipality that wasfunded by the Department’s Expanded Public Works Programme. About 300 people, mostly women, benefited from these projects.
The delegation had not been able to visit poverty alleviation projects in Port St Johns due to ineffective communication between the provincial department and district council. Members recommended that to improve future co-ordination of oversight visits, there should be effective communication between the provincial department and district municipalities, and that proper representation of departmental officials in formal meetings should be improved. It was also recommended that the OR Tambo District Municipality ensure that the damaged sewerage pipes be repaired in order to ensure the successful implementation of the Mthatha Greening and Cleaning Project. The Department should brief the Committee on the status of poverty alleviation projects across all the provinces. The Committee would still visit Port St Johns. More should be done to develop the airport in Mthatha.
The delegation had also visited the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Roodepoort on 16 August 2005 to interact with officials from the SA National Biodiversity Institute, to monitor management of the Botanical Garden and its conservation efforts, and to receive input on progress with the ‘Greening of the Nation Project’. The delegation had enjoyed the beauty of the Witpoortjie Waterfall, landscaped indigenous gardens and the nature reserve along the Roodekrans Ridge.
The delegation recommended that the Committee should invite the South African National Biodiversity Institute to brief members on greening of the nation project, climate change, and other issues relating to botanical gardens. More marketing should be done to provide exposure and access, especially to black people. The Committee would request the Mayor of Johannesburg Metropolitan Council to improve the signage to the Botanical Gardens. The SA Biodiversity Institute was commended for its work done in training competent botanists from previously disadvantaged communities.
It was agreed that as Ms J Chalmers MP (ANC) had been a champion of botanical gardens for years, she should always be included in visits to botanical gardens. The Committee noted there were plans to develop botanical gardens in all provinces in the future.
The report was adopted subject to spelling errors being corrected.
Mr Olifant said that when visiting Koeberg Power Station earlier in the year, the Committee had held discussions with Mr L Greyling (ID) on air pollution. The question of Pebblebed Modular Reactor had come up. The Committee had been assured that Eskom would come back to the Committee with a briefing on the Pebblebed Modular Reactor, as it could not elaborate on the issue at that point. Mr Olifant also wished other stakeholders to attend.
It was agreed that Eskom should brief the Committee on the court case regarding the Pebblebed Modular Reactor on one day soon, and by EarthLife on another day. The Committee would need to find an appropriate space, but it would not be a public hearing.
The Committee agreed that the launch of the Sutherland Telescope in November was of great interest and should be communicated to other departments.
Ms N Ntuli (ANC) felt that there were still outstanding issues from their last visit to St Lucia. The Chairperson assured her that the serious problems at St Lucia would be still dealt with. The Committee visit had been very short due to budget restraints.
The programme was then adopted with minor technical amendments.
The meeting was adjourned.
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