Briefing on the Transformation in the Department and Environmental Conservation Act Amendment Bill


10 February 1999
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Meeting Summary

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Meeting report


10 February 1999


Documents handed out:

Restructuring & Operational Strategy: Dept. of Environmental Affais & Tourism (see appendix)


Members of Parliament added to the year’s programme. A brief introduction to the Environmental Conservation Act Amendment Bill occurred as well as a briefing on transformation of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism.


A brief discussion ensued and certain additions proposed regarding tourism and joint meetings with other committees was proposed. An updated programme will be available shortly.

The Chairperson introduced Prof. Patrick Fitzgerald, the new Director General for Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. Prof. Fitzgerald said he focused on tourism when he first arrived, as tourism had been neglected and yet tourism has the most potential to create jobs and contribute to economic growth.

With biosafety issues, commercial aspects are often left with agriculture. Despite the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism’s stated role as lead agent, they had not really played that role. However, notwithstanding the manner in which the Department had dealt with the biodiversity convention, after the Columbia meeting, there would still be a year within which Parliament could consider the convention and agree to become bound by it.

This presentation would not be a formal presentation but the Environmental Conservation Act Amendment Bill was distributed for members to look at prior to it being introduced in the House. There had been some delay in the Bill due to technical legal issues which the Department of Land Affairs had raised and Cabinet had sent the Bill back 3 times before it was satisfied. The Environmental Conservation Act Amendment Bill is about world heritage sites, and allows us to put forward sites to the World Heritage Convention. The first 3 proposed sites are the St Lucia Wetlands, the Sterkfontein site and Robben Island. There are assessors in the country who perform assessments for the convention. Part of the assessment includes the governance framework for the sites as well as the environmental and cultural issues. Institutions need to be in place and one of the criteria is that the World Heritage sites must be under national control.

Q. What is the status of Table Mountain?

A. At the time of the proposals, Table Mountain was not being integrated in an integrated way. Other issues were the extent of invader vegetation. However, at the current time, Table Mountain is a good candidate.

Q. What is the effect of Koeberg on the Robben Island Heritage site?

A. The assessors do make comprehensive reports but the Director General was not able to comment on the weight which might be given to nuclear power stations.

Q. How many rounds of application are there, provide some indication of the process?

A. It is a very difficult and complicated process


The Director General has a background in strategic management. He sees transformation as bringing the Department back into line with the environment in which it must work.

Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism is part of the economic cluster of government with the focus on sustainable development. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism has a new role which involves looking at the whole of government: other departments, provinces, local government, whereas in the past, officials concentrated on their own area of expertise to the exclusion of all else.

Globalisation is a key issue. South Africa is entering the global arena, there are numbers of international conventions and they need to be clustered together and skilled people who know how to manage the reporting, evaluating international conventions.

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism needs to be re-engineered to undertake the new demands. It will be moving from trying to tackle everything on its own to a state in which it works with partners (provinces, local authorities, parastatals, donors, private sector, NGO’s, communities).

The Department must play a major role in building capacity of the provinces and must become a major information service.

Cabinet has taken a decision that the Weather Bureau will become a parastatal while an investigation under the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology is currently underway to decide whether the Antarctic programme would also be agentised.

The history of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism indicates that it was made of a number of bits which could not find a common goal, and lacked integration.

The Department has increased responsibilities but does not have huge resources: tourism which has more economic importance than mining, has 12 people, whereas the Department of Mining has hundreds. Africa has assets of billions of dollars in terms of biodiversity.

The structure of the Department has had to be changed and is almost ready to be implemented. The mission and objectives of the Department are reflected on the presentation.

Q1. What is the role of the ministry? Is there a ministerial champion of transformation?

A1. Both ministers have given clear directions that transformation must happen.

Q2. A concern: The Weather Bureau must be transformed even if it is a parastatal; a concern that this won't happen.

A2. If the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism was to restructure the Weather Bureau now, then in 3 months, would go through another restructuring process as part of becoming parastatal. However, it will get transformed as parastatals are part of the state.

Q3. Please explain further: a) environment vs development debate; b) the transformation unit?

A3. If try to defend biodiversity in context of developmental issues (ecotourism income and community participation), then involve more stakeholders and can defend it better.

The Transformation Unit is an elected body of staff members who must advocate, monitor and comment on transformation.

Q4. Disable people are not dealt with; How do we implement training within the Department to ensure representivity of black Africans for example - fisheries. What about enforcement - should the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism do it? There are many accusations of corruption, what about this?

A.4 yes, haven’t had emphasis on disabled. There is a diversity problem in Sea Fisheries and we need to address it. Enforcement: the approach is wrong, we are dealing with chines triads, big poachers - we need to sit with the police and experts. We need a new approach. With regard to corruption, the Director General would like details so that he can deal with it.

Q5. Comment: Weather Science can only be studied at Pretoria University and in Afrikaans

Q5. The course is now available in English

Q6. a)Mass education how do we do on the environment. b)How do we impact on the population, raise awareness regarding waste for example.

Enforcement and education: fishers cannot understand why they must pay a fee to fish even if they don’t catch anything - there is a need for a change in approach and marketing.

A6a. Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism now succeeding in getting environment components into the curriculum.

But can't do it all ourselves and must use better.

Don’t do this ourselves, but play a facilitative/ brokering role. There is an exception which is the cleaner greener campaign which arose out of the job summit (Mr Deacon Mathee has been appointed to co-ordinate that).

the user charge idea is important. The sea is full of lead and nylon. The old paradigm was that nature is free - need to change.

Q7. There are lots of documents - what about implementing them, particularly at local level where there is little capacity?

Q8. We have good legislation - what about implementation? Delivery is it happening?

A7&8: Don’t have answers but must facilitate in partnership to build capacity.

The meeting ended with the chairperson summarising the hope that the committee had after such an impressive performance. She emphasised the need for an inclusive approach e.g. during the wetland celebration, officials, MP’s and children were included but where are the parents?

The meeting adjourned.




10 February 1999


Patrick FitzGerald

Director - General










Paradigm shift from conservation (green issues) for the benefit of a few, to sustainable development (also brown and blue issues) for all - through responsible tourism and effective environmental management

Post 1994 Constitution, policies, legislation and international obligations, call for co-operative governance, new partnerships and thus a totally new approach to the ways of handling information, our financial and human resources and the management of tourism and environmental management

DEA&T structure was unable to facilitate this new role and had to be reengineered to enable itself to respond to these new demands, new paradigms, partnerships and responsibilities.

Transformation and restructuring of DEA&T thus driven by the need to align the department with its mandate and core business and to address issues such as equity and representivity

It is important to note that no changes have been proposed at this stage to the Weather Bureau, since discussions are underway to agentise them. Antarctica and Islands, which will now fall under the Chief directorate Marine and Coastal Management, has also been kept in its present form, but will revisited once further investigations have been completed


Minister Jordan and deputy Minister Mokaba instructed the department in early 1997 to commence with the transformation and restructuring as a matter of urgency

Appointed the Gauteng Provincial Service Commission, under leadership of Prof. Patrick FitzGerald, to assist and advise the department in this process.

UEA&T was established in 1994 in its present form. Initial transformation actions include Jobs for Africa and some restructuring during 1994 and 1995

The Gauteng Provincial Service Commission facilitated a workshop in April 1997, to discuss, plan and agree on the transformation process and issues to be addressed

Some of the most important discussions at the workshop include:

DEA&T need a strategic plan

Team building is necessary Communication needs to be improved

Role in international community to be clarified and managed

Role, functions of department to be clarified within context of concurrent competencies and cooperative governance

Marketing of department is important

Transformation and restructuring needs to be monitored after implementation to allow for further changes

Audit report was then compiled by Gauteng Provincial Service Commission

Points highlighted in the report

Insufficient linkages, integration and coordination exist between different units in the department

Strong political leadership essential to support the department

Components in Cape Town feel disjointed from the department

Communication within department is ineffective

Information flow to all levels within the department not adequate

Representivity policy was not clearly understood by all and the way representivity was being dealt with is problematic

Department does not have an integrated approach to Human Resources development

A strategic workshop was held (May 1997) involving the management to discuss issues and problems, a vision and mission and broad strategic objectives for the


The first five members of the Transformation Unit were selected there and the rest through a democratic process within the department.

Issues highlighted at the workshop included

The divisions along racial lines needs to be addressed

Representivity and equity issues to be addressed

Communication should be improved

Management autonomy to be revisited

Human Resource Management should be restructured

Vacant post issue to be addressed

The structure of the department to be revisited in a holistic and strategic


A separation of transformation issues/responsibilities by previous Director General slowed down process during rest of 1997

In October 1997, Dr Abrahamse and Dr Hanekom, produced a Management Plan which brought all elements of transformation and restructuring into one framework, with a time frame and clear deliverables.

The following four structures were set up at the end of 1997 to ensure that the aims and objectives of transformation will be achieved.

MINMEET A committee consisting of the Minister, deputy Minister, Director General and deputy Directors-General which gives political and strategic guidance to the process.

CORM Core Management A committee consisting of the Director-General, deputy directors-General and the Chief Directors, who is responsible for ongoing management, administration, generation and endorsement of transformation strategies and the implementation of these in the line functions.

TU Transformation Unit democratically elected representatives of the staff of the department who advise, communicate and monitor the transformation process. The TU is chaired by Mr Solly Mosidi, deputy director Environmental Education.

SPIU Strategic Planning and Integration Unit A committee which consisted of the deputy directors-General, with assistance from advisors appointed by the Minister and supported by seconded staff who reviewed all components of the department and developed strategies for the transformation. This committee has now served its purpose and has been dissolved.

In view of the diversity of responsibilities and core business of dea&t, a Strategic Integration directorate is however proposed in the new structure to ensure ongoing coordination of international affairs, facilitate co-operative governance and ensure strategic integration of policies and programmes on the macro level.

A review of all the components in the department during early 1998 was the first major task of SPIU with the involvement of and input by all officials.

All officials of the department, from the people on the weather stations on far away islands to the cleaners, have been participating in the review of their components through workshops, which took place between February and April 1998. The aim of this process was to ensure participation by all in the transformation and to gather information on the needs for change.

The results of these workshops were presented by the different components to the SPIU on a wide range of issues and activities including

achievement of objectives

budget allocation

organisational structure


human resources development

representivity, equity

institutional building

management style

information management

international agreements and obligations



performance measurement

During 1998 other aspects of transformation of dea&t included

Approval of the new National Environmental Management Act , as well as the Marine Living Resources Act by Parliament

Several policy documents were either approved as Government White Papers or Green Papers and discussion documents have been published for comment as well

An agreement was reached with DANCED to financially support the creation of a Capacity Building directorate within the new structure

With the appointment of Prof. FitzGerald as director-General in September 1998, the transformation process gained momentum again and with the input from the review process, a proposed organogram was prepared

Chief directorates discussed this framework and developed a detailed structure from this to enable them to fulfill their responsibilities

The proposed structure had to be trimmed down, to be within the allocated Personnel Budget (1999/2000) for 'approval' by DPSA

The new structure will be tabled before the Minister and deputy Minister for find approval within the next week



The mandate and core business of dea&t is informed by several policy and legal documents which include

The Constitution


The White Paper on Transformation of the Public Service

Batho Phele White Paper

The White Paper on Environmental Management

National Environmental Management Act, 1998

Environment Conservation Act and Amendments,1989

The Biodiversity White Paper

White Paper on Tourism

Tourism in GEAR

Marine Fisheries White Paper

Marine Living Resources Act 1998

White Paper on Integrated Pollution and Waste Management

Climate Change Discussion Document

Coastal Policy Green Paper

The mandate also includes several International Agreements and Conventions to which South Africa is signatory in the field of environment and for which the Department takes the overall responsibility for implementation or management.


Leading environmental management and tourism in the interest of sustainable development for all


Our mission is to contribute to the improvement of the quality of life of all South Africans by

Promoting the sustainable development, utilisation and protection of our natural

and cultural resources

Harnessing the skills, experience and knowledge of the environment of all South


Fostering equitable access to the benefits derived from our natural and cultural resources

Empowering the South African public, communities and organisations through participation, environmental education, capacity building, research and information services

Working together with all relevant stakeholders and spheres of government in the spirit of good governance

Ensuring that all international participation and obligations are undertaken in the context of South Africa's environmental policies and principles

Establishing responsible tourism that ensures environmental sustainability and which contributes to a better quality of life

In the spirit of our obligations in terms of the Constitution, the Department is committed to transparent and accountable processes in fulfilling the above.


Within the given context, the following broad strategic goals will guide the work within the DEA&T and is in line with the new policies and legislation

To ensure responsible tourism business development for the benefit of the people of South Africa

To promote and preserve our biological diversity and cultural heritage

To guide the development and conservation of the coastal and marine environment and ensure the sustainable utilisation of coastal and marine resources

To protect the environment in the interest of the health and well-being of the people of South Africa, through preventing pollution and environmental degradation

To provide environmental information in support of effective environmental management and public participation in environmental governance

To render a meteorological service nationally, regionally and globally

To provide quality professional and strategic services to internal and external

clients and to promote efficiency, effectiveness and propriety of the Department


To accommodate the diverse responsibilities of DEA&T as mentioned above, the following approach was followed in the design of the new structure

The developmental role of DEA&T should be enhanced

The DEA&T should become a knowledge and information organisation. We have to move from managing money and things, to managing knowledge, in order to leverage the resources available to us globally, regionally, nationally and locally

DEA&T needs to provide professional services to the country

A properly designed Information Management System needs to form the basis for the operation and functioning of the new restructured department.

DEA&T should establish and maintain effective networks with other government departments, academic institutions, stakeholders and service providers etc to assist us in performing our functions

The design of the new department will empower and facilitate public-private, public-community and public-private-community relationships

Capacity building for environmental management and tourism to become an important responsibility of the DEA&T

The following Chief Directorates have been created to ensure that the above can be achieved:

















Implementation of transformation driven by CORM and monitored by TU

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEA&T) has a total establishment of 1513 people at the moment with a Universal Personnel Budget (1999/2000) of R128 837 000

The new structure will have more or less 1480 posts and stay within the above mentioned personnel budget

A DEA&T Business Plan to align new objectives with budget (MTEF), will be compiled

Outputs will be monitored and also linked with Performance Agreements

A new organisational culture is being encouraged and developed to give effect to Batho Phele

Structure should not be seen as static, since DEA&T work within complex and changing environment and will have to realign with external environment as needed

The continued support of the Portfolio Committee throughout this process is appreciated




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