Environmental Affairs & Tourism Budget

Meeting Summary

A summary of this committee meeting is not yet available.

Meeting report


13 June 2001

Acting Chairperson: Mr Mokoena

Relevant Documents
Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism: Estimates of National Expenditure 2001: Budget Vote 26

The budget expenditure was presented focusing on project funding. In view of some gaps in the presentation it was agreed that the Committee needed other stakeholders (such as the South African Agulhus, SA Tourism Board, South African National Parks Board and the National Botanical Institute) other than the Department to comment on projects and funds allocated for the projects.

The Committee did not adopt the Committee Report on Fishing Areas of the Western Cape as it could be regarded as one-sided because there was no input from the Minister.

Mr Bouwer, the Chief Financial Officer, gave an outline of the budget for the Department in different categories. There was a 24% increase in vessels procurement. Poverty relief projects will increase in coming years. Transfer payments had a 50% share of the budget. Finally, the increase in the budget was inflation-adjusted by the Treasury.

Environmental Planning and Co-ordination
Dr N Tsenwa, acting Director General presented on Environmental Planning and Co-ordination. The objective of this aspect was to ensure efficient planning and co-ordination for sustainable development.

She outlined the Department's project for year 2000/2001 as follows:
-Firstly, the process of implementing environmental reporting through statistics and indicators was underway.
-Secondly capacity building was in progress and manifested in projects such as Local Agenda 21, law reforms, and bidding for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) to be hosted in 2002. Planning manifested through the receipt of Environmental Implementation Plans (EIPs) and Environmental Management Plans (EMPs).
-Thirdly, quality and protection of the environment was taking place through projects such as plastic bag recycling, tyre recycling, the R10m Thor chemical clean up strategy, raising community awareness, asbestos management strategy, medical waste strategy. These projects were attracting donor funds and created employment as part of the poverty relief by the Department.
-Fourthly, biodiversity and heritage would ensure efficient management and sustainable use and equitable sharing of South Africa's national biodiversity through:
National biodiversity strategy and action plan
Classification of protected areas
Expansion of protected areas
Consolidation of protected areas
Integrating tools such as biosphere reserves, World Heritage Convention
Job creation
Working closely with partners such as the National Botanical Institute.

Some of the plans for this year were: Listing four new World Heritage Sites being Mapungubwe, Marian Islands, Fredevort Dome and Cape Floristic Kingdom. R13m was being earmarked for poverty relief; R8m earmarked for land acquisition as finalised with the South African National Parks Board.

Mr van Schalkwyk, Chief Director Corporate Services, stated that the objective of this aspect was to manage the Department through:
-Providing strategic leadership
-Administering poverty relief programmes
-Financial management of the Department operations
-Formulation policy to determine and ensure the working methods and procedures of the Department.

The main aim was to transform the Department through programmes such as skill development and employment equity. The Department is committed to the Batho Pele (People First) principle.

Marine and Coastal Management
Mr Kleinschmidt briefed the Committee on Marine and Coastal Management. The objective of this aspect was to guide the conservation and sustainable development of coastal marine resources. He presented the statistics and emphasised the following points:
-A third of the budget (R56m) was on salaries and this indicated substantial employment.
-The SA Agulhus (government research vessel) needed to be overhauled and now budgeted for.
-Discussions on the allocation of fishing rights were underway as part of poverty relief strategy.

Weather Bureau
Mr Madison, Project Manager of the South African Weather Bureau highlighted the statistics on the budget with no further explanation. He however, stated that there was constant research to improve forecasting methods and research.

Dr Tsenwa highlighted the following points on the aspect of tourism:
-There was a R15,7m funding from the Spanish government which would be used for bursaries on students in hospitality fields of study; education and training on tourism and hospitality industry; resource centres on tourism.
-The largest funding of R150m would be used on international tourism and marketing.
-There was a need to formulate policy on the impact of HIV/AIDS on tourism.
-The effect of immigration policy on tourism had to be examined.
-Undertake research on domestic marketing and awareness campaigns.

Mr van Niekerk asked about the plastic recycling issue. What was the role of other players in the Kgalakgadi establishment? Is poverty relief of the Department just "window dressing".

Dr Tsenwa replied that there was progress in the plastic bags issue and that it was in the Government Gazette for comments. NEDLAC was assessing the socio-economic impact of stopping the manufacturing of plastic bags. A study of this impact was in process and results were expected at the end of September.
Poverty relief was not window dressing. Statistics were provided on the poverty relief budget. She promised to give the Committee the complete report on this matter.
On the Kgalakgadi case the role of the government was simply based on agreements reached at international level. The government leads such agreements and not business.

Ms Versfeld asked if there was any existing legislation on plastic bags. Why was the Committee not part of events hosted by the Department and yet they are expected to agree to the budget?

Dr Tsenwa replied by saying that events depend on priorities and a place at which they were hosted.

Mr Kgware commented that in his province they speak of "culture and tourism" yet the Department speaks of "environment and tourism". Why was there this discrepancy?

Dr Tsenwa said that it was the provinces' prerogative to see how it strategies its environment and tourism and that at national level there are no discrepancies.

Mr Kleinschmidt interjected during the discussion and suggested that there was a need to invite other stakeholders to come and report to the Committee. The house unanimously agreed.

Rev. Chabaku asked if the Department's funding was dependent on outside donors.

Dr Tsenwa explained that there were two kinds of funding. One was bilateral and given to spread over a number of years. The other was linked to Conventions and specific to certain projects.

Ms Versfeld asked if the personnel part of the budget included the Minister's salary.

Mr van Niekerk asked if there was any support by corporate sources at national level.

Mr van Schalkwyk said that there was support at both provincial and national level.

The Chairperson asked the frequency with which the Department used consultants and alluded to the fact that it was a waste of money to employ consultants instead of transferring skills to members.

Mr van Schalkwyk said that the Department tries not to employ consultants.

Mr van Niekerk asked why the government bought patrol vessels when there were available ones and asked about the future of the South African Agulhus.

Mr van Schalkwyk said that that four such vessels were half the cost of the existing one frigid. Frigid were heavy and expensive, and that it was cheaper to buy purpose-built vessels. On the question of the Agulhus he stated that it would be in operation for the next twenty years and has outsourcing and procurement contracts.

Ms Versfeld asked for the budget of harbours and wanted to know where the confiscated good are taken. Who will fund the Langabaan beach erosion if the money was available?

Mr van Niekerk said that the budget for harbours was R12m for this year and that the Langabaan beach erosion still needs investigation because it was not part of the Department's plan. The Department does not sell confiscated marine goods but keeps them. However, in principle, such money would be granted to institutes such as the Medical Science Research Foundation.

Mr Versfeld asked what was meant by international development. Is the Department of Safety and Security involved in safety aspects of tourism?

Dr Tsenwa replied that international development refers to projects such as South Africa's input on Millennium Africa Plan and being involved in bilateral development strategies and assistance in exchange programmes. The Department of Safety and Security was involved in safety aspects of tourism.

Mr van Niekerk asked about Department liaison with provinces. Why was there a delay in using the R15m from CITA.?

Dr Tsenwa replied that strategies are underway to communicate with provinces. The delay with the CITA funds was that business plans are still being developed by consultants from Spain.

Report on Study Tour to Fishing Areas of Western Cape

Mr van Niekerk commented that the report would be one-sided with no contribution from the Minister and moved that the report could not be adopted because the process would not be consultative. The house unanimously agreed that the Minister or a representative must be present in the process of adopting the report.

The meeting was adjourned.


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