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ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND TOURISM PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE
31 October 2006
INDALO YETHU SA NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL AWARENESS CAMPAIGN: BRIEFING
Chairperson: Mr L Zita (ANC)
Documents handed out:
Indalo Yethu - Introduction to SA’s National Environmental Awareness Campaign
Indalo Yethu presented the committee with an introduction to SA’s National Environmental Awareness Campaign. The idea was to create a deliberate link between economic activity and environmental awareness. The public must be seen to be gaining economic value from taking care of the environment. Members seemed a bit disappointed by the lack of information on specific programmes to be initiated but understood that the organisation was newly formed. Concerns were raised as to how budgeted funds were to be spent and the possible duplication of functions with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism. The legality of the department’s Director-General being a board member of Indalo Yethu, while the board was accountable to him, was also questioned and the committee agreed to look into the matter.
Indalo Yehthu presentation
Indalo Yethu representatives, Mr JJ Tabane (Chairperson) and Mr JP Louw (Chief Executive Officer) presented the committee with an introduction to SA’s National Environmental Awareness Campaign. Indalo Yethu was in essence a campaign that seeks to promote the appreciation of responsible environmental action and activism as a crucial part and contributor in the accepted daily lives of all South Africans. Mr Tabane stated that in SA there was a need for a deliberate link between economic activity and environmental awareness. This was in essence the core function of Indalo Yethu.
Mr Louw continued with an explanation on how the concept of Indalo Yethu was conceived, understanding the essence of Indalo Yethu and how progress had been made thus far. In June 2006, Indalo Yethu was established as a trust consisting of a board with initial funding of R20m from the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT). It was expected to design and implement extensive mass communications and awareness campaigns as well as a brand endorsement programme. Capacity building and education programmes were also to be designed and implemented. Mr Louw noted that all staff members had been appointed and that they were to report for work on 1December 2006. Tenders for marketing, communication and advertising had also already been issued and allocated. Engagement with various parties had been initiated and programme rollout was set for 2007.
Mr M Sayedali-Shah (DA) referred to the initial budget of R20m and asked why it was felt that it was not adequate. He asked what the budgeted funds were to be used for. It was also asked what plans were in place and what projects were to be undertaken. He also asked whether Indalo Yethu had identified issues that it wished to lobby Members of Parliament on and whether partnerships with various youth groups had been established.
Mr Tabane responded that objectives had been set and that an examination of transformation in the environmental sector was to take place. He noted that a great deal of environmental legislation had been passed but that there was a great deal of non-compliance and non-enforcement of it. The point was made that greater funding was needed in order to raise public awareness and to influence behavioral change.
Mr Louw added that Indalo Yethu was in the process of defining the details of its plans. He proposed that Members should perhaps lead the way in the greening of Parliament by way of the more efficient use of paper, water and electricity.
Ms J Chalmers (ANC) asked whether there were specific guidelines that were available to schools, housewife groups etc which would allow them to contribute towards the programme. She also asked how constituency offices could be brought on board. Ms Chalmers suggested the use of TV and radio advertisements as an effective tool for mass communication.
Mr Tabane stated that the campaign was aimed at everyone from youths to housewives.
Ms R Ndzanga (ANC) asked what the criteria for the election of board members were. She asked what the gender and disabled persons composition of it was. It was furthermore asked how the campaign was envisaged to reach rural communities.
Mr Tabane responded that Indalo Yethu was an independent civil society body. It had a board consisting of eight members of which four were women.
Mr Louw pointed out that the board also had a disabled person on it.
Mr Tabane also explained that R5m was to be spent per year over two years on outreach work and communication for the allocation of tenders. In considering tenders specific questions were posed to tenderers as to how they would attempt to reach urban and rural communities.
Mr A Mokoena (ANC) felt that Indalo Yethu should not group everyone under one umbrella in redressing the mistakes of the past. The focus should rather be on heritage. He suggested that Indalo Yethu be unique and should bring a greening dimension to heritage and the environment. The campaign should be organic and should cover all ethnic groups.
Mr Tabane responded that linking economic value with taking care of the environment was Indalo Yethu’s niche. The public must be seen to be gaining economic value from taking care of the environment.
Mr M Swart (DA) asked whether the expenditure of the R20m budget would be subject to scrutiny by the Auditor General. He felt that the presentation was premature and that Indalo Yethu should return after a year to account for how the R20m had been spent.
The Chair agreed that more detail was indeed needed. Specifics were needed on how the process would be “catalysed”.
Mr Sayedali-Shah asked what the staff complement was and what their skills and salaries were. He was concerned that Indalo Yethu was top heavy and wanted to know who would do the actual work.
Mr Louw and Mr Tabane explained that there were a total of fourteen staff members. Four of them were interns. The rest comprised of three managers with two assistants each. The CEO was the last remaining staff member making the total of fourteen. Mr Louw added that much of the work was outsourced. General Managers earned R420 000 pa and Directors earned R475 000 pa.
Mr M Kalako (ANC) said that it was clear that Indalo Yethu’s role was to create greater environmental consciousness and awareness. He felt that the role of the department should not be confused with that of Indalo Yethu.
Mr Tabane reiterated that Indalo Yethu was tasked with increasing awareness and influencing behavioral change. The idea was not to duplicate the work of the department but to look at things from a practical point of view. Economic development must be tied in with environmental consciousness. For example cleaning up townships would attract more tourists which in turn would lead to more money being spent there.
Ms Chalmers was concerned that Indalo Yethu was duplicating the work of the department.
Mr Louw stated that there was no duplication of the work of the department. Indalo Yethu was not a government structure; it comprised of various role-players.
Mr Mokoena was concerned about the Director-General of DAET serving on the board of Indalo Yethu. He felt it to be improper since Indalo Yethu was accountable to the DG.
The Chair agreed that it was a valid concern and that the matter would be looked into.
The meeting was adjourned.
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