Environmental Affairs & Tourism, & Water & Forestry Departments’ Strategic Plans and Budgets 2008/9

NCOP Land Reform, Environment, Mineral Resources and Energy

19 May 2008
Chairperson: Rev P Moatshe ( ANC – North West)
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Meeting Summary

The Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism and its various entities presented their strategic plans and budgets for 2008/9 to the Committee. Specific goals and strategic objectives for 2008-11 included delivery on the DEAT mandate, growing a learning organisation and becoming an employer of choice, operational efficiency, financial responsibility and enhancement of reputation and collective ownership of sectors. The strategy would address products and small enterprise development, as well as quality assessments, incentive investment with the Department of Trade and Industry, and growth of land and air transport. The Department had achieved a clean audit. Conservation would play an important role. The Department intended to reduce energy usage by 20%, including paper usage, and would use recycled material wherever possible. It would be placing focus on managing coastlines to minimise negative impact. The Department aimed to become greater involved with employee wellness, and improve its representivity. The budget allocations were set out and explained. The various entities of the Department, being Weather Services, National Parks, SA National Biodiversity Institute, SA Tourism, and the Tourism Grading Council then gave an indication of their vision, mission and achievements, as well as their current and planned projects. Members asked SANBI to explain the progress on food security programmes, the infrastructural development of SANBI, and the definition of small enterprises. Further questions addressed the elephant programme. The Department was asked whether the targets were sustainable, whether issues raised by the Auditor General in the previous audit had been resolved, and why the presentations had not mentioned “business unusual” as highlighted in the State of the Nation address. Questions were raised around the lower spending on administration, the reduction in energy use, the poor signage on various roads, the financial implications of the Waste Management Bill, and environmental impact assessments. SATOUR was encouraged to visit certain named accommodation in Mthatha, which was apparently in a poor state, and was asked who were the new players in the industry. The Tourism Grading Council was asked about the use of consultants, whether use of the BEE scorecard was compulsory, and how many initiatives targeted women and youth. SA Weather Service was questioned on air quality control in the metros. S A Weather Service was asked about air quality control in the metros,

The Department of Water Affairs and Forestry provided a short overview of the aim of the department, its structure, priorities and strategic objectives. The achievements over the last year were tabled, and the planned outputs, under the eight priorities, were also discussed. The total budget was R6.69 billion, and the Department was presently in the process of segregating functions, after which it could give a more comprehensive report. Progress on the Hartebeespoort dam project was outlined, and it was noted that the Department had contracted Rand Water as an implementation agent. The Department expected to receive an amount of R383,4 million in foreign and local donor funding in the 2008/9 financial year.

The main points and questions arising from the discussion centred around water quality and management by DWAF. Questions were asked about the progress on the Hartebeespoort Dam project as well as the Lesotho Highlands project. Budgetary issues were raised as well as questions on the inefficient allocations of funds. A specific comment was made as to the response to the Auditor general’s comments from the previous audit. SAFCOL and the Komatiland forest came under the spotlight with reference to the need for protection of people in land claims. Requests were also made as to the Department’s intervention in the second economy. The issue of conflict between local and district municipalities was noted and DWAF was asked for assistance on this. The increased use of consultants was questioned as well as the progress of empowerment in the Department. The Department was asked if there were business plans for conditional grants. Bucket eradication was a point of great concern for the Committee and the prevalence of pit latrines was lamented. Water distribution infrastructure and water security measures were a focus and the Department was asked what measures were in place to improve water distribution and ensure water security, especially with regard to climate change. DWAF was asked for specifics on what the impact of climate change would be. Many comments were made during the discussion regarding general concerns about implementation. The Committee noted the need for an in depth debate on water issues.

Meeting report

 

Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT): Strategic Plan and Budget 2008/9
Ms Nosipho Jezile, Acting Director General, DEAT, briefed the Committee on the Strategic Plans and Budget for 2008/09. She outlined the vision and mission of the Department, and indicated the broad view of the programmes, goals and strategic objectives for 2008/9. Cluster focus areas consisted of industrial policy action and an intense campaign for better air quality and against poaching.

Specific goals and strategic objectives for 2008-11 included delivery on the DEAT mandate, growing a learning organisation and becoming an employer of choice, operational efficiency, financial responsibility and enhancement of reputation and collective ownership of sectors.

In the field of tourism the pillars of the strategy included product and Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise development, as well as quality assessments, incentive investment with the Department of Trade and Industry and growth of land and air transport.

She indicated that the individual entities forming part of the DEAT would be discussing their strategies individually. Specific aims of the Department overall were that it should be the employer of choice, that it should continue producing clean audit reports and enhance its reputation. Conservation would play an important role and it  was further the intention to reduce energy usage by 20%, including paper usage, and to use recycled material wherever possible to work with the new technology. Greater focus would be placed, in light of the forthcoming legislation, on managing negative impact on the coastlines. From an internal point of view the Department aimed to become greater involved with employee wellness, improve its equality and representivity counts.

Ms Jezile noted that the total budget allocation was  R3,06 billion, with a projected increase to R 3,76 billion by 2010/11. She set out the budget allocations by economic classification, noting the scope for budget growth and subsequent spending on delivery. Total budget allocation for public entities was R1, 23 billion with an increase to R1,48 billion in 2009/10.

DEAT Public Entity Presentations:
South African Weather Service (SAWS)
Ms Hanlie Grobler, CFO, SAWS noted that there would be greater emphasis placed on the end user, and that SAWS also aimed to improve its corporate governance in the forthcoming year. SAWS would also be continuing to play a role in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region, as it was already a member and secretariat of the Metrological Association of Southern Africa (MASA). There would be emphasis on strategic compliance. A major focus of the SAWA was to provide correct forecasting and offer early warning systems, in order to better provide for disaster management. Radar systems were to be improved. It also would be working with other organisations on air quality management and waste management.

There was a focus on education and training, and SAWS, along with its sister organisations, did encourage the study of science and technology. It continued to ensure that it could respond to the needs of the country through total quality management services. Its efforts would play a major role in contributing to the policy on climate change.

On the financial side, she reported that the total revenue received was 99% of the budget, while the total expenditure had been 97% of the budget. The operating surplus, before land and interest revaluations, had been less than 1% of total budget. Almost all (99%) of the targets set for the year had been achieved. For the following year, the total revenue was expected to match the expenses, so that a nil surplus was anticipated for the next three years.

Particular focus areas in the following year would include the i
mplementation of the Flash Flood project in collaboration with Disaster Management, a modernisation plan, the upgrade of the lightning detector network, upgrade of automatic weather stations and rain stations, upgrade of upper air soundings and the implementation of items on the 2010 business plan. She tabled the amounts committed in each year for the modernisation plan and the radar network.

SA Tourism (SATOUR)
Mr Moeketsi Mosola, CEO, SATOUR noted that in the past year there had been 9 million visitors to South Africa. It had achieved above world-average growth in tourism, showing 8.3% as opposed to the global average of 6.1%. SATOUR aimed to achieve annual spend targets, and be the Most Preferred Tourism Brand by 2014. In the short term, it aimed to achieve, each year, a 3% increase in total awareness in all markets, and to be the Best Tourism Organisation by 2010.

The achievements for the past year included a
clean audit report, staff retention of 85%, and an increased ranking as preferred employer. It had spent the full training budget. Key strategies were outlined as improving stakeholder communications, growing business, growing the staff, improving the brand to create positive awareness, developing and integrating measurements for operational excellence, and increasing the value extraction from all tourists.

Mr Mosola said that business tourism was one focus area, which would increase as more international conferences, meetings and incentives were offered for South Africa. Trade would be encouraged to sell South Africa as a “business unusual” destination, and the Meetings Africa event would be grown. SATOUR would provide a business tourism toolkit to the trade, and the partnerships would be expanded with joint industry initiatives. Top meeting planners would be identified,
more association buyers would be secured, and the database and on line marketing platforms and stakeholders, would be used for promotion.

In the Global Leisure field, it was intended to increase the tourist trade familiarity with South Africa, increase the number of new international buyers, and provide tools to the trade to sell and promote South Africa. Trade Extranet was an online tool designed to disseminate information, consumer and marketing collateral to the trade. Indaba 2009 was a promotional tool designed to attract new international visitors.

The Events platform would identify and secure large-scale events for South Africa. SATOUR would support bidding for major events, and key international events would be supported to leverage media awareness and promote South Africa. The 2010 World Soccer cup events would be used as a springboard to promote all other 2010 events.

Specific targets were set out in respect of arrivals from the rest of Africa as were projects in other core markets in the SADC and domestically (see attached presentation)

The cooperation between SATOUR and Department of Foreign Affairs was outlined, and it was noted that SATOUR also partnered with media and the trade for indabas, with key airline partners to improve connectivity, and engaged in negotiations to increase capacity into South Africa.

Challenges include the growing awareness against decreasing budgets, the increased spend by major competitors, the need to have accurate counting of domestic and SADC land travel, and the need for ongoing engagement with funders and industry. External challenges included the stability of the electricity supply, the fact that tourism was not given due weight in budget allocations, the volatility of aviation fuel prices, the exchange rate fluctuations, the impact of the US economic slowdown, the global credit and mortgage crisis, global warming and climate change. SATOUR would appreciate assistance with getting timeous release of accurate tourism statistics by Stats SA, air capacity, safety and security interventions, and increased budgets. There was a need to lobby government to use graded establishments, to challenge the industry to continue to invest in skills, to call on universities to review their curricula in line with the new sector skills plan and to ensure compliance.

South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
Dr Christopher Willis, Acting CEO, SANBI, reported that SANBI championed the exploration, conservation, sustainable use, appreciation and enjoyment of South Africa’s exceptionally rich biodiversity for all people. By 2011 it aimed to have effective frameworks, networks and leadership for
disseminating biodiversity knowledge, be the leader in coordination of responses to the bio impacts of climate change, and lead the development of cooperative and integrated programmes, best practice models and conservation. be a leader in the development of co-operative, integrated biodiversity programmes, best practice models and conservation estate management.

SANBI currently identified its research priorities with DEAT and set a broad research framework with a number of entities.
public entities. It would harness research capacity nationally, give a focus to efforts of other organizations and fostered networks. The programmes in which it was involved were set out (see attached presentation). These included climate change and bio-adaptation, the strengthening of bio-adaptation research, biodiversity planning and mainstreaming, municipal capacity building, rehabilitation of threatened ecosystems, policy development support, and knowledge and information management. The work in the area of conservation gardens and tourism and biodiversity education was set out. It was also involved in educational issues, including greening of the schools and the nation. There was now a new approach to environmental education

Challenges included the need to increase the numbers of black participants in biodiversity, through the whole spectrum fro visitors to consultants in institutions, the funding, making gardens more accessible to the majority of people, the need to reshape the organogram and refocus the strategy, and appoint staff. More funding was required to meet the commitments, and special support was required for climate change, the Marine Biodiversity Programme, gardens in Eastern Cape and Limpopo, neighbourhood greening and municipal biodiversity planning.

Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA)
Ms Thembi Kunene, CEO of TGCSA, gave a brief background on the grading system emphasising that the grading system was voluntary, thus encouraging people to improve their service standards and expand their own businesses. She added that TGCSA‘s aim was to improve quality of tourism throughout South Africa’s Tourism industry as well improve service levels. It was hoped to broaden awareness through public information sessions on grading, how it was done, and rights of tourists and operators.

Ms Kunene said that the Council had the function of giving input on decisions in respect of tourism grading, and controlled assessors, who were obliged to act in accordance with a Code of Conduct. The Council was instructed by MinMEC in April 2008 to conduct a comprehensive review of g
rading criteria and categories, institutional, infrastructure, funding and legal arrangements. Areas covered would include the accessibility of tourism establishments, and the Universal Access Grading System had been instituted. Regulations were necessary in respect of smoking and other matters. Green grading would lead to environmental friendliness for South Africa.

The Council had relationships with provinces, although municipal bylaws differed in the various provinces, hampering the promotion and development of tourism accommodation in a consistent manner. Client feedback was of importance and there were campaigns to get comments by SMS Cabinet had recently taken a decision that all government departments were only to use graded establishments, to ensure adherence to quality standards. To date this was not being done.  


SA National Parks (SANParks)
Mr Sydney Sounds, SANParks, tabled a presentation containing strategic objectives and targets in a tabular form. However, he said that it would not be necessary for him to expand on this, as the Committee was already short of time and needed to concentrate on other issues. He would be willing to answer questions.

Discussion

Mr Le Roux asked SANBI to provide details of the progress on food security programmes in the wetland and infrastructure development programme. He also asked SANBI to provide a definition of the SMMEs as he was worried about the definition. He was concerned about the unfunded mandates and needed background on them.

Mr le Roux asked DEAT whether the targets for 2008- 11 targets were sustainable. He was also worried that the issues raised by the Auditor General in 2006/7 were still not resolved. He also raised a question about Galagadi, saying that the road there was unacceptable and asking what was happening.

Mr le Roux informed the Committee that he had recently stayed at accommodation in Mthatha and noticed that the swimming pool was not cleaned, yet when he asked about it he was told by the supervisor that the establishment did not have chemicals to keep it clean. He was surprised that standards were not being kept up at this international destination. He urged SATOUR to pay it a visit.

Mr le Roux approved of the budgets presented, but noted that none of the presenters dealt with “business unusual”. 

Mr le Roux enquired who the new players were in the tourism sector, as it seemed that no large players were entering the sector.

Ms H Matlanyane (ANC, Limpopo) also commented that there had been no mention of “business unusual”.

She questioned DEAT about cutting down spending on administration and asked for assurance that this would not compromise the quality of their service.

Ms Matlanyane asked TGCSA why they needed to employ consultants, and pointed out that doing the work themselves would save a lot of money.

Mr A Watson (DA  Mpumalanga) pointed out that the road signs in South Africa, especially on major routes such as the road to OR Tambo International Airport, needed improvement as they caused confusion. Some of the signs referred to Jan Smuts Airport, some to OR Tambo, and some to Johannesburg Airport. In addition, the sign was written in such a way that a foreigner not knowing the initials of the late Mr Tambo would read the sign as giving the alternative “or Tambo airport”.

Mr Watson asked for more details on the Elephant programme, which had received much publicity from the animal rights groups.

Mr Watson raised a question around air quality control in the 27 metros.

Mr Watson asked DEAT why it had targeted only a 5% reduction in energy use, whereas other stakeholders were cutting down by 20%.

Ms Jezile responded that some of the issues addressed were contained in the detailed reports and targets, although some areas of implementation may not have complied with the Master Systems Plan.

In respect of the comment about Galagadi she said that the Committee’s concerns were shared by the Department but the reality was that the Department had to try to do as much as it could with limited resources.

Ms Jezile explained that the elephant programme concerned the control of numbers of elephants. This was a matter on which SANBI was working. Some elephants were given contraceptives in an attempt to halt the growth of herds. This programme was under way and was seen as an alternative to other methods. The suggestion that culling might be used had created some unhappiness. The DEAT was researching what else was workable.

Ms Jezile noted that there were some constraints to DEAT cutting down its own use of energy by 20% because the property was leased.

Mr Masola (SATOUR) said that BEE and transformation in the tourism industry had been slow though it was progressing. He noted that Southern Sun was black owned, that Tourvest had been bought over by a Consortium, and that City Lodge was now 24% black empowerment owned. The work of SMMEs needed to be more focused. He called for Parliament to assist in this, and he suggested that the Empowerment Charters could be used to name and shame those not complying.

Dr Willis (SANBI) stated that SANBI had implemented the Biodiversity Act, although more resources were still needed. He too addressed the question of elephants, saying that a number of actions were taken to ensure the parks’ ability to accommodate the elephants while ensuring that there was proper management of the country’s eco system. He noted that interventions that needed to be made in SANParks related to supervisory work, training and development.

Ms Kunene (TGCSA) noted that the Council only had ten employees, but appointed 72 assessors around the country to review different businesses, using standard models and guidelines. There was, however, a lack of legal and business skills, and this formed part of the funding challenge. ,

Ms Grobler (SAWS) answered the question in relation to air quality control by stating that it had been hoped that Air Quality management would get an increase in funding, but all funding had been spent. The SAWS had managed to source monitoring and in the worst areas, such as
the Highveld and the Vaal, SAWS had put in monitoring equipment. There were still interventions ongoing in other areas. There had been a request made for further funding.

Mr Le Roux asked what funding model was being used by SAWS, and said that their comments around the upgrading of infrastructure were not very clear. He also asked if there was sufficient capacity to deal with waste management. He thought that there was too much focus on micro-issues rather than the broad picture. 

A representative of SAWS responded that SAWS was using the funding model used in Europe, which means that the organisation was 100% government funded. In time it hoped to adopt another model whereby 32% of the funding would come from commercial revenue and 68% from government funding. In New Zealand a model was used that was 50% private and 50% government funding. There was an improvement or upgrade in the radar and she noted that a further R18 million was needed to do the further research. 

The Chairperson said that he too had questions around air control. He also noted that those in Pretoria needed answers on the water problem.

Ms B Dlulane (ANC Eastern Cape) asked what were the financial implications of the National Environmental Management Amendment Bills.

A representative of DEAT responded that the Waste Management Bill would require concurrent national and provincial functions. 90% of the functions were however assigned to the provinces. The Provinces did not always have the capacity to adopt to the national waste management plan. It was anticipated that there would be problems with some waste sites which were not licensed. There were not enough land fill sites. Interventions would be needed, but the European Union was prepared to assist with capacity building. DEAT was optimistic about training for provinces and municipalities.

Ms Dlulane wanted to know whether the BEE scorecard was compulsory in the tourism sector.

Ms Dlulane asked how many of the initiatives were targeting vulnerable groups like women and the youth. She also asked for a report on learnership.

The Chairperson asked what was being done about crime in the country, climate research and Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs).

A representative from DEAT answered the Chairperson’s earlier question by saying that the Air quality was the function of the municipalities, although they did have to work with the provinces. Training on this was ongoing, through UNISA, and the departments would decide on those to be offered training. In respect of climate change, the DEAT hoped to roll out a science initiative, and build a network of Black scientists, but there was a need for government involvement and a comprehensive strategy. In respect of EIAs, there was in theory a call centre database, through which queries could be directed, but this was not happening at the provinces. The information systems would be costly.

Mr Mosola said that SATOUR requirements on transformation were the same as those prescribed by the Department of Trade and Industry. Those businesses that were below a certain turnover were not forced to comply with equity processes. There was a hope that this would be revisited later.

Dr Willis said that SANBI was working with the South African Qualifications Authority to know of the accredited service providers and was also working with vulnerable groups. SANBI spent R137 million on training, and were still in the process of applying criteria around the local people. More youth were used than targeted, but women were being targeted specifically. 
 
Department of Water Affairs and Forestry (DWAF): Strategic Plan and Budget 2008/9
Ms Pam Yako, newly appointed Director General, DWAF, provided a short overview of the aim of the Department, its structure, priorities and strategic objectives. Achievements for 2007/8 included the launch of the Forestry Broad Based Black Economic Empowerment (BBBEE) Charter, water demand management through restrictions implemented, R90 million drought relief funds distributed to municipalities and  national water wise campaigns, 85% achievement of bucket eradication, across all provinces except the Free State.

Ms Yako outlined the planned outputs for 2008/9 according to the various departmental priorities. Under Priority 1, she focused on the need to strengthen the management arrangements of the Water Trading Account. Business plans and reports must be submitted by all Water Management Institutions (WMIs) by March 2009, the draft report on proposed Institutional Model for Water sector by October 2008, and institutional reform was to be finalised and implemented.

Under Priority 3: Water Resource Management, she reported that the Department was finalising the framework. Under Priority 4: Forestry, she noted that there was continued administration around the pieces of legislation, being the National Forestry Act and National Veld and Forest Fire Act. Priority 5 related to infrastructure provision and management, and she said that this was mainly concerned with work on dam safety. Under Priority 6 the pertinent areas were the main exchequer account, the water trading entity, risk management, improved internal audit function, effective and efficient planning and budgeting processes and the enhancement of revenue, asset, liability and expenditure management. Priority 7 was organisational systems and functioning. Priority 8 was international co-operation and relations.

Mr Onesmus Ayaya, Chief Financial Officer, DWAF, presented the budget. He set out the funding, separating it into the various programmes of the Department. The total allocation was R6.69 billion. He then set out the budget allocation for the water trading entity. DWAF was in the process of segregating functions and he noted that it would have a better sense of where it was at the end of the financial year. The Department expected to receive an amount of R383,4 million in foreign and local donor funding during the 2008/9 financial year.

The status of the Hartebeespoort dam project was that DWAF had contracted Rand Water as an implementation agent and a better report would be available at the next meeting. The current state of affairs was that the quality of surface water and the harvesting of invasive alien plants was under control.

Discussion
The Chairperson opened the floor to questions. He began the session by asking for clarification on Hartebeespoort Dam and welcomed engagement on the issue.

Dr Cornelius Ruiters, DDG:National Water Resource Infrastructure, DWAF, responded that DWAF was working with Rand Water on a project to determine how algae growth in Hartebeespoort dam may best be reduced. He said the results should be available in the next year. The options included the use of new chemicals. Pilot testing was due to begin on a grand scale.

Mr Watson asked what was the Department's  impact on the Lesotho Highlands Project.
Dr Ruiters responded that the Department was conducting feasibility studies as to best options for the augmentation of the Vaal system. So far the two options available were either to continue to phase 2 of the Tugela  project, or the extension of the Lesotho Highlands project. He said a recommendation would be made to Cabinet when the study was completed and that the Department was driving this forward.

Mr Watson asked why so little was budgeted for forestry, and requested that more detail be provided in regard to forestry. He also asked about the relationship with the South African Forestry Company Limited (SAFCOL) and Komatiland. He said they impacted heavily in his province. He referred specifically to the land claims around the Komatiland Forestry, and asked what protection there was for the residents.

Dr Ruiters responded that the main problem in the Komatiland region was illegal water activity. He said that the use of water in that catchment area would need to be investigated and this project would form the basis of how to deal with illegal water in future.

Ms Nobubele Ngele, Deputy Director-General: Corporate Services, DWAF, said that SAFCOL and Komatiland Forests were public entities and as such the Department of Public Enterprises should respond to the queries being raised by Mr Watson.

Mr Van Rooyen referred to the audit report of 2006/7 and the Auditor General's comments and asked what DWAF were doing about those comments, specifically pertaining to asset management.

Mr Ayaya responded that the Auditor-General’s comments were at the top of the Departments priorities. The financial management systems in place had mainly been prompted by the opinion that the Department has received over the years, pertaining to the segregation of functions between the water trading activities and the main account. The accounting officers were attempting to strengthen the management arrangement. In regard to the moveable assets, specifically the Bank Water infrastructure, he noted that this was not an ordinary stock item and in fact consisted of various components, which must be accounted for separately. To give the Committee a general idea of the complexity he reported that the Department had 250 schemes with 200 000 asset types to account for. He reported that an asset register was in place, with a valuation of about R67 billion. In order to achieve full asset reporting, DWAF would have to rely on outside expertise. He said the auditors would be reporting on the process. He stated that the Department was serious about the matter. The financial systems in respect of projects such as Siyanqoba and Khanya were being rolled out in 2008 with the hope that they would be in place for the 2008/9 financial year-end audit.

Mr van Rooyen raised the issue of water quality, saying that children were dying in the Eastern Cape due to poor water quality. He had noted from the review of the budget that the allocation in this region was declining. He asked if water was a priority and whether municipalities had the capacity to handle this. He stated that the budget seemed to reflect very much “business as usual” and was not in line with the State of the Nation address. He accused the Department of a lack of concern about water quality.

Dr Ruiters responded that water quality and its allocation was a high priority of the Ministry. He said there was a problem with infrastructure. This system functioned via waste water management, and it was this management that showed problems at municipal level. The allocation did not reflect on the DWAF's budget, but was rather funded from the National Treasury through the Department of Provincial and Local Government. DWAF had an oversight function over municipal spending of this allocation. He once again acknowledged that there was a problem, but the solution was not entirely in the hands of DWAF.

Mr van Rooyen asked about the Apex priorities outlined in the State of the Nation address, in regard to employment and interventions in the second economy.

Ms Ngele responded that the Department had interventions in the second economy. Small growers participation projects was one example. The DWAF also continued to issue water use licences free of charge to communities.

Dr Ruiters added that there were other substantial interventions like BEE procurement, strong BEE policy implementation and local beneficiation intervention for employment creation.

Ms Yako noted that another intervention was the “working for water project” and similar interventions, but there was room for more beneficiation. She said the DWAF was open to suggestions on what more could be done in the second economy.

Mr van Rooyen believed that the short overview given by the Department had not convinced him that the Department was serious. He did not believe that it was addressing issues and was offering only excuses. He thought the Department should think more of the people to whom it was responsible.

Ms Yako responded that the Department had sent a detailed document as well as the summarised presentation to Members, and so Members should have the detail available to them when asking questions. She apologised for being so brief in the presentation.

Ms Dlulane asked about the constant conflict between local and district municipalities, over the authority given to local municipalities. She wondered if the Department could assist with this. She asked if the Department could reflect on water quality issues again, as she too was not satisfied with the responses to Mr Van Rooyen's questions.

Ms Yako responded that the Department had chosen a model where water delivery was linked to  waste management. The DWAF played the role of regulator, and had admittedly fallen short in that regard.

Mr Van Rooyen said there had to be business plans for the conditional grants. He asked what oversight was being done over these funds.

Mr Ayaya responded that the conditional grant was programmed to slowly diminish.

Mr van Rooyen asked the Department how many Department officials were in the Eastern Cape after the crisis had been made public. He again voiced his anger about the fact that people had died as a result of the poor water quality.

Mr Van Rooyen asked what was meant by ongoing support for local government and also wondered where the budget was.

Mr F Adams (ANC; Western Cape) asked if DWAF was the key role player in terms of climate change and requested more detail on this.

Ms Matlanyane asked about the increased use of consultants and special services. She wondered if this should not have decreased by now. She asked what the timeframe was of Departmental empowerment of those presently under-represented.

Ms Matlanyane asked what the reason was that the funding to water services and support programmes had decreased.

Ms Matlanyane stated that pit latrines were the norm in Limpopo and this was a great concern to her. She said this led to contamination of underground water. She asked then why bucket eradication had not featured.

The Chairperson intervened to note that the Committee was not debating water issues at this meeting.

The Chairperson referred to the fact that the presentation mentioned local as well as donor funding. He asked who these donors were.
 
Dr Ruiters responded that donor support came mainly from the EU and that there was a list of donors available.

The Chairperson asked for more details on monitoring of water quality, sanitation, drought relief and ongoing support for local government. He noted that in his constituency, people would obtain their water from water tanker trucks. They complained that there was no funding, and this he found of great concern. The infrastructure underground was not reaching the people. There was a water distribution problem in the Brits area. He asked where the allocated money went. He added that he foresaw bigger problems as people were becoming highly politicised and that water security is crucial.

Ms Yako replied that grants were not used for water distribution and infrastructure. There was under-spending, due to a lack of capacity of municipalities. Technical skills had been deployed to these municipalities. The municipalities were also challenged by an ageing infrastructure. The Department's role here was on how to regulate non compliance. The Department could institute measures such as withdrawing of licences but this had other implications. She said the Department was not always using its full powers, and that was something to be investigated further in terms of oversight. In the national reporting system, about 6% of municipalities did not report. This was often indicative of a failure to comply, and the Department would have to make an effort to intervene early.

Dr Ruiters responded that the impact of climate change would be seen mainly on agriculture, as certain areas would be getting drier and others wetter. He said the Department did not have as comprehensive an answer as it should have. DWAF was undertaking a municipal support programme to help develop by-laws, water conservation training and bulk water storage.

Ms Ngele said that the impact of climate change on forestry would present challenges specifically with regard to pests and diseases that affected trees. There was ongoing research to find resistant cultivars, and promotion of indigenous species would be key to addressing the problem.

She added that it was not the intention of the Department to develop a charter in 2005. The Department had spent a year in discussions with stakeholders, writing the text of the Charter which had been launched in 2007. By 2008 all should be ready to sign the Charter.

Dr Ruiters reported that the majority of the water allocation went to agriculture (60%). He stressed the need to maximise distribution to sectors that contributed greatly to the economy. It was thus important for the Department to decide how best to serve more than one water user. In regard to issues raised around water security, he reported that there were measures in place, such as holding a reserve amount to allocate to power generation in times of drought. There were a number of projects in the pipeline to ensure that South Africa had the water security it needed.

Mr Ayaya said, in regard to the various queries around quality, that DWAF would need funding from the National Treasury to be able to support water borne sanitation, and thereby move away from the use of pit latrines.

Ms Dlulane stated that she was not happy with the definition of the bucket system, but acknowledged that it was a policy issue. She thought that the debate on water issues was an important one.

The Chairperson concurred and added that he did not think there could be a more important issue than that of water.

The meeting was adjourned

 

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