4. Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) of the Portfolio Committee ON ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS on THE ANNUAL REPORTS AND FINANCIAL STATEMENTS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS AND ITS FOUR ENTITIES, NAMELY: THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL PARKS (SANPARKS), ISIMANGALISO WETLAND PARK AUTHORITY (IWPA), SOUTH AFRICAN WEATHER SERVICE (SAWS) AND THE SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL BIODIVERSITY INSTITUTE (SANBI), FOR THE 2017/18 FINANCIAL YEAR, DATED 23 OCTOBER 2018
The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs (hereinafter the Committee), having considered the Annual Report of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) for the year under review 2017/18, as well as the performance of the entities reporting under the Department of Environmental Affairs, namely: the South African National Parks (SANParks), iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority (IWPA); South African Weather Service (SAWS) and the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), and having further interacted with the Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) as well as the Office of the Accountant-General on the same, reports as follows:
1.1 Mandate of Committee
The mandate of the Portfolio Committee is to enhance the principles of a developmental state through passing legislation and to facilitate public participation, monitoring and oversight functions over the legislative processes relating to the environment; confer with relevant governmental and civil society organs on the impact of environmental legislation and related matters; enhance and develop the capacity of committee members in the exercise of effective oversight over the Executive Authority. Thus, the core mandate of the Committee is to:
- Consider legislation referred to it;
- Conduct oversight of any organ of state and constitutional institutions falling within its portfolio;
- Consider international agreements; and
- Consider the budgets, strategic plans, annual performance plans and related performance reports and targets of the Department and entities falling within its portfolio.
- PURPOSE of the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report
The Money Bills Procedures and Related Matters Amendment Act No 9 of 2009 (the Money Bills Act) sets out the process that allows Parliament through its committees to make recommendations to the Minister of Finance to amend the budget of a national Department. In October of each year, portfolio committees must compile the Budgetary Review and Recommendation Reports (BRRRs) that assess service delivery performance given the available resources; evaluate the effective and efficient use and forward allocation of resources; and may make recommendations on forward use of resources.
The BRRR is based on a comprehensive review and analysis of the previous financial year’s performance, as well as performance to date. In addition to the Annual and Quarterly reports, the BRRR also sources documents for the Standing/Select Committees on Appropriations/Finance when they make recommendations to the Houses of Parliament on the Medium-Term Budget Policy Statement (MTPBS). The Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report of the Portfolio Committee is based on the information that it accessed through various engagements with the Department and its respective entities, namely, the SANParks, iSimangaliso, SAWS and SANBI as well as AGSA and the Financial and Fiscal Commission (FFC) on their respective reports on the performance of the environmental portfolio. It is in this regard the Portfolio Committee reports as follows:
- OVERVIEW of the Auditor-General’s Audit Outcome Report for 2017/18
The Auditor-General of South Africa (AGSA) has a constitutional mandate and, as the Supreme Audit Institution (SAI) of South Africa, established to strengthen our country’s democracy by enabling oversight, accountability and governance in the public sector through auditing of public governance and annual performance targets, inter alia. In so doing, the Auditor-General builds public confidence in the manner in which the Environmental Portfolio is governed and administered on behalf of the South African population.
In line with this mandate, the Auditor-General of South Africa provided an overview of the audit outcomes and other findings in respect of the Environmental Portfolio for the period under review – the 2017/18 financial year. The AGSA reported that the quality of the annual performance reports submitted by DEA and entities for the audit had generally retrogressed, in terms of clean audits, quality of financial statements, quality of performance reports, findings on compliance with legislation and irregular expenditure, which rose from about R4 million in the 2016/17 financial year to R115 million, in the year under review (2017/18). These audit outcomes and findings are further described in the following sections, for the Department and the four respective entities:
3.1 Department of Environmental Affairs
The Department received adverse audit opinion with findings, meaning that DEA’s audit outcome and findings have not improved or changed relative to the previous year (2016/17). The basis for the adverse audit opinion with findings included, among others: first, goods and Services, where the Department had entered into contractual agreements with various implementing agencies, especially in terms of Working for/on Programmes as part of Expanded Public Works Programme that DEA administers. However, the Department did not identify and separately disclose the management fee of these implementing agents, and as a result, the Auditor-General was not able to determine the total amount of the management fee incurred, as it was impractical to do so. The second basis for adverse audit opinion relates to expenditure for capital assets, in which case the Department had classified certain items of capital expenditure incorrectly as goods and services, and hence the Auditor-General was unable to determine the amount of any adjustments that might be necessary to goods and services. The third basis relates to immovable tangible capital assets, where the Department did not adequately separate capital expenditure and current expenditure, making it impossible for the Auditor-General to determine the full extent of the misstatements. Fourthly, certain contractual arrangements that the Department entered into required that revenue earned from third parties and interest earned on unspent projects should be accounted for in the project, as an accrued departmental revenue. However, the Auditor-General was unable to determine the amount of any adjustments that might be necessary to the accrued departmental revenue, disclosed at an amount of R50 000.
Similarly, the Department did not classify loans to beneficiaries of the Green Fund separately as required by the Modified Cash Standard (MCS), resulting in the overstatement of the receivables in the financial statements. Sixthly, the Department did not correctly classify voted funds to be surrendered to the revenue fund, resulting in the overstatement of the payables in the financial statements. Seventhly, the Department did not disclose the full extent of prepayments, making it impossible to include the omitted information in the audit report. Eighthly, the Department did not implement appropriate systems and controls to properly account for commitments, stated at an amount of R9.074 billion in the note for commitments. However, the remaining commitment on certain ongoing contracts did not include all payments during the year, which led to an overstatement of R165 477 000. Ninthly, there were several issues pertaining to irregular expenditure, in the year under review (2017/18), including:
- The Auditor-General was not able to determine whether the awards made to the implementing agents were fair, transparent and equitable, in accordance with section 38(1)(a)(iii) of the PFMA;
- The Department did not identify and disclose any irregular expenditure resulting from non-compliance with the contractual prescripts that it entered into with the implementing agents of the EPWP projects. This made it unfeasible for the Auditor-General to determine the amount of further adjustments that may be necessary for the irregular expenditure requiring to be disclosed in the financial statements; and
- The Department did not include the required information on irregular expenditure notes in the financial statements, resulting in the irregular expenditure of R77 585 000 not being included in the financial statements.
Finally, the Department had to include the particulars of fruitless and wasteful expenditure in the notes to the financial statement, as per section 40(3)(b)(i) of the PFMA. The Department made payments that exceeded the amount contracted with implementing agents, thereby resulting in an amount of R7 951 000 of fruitless and wasteful expenditure.
For the 2017/18 financial year, SANParks audit outcomes remained the same as in the 2016/17 financial year, having obtained unqualified audit opinion with material findings on the “percentage growth in total number of local black visitors” and “percentage growth in overnight local black visitors”, which the Auditor-General was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence for the reported achievement of the targets of four per cent and 11 per cent, respectively. The Auditor-General further drew attention to expenditure management, highlighting that appropriate steps were not taken to prevent irregular expenditure, amounting to over R6 million. The Auditor-General also highlighted the most common findings on supply chain management at SANParks, which included lack of publication of the details of the winning bidder as well as the associated contract; declaration of interest was not supplied; preference point system was not applied or was incorrectly applied; and the tax affairs of suppliers were not in order. SANParks also took longer than six months to investigate allegations of financial and/or frauds and supply chain management misconduct.
3.3 iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority
For the 2017/18 financial year, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority attained an unqualified audit opinion from the Auditor-General. The following material misstatements were corrected during the audit: reserves; grants; property, plant and equipment; project costs; and other operating expenditure. The Auditor-General also drew attention to the fact that the Wetland Park Authority was a defendant in a fire claim lawsuit. The entity has referred the claim to its legal counsel and hence the outcome could not be determined at the time of the audit. Finally, the Auditor-General commended iSimangaliso for submitting reliable and useful annual performance plans and reports for the last five years.
SANBI regressed significantly in the year under review, having obtained qualified audit opinion with findings in the 2017/18 financial year relative to the 2016/17 audit outcome of an unqualified audit opinion. In the year under review, material findings were identified on the usefulness and reliability of the reported performance information for SANBI as well as on supply chain management (SCM) compliance, where the entity recorded regression relative to the good track record of clean audits for nearly a decade. In fact, the most common findings on supply chain management comprised contracts were either extended or renewed to circumvent competitive bidding process; local content minimum threshold for local production was not adhered to; and competitive bidding was not invited. Additionally, the Auditor-General indicated that financial statement preparation remains a concern as material adjustments were effected to annual financial statements submitted for audit at SANBI. Although SANBI’s financial affairs could be considered healthy, the entity contained creditor payment periods as unhealthy indicators, which was duly reported to management.
3.5 South African Weather Service (SAWS)
The South African Weather Service received unqualified audit opinion with material findings for circumventing competitive bidding processes, data management and irregular and fruitless expenditure. For example, the Auditor-General drew attention to a material impairment of about R4.6 million to radar equipment as well as material findings in respect of the usefulness and reliability of strategic objectives to “develop and market meteorological and related products and services for specific economic sectors” and “upgrade, expand and optimise infrastructure” for which the Auditor-General was unable to obtain sufficient appropriate audit evidence to support the reported achievement and variance in terms of radar data availability. Furthermore, the Auditor-General further drew attention to material misstatements in the annual performance report submitted for auditing and also to the material findings on compliance with specific matters such as annual financial statements, performance report and annual reports, which were not prepared according to the prescribed financial reporting framework. Nonetheless, these were subsequently rectified and hence resulted in the receiving of an unqualified audit opinion.
Similarly, effective and appropriate steps were not taken to collect all revenue due to the organisation, as required by the PFMA; effective and appropriate steps were not also taken to prevent irregular expenditure amounting to about R1.7 million. There was apparent lack of consequence management at SAWS, as disciplinary steps were not taken against officials who had permitted irregular expenditure, inter alia. It can therefore be stated that SAWS’ overall audit outcome and findings in the year under review (2017/18) remained unchanged relative to the previous 2016/17 financial year.
- OVERVIEW OF PERFORMNCE BY THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS IN THE 2017/81 FINANCIAL YEAR
The Department is mandated to ensure the protection of the environment and conservation of natural resources, balanced with sustainable and climate change-resilient development and the equitable distribution of the benefits derived from natural resources. In its quest for better use and engagement of the natural environment, the Department is guided by its constitutional mandate, as contained in section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa of 1996. Consequently, the Department fulfils its mandate through formulating, coordinating and monitoring the implementation of national environmental policies, programmes and legislation with the additional support from entities such as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, SANBI, SANParks and the SAWS.
The execution of the Department’s mandate, in the year under review (2017/18), is reflected in the performance of its seven departmental programmes outlined below, which operate within the context of the Department’s Strategic Outcome-oriented Goals, comprising:
- Environmental Economic Contribution Optimised;
- Environmental/ Ecological Integrity Safeguarded and Enhanced;
- Socially Transformed and Transitioned Communities:
- Global Agenda Influenced and Obligations Met; and
- A Capable and Efficient Department
The Department of Environmental Affairs is directly responsible for delivering on, and coordinating the work and priorities outlined in Outcome 10 (Environmental Assets and Natural Resources that are Valued, Protected and Continually Enhanced) of the 12 Government Outcomes, and also make a contribution to other outcomes, mainly Outcome 4 (Decent Employment through Inclusive Economic Growth). The two outcome-oriented goals of the Department (1. Environmental assets conserved, valued, sustainably used, protected and continually enhanced; and 2.Enhanced socio-economic benefits and employment creation for the present and future generations from a healthy environment) are actually aligned to Outcome 10 and priorities. The progress made in achieving the two outcomes are summarised below.
The Outcome 10 Delivery Agreement addresses first, the key sub-outcome from the National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030 of ensuring that “Ecosystems are sustained and natural resources are used efficiently”. Consequently, the action to expand the conservation area estate through declaration of state owned protected areas of 12.96 per cent land under conservation was achieved (from 12.51 per cent in the previous financial year), and 75 per cent of area of state managed protected areas assessed had a METT score above 67 per cent. The Department had also rehabilitated 101 760 ha, in excess of the planned annual target of 30 543 ha. The Outcome 10 Delivery Agreement addresses secondly, the key sub-outcome from the NDP Vision 2030 that of attaining “The productive sector account for a growing share of production and employment”. Accordingly, action undertaken in this regard resulted in the creation of 28 633 full time equivalents, 98 566 work opportunities and 2006 SMMEs in Environmental Programmes.
PROGRAMME 1: ADMINISTRATION
The purpose of the Programme is to provide leadership, strategic, centralised administration, executive support, corporate services and facilitate effective cooperative governance, international relations and environmental education and awareness. The programme is made-up of six sub-programmes, including Management; Corporate Affairs; Environmental Advisory Services; Financial Management; Office Accommodation; and Environmental Sector Coordination. The Department’s performance in this Programme can be summarised as having successfully achieved 85 per cent (33/39) of its targets; partially achieved 13 per cent (5/39); and was two per cent (1/39) off target. This departmental performance is further described as follows:
- Achieved 100 per cent compliance with key governance requirements and set timeframes;
- Attained an adverse audit opinion with findings;
- Spent 96 per cent of its budget allocation, less than the planned target of 98 per cent due to delays in payments for Expanded Public Works Programme projects;
- Spent 92 per cent on affirmative procurement, more than the planned target of 65 per cent;
- Mobilised total resources of USD 121 208 692, more than the planned target of US$ 10 million;
- Successively funded one project in the Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) investment catalogue in the Lubombo TFCA;
- Did not achieve the DEA Expansion plan, as there was no new focus areas identified for expansion;
- Achieved 7.6 per cent vacancy rate, slightly less than the eight per cent target;
- Successively implemented the three HRD Interventions;
- Met 56 per cent women, exceeding the 50 per cent compliance to the Employment Equity targets;
- Attained 43 per cent of women in senior management services (SMS), less than the 50 per cent target;
- Exceeded the 90 per cent target for black people by two per cent;
- Attained 2.9 per cent for people with disabilities, more than the two per cent target;
- Achieved 88 average number of days to finalise misconduct cases, less that the average number of 90 days;
- Grievance cases were finalised on average 25 days, less than the anticipated 30 days on average;
- Only 38 per cent of security risk assessment recommendations were fully implemented, as opposed to the 100 per cent target;
- Only two of the four Master System Plan (MSP) projects were fully implemented, less than the planned target of four;
- Oceans and Coasts Information Management system was refined and 3rd set of decision support tool was developed, as per the plan;
- Published 132 media statements and speeches (108 statements and 24 speeches), less than the planned target of 140;
- Published 12 opinion pieces, as planned and hosted 16 events more than the planned target of 14;
- Trained 110 teachers through Fundisa for Change Programme, more than the target of 100 teachers;
- Implemented four environmental awareness campaigns, more than the three target;
- Conducted 15 Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) Sessions, less than the planned target of 16;
- Successfully implemented 100 per cent (14/14) of annual action plan for Local Government Support Strategy;
- Successfully implemented phase two of Change Strategy on R,D, E framework;
- Effectively commissioned and finalised one integrated environmental sustainability systematic review research project;
- Developed the web-based platform of the climate change M&E system, as planned;
- Developed one sector specific prescreening applications (solar screening), as peer the plan;
- Approved and/or developed 13 position papers (climate change, biodiversity, Chemicals/ Waste Management & Sustainable Development);
- The Third National Communication was not submitted to the UNFCCC, as planned despite a substantive progress;
- Successfully prepared and submitted two national reports to Convention Secretariat (London Convention/Protocol and Nairobi Convention);
- Did not develop the Third Biennial Update Report despite a significant progress; and
- Effectively submitted two national reports (TFCA & Convention on Migratory Species) to DIRCO/Secretariat.
PROGRAMME 2: LEGAL, AUTHORISATIONS, COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT
The purpose of this Legal, Authorisations and Compliance Enforcement (LACE) Programme is to promote the development and implementation of an enabling legal regime and licensing/authorisation system to ensure enforcement and compliance with environmental law. The Programme is made-up of six sub-programmes, comprising Legal, Authorisations and Compliance Management; Integrated Environmental Authorisations; Compliance Monitoring; Enforcement; Corporate Legal Support and Litigation; and Law Reform and Appeals. The Department successfully met all its targets (12/12) in the LACE Programme. This noteworthy achievement is further outlined below:
- Achieved 72 per cent administrative enforcement actions resulting in compliance, exceeding the 70 per cent target;
- Issued 228 administrative enforcement notices for non-compliance with environmental legislation, more than the 220 target;
- Finalised and handed over 50 dockets to the NPA, exceeding the target of 49;
- Inspected 183 authorisations for compliance, more than the 150 target;
- Conducted 79 Joint compliance and enforcement operations, thereby exceeding the 55 target;
- Trained 2 636 officials in environmental compliance and enforcement, more than the 320 target;
- Successfully implemented one Rhino Lab Action Plan, as per the plan;
- Effectively developed the draft NEMA/SEMA alignment proposal document;
- Effectively developed the draft minimum environmental requirements;
- Finalised for gazetting (for comments) Electricity Grid (SIP 10) Infrastructure EMPR, as planned;
- Finalised Square Kilometre Array (SKA) management plan, as planned; and
- Implemented environmental sustainability policy action plan (Phase 1 - 12 interventions), as scheduled.
PROGRAMME 3: OCEANS AND COASTS
The purpose of the Oceans and Coasts Programme is to promote, manage and provide strategic leadership on oceans and coastal conservation. The programme is made-up of five sub-programmes, including Oceans and Coasts Management; Integrated Coastal Management; Oceans and Coastal Research; Oceans Conservation; and Specialist Monitoring Services. The Department’s performance in this Programme can be summarised as having successfully met 82 per cent (18/22) of the annual performance targets, with three of those having been exceeded; two targets were partially achieved; and another two targets were not met.
- Completed the Draft National Coastal Assessment Baseline Study Report, as per the plan;
- Compiled the Assessment and Prioritisation report of National Parks for the establishment of Coastal Management Lines;
- Developed the Coastal Water Quality Guidelines for the Natural Environmental and Mariculture;
- Did not submit the Draft Antarctic Strategy to Cabinet for approval despite a significant progress;
- Successfully submitted the Marine Spatial Bill (MSP) to Parliament for processing and approval;
- Did not develop the sub-regional management plan at all, as planned;
- Conducted population estimates completed for 12 mainland seabird breeding species and one sub-Antarctic seabird species;
- Successfully undertook survey of seal pups on 21 colonies and compiled the report;
- Conducted top predator ecological study on Dolphin distribution at the Plettenberg Bay;
- Produced Annual Plankton Monitoring Report from data collected in quarter 1 and 3 cruises;
- Conducted MPA Effectiveness Study, as per plan;
- Undertook a total of five surveys, exceeding the target of three;
- Deployed five moorings along SAMBA (South West Coast Atlantic) Oceanographic Observation Line, exceeding the target of two;
- Did not deploy one Mooring along ASCA (South East Coast Indian) Oceanographic Observation Line despite a significant progress;
- Undertook the first multidisciplinary Indian Ocean Research Cruise as component of IIOE2 in October to November 2017 and compiled a draft Cruise Report;
- Produced 24 peer reviewed publications, exceeding the target of 20;
- Successfully undertook three relief voyages;
- Finalised for approval an Estuary Management Plan (EMP), as planned;
- Did not declare the 18 Marine Protected Areas, as envisaged;
- Successfully approved the Policy on Boat-based Whale Watching and White Shark Cage Diving and permits were issued;
- Compiled the Annual Report Card on key Ocean and Coasts indicators, as planned; and
- Implemented the National Oceans and Coasts Water Quality Monitoring Programme in 17 priority areas for 3 Coastal provinces, more than the nine priority areas.
PROGRAMME 4: CLIMATE CHANGE AND AIR QUALITY
The purpose of the Programme is to improve air and atmospheric quality, lead and support, inform, monitor and report efficient and effective international, national and significant provincial and local responses to climate change. The programme is made-up of seven sub-programmes, which comprise Climate Change Management; Climate Change Mitigation; Climate Change Adaptation; Air Quality Management; South African Weather Service; International Climate Change Relations and Negotiation; and Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation. It is in this regard that out of the Programme’s Annual Performance Plan of a total of 17 annual targets, 13 targets were achieved, with one target having been exceeded. This constitutes 77 per cent achievement. Of the remaining targets, three were partially achieved and one target was missed by a significant margin. The details of the Department’s performance in this Programme are as follows:
- Did not publish the National Climate Change Response Regulatory Framework/Bill, as planned;
- Successfully implemented the annual plan for the National Framework for Climate Services for four key climate sensitive sectors;
- Submitted a draft National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy for ministerial consideration;
- Compiled the report on the implementation of Provincial Climate Change Situational Analysis and Needs Assessment (SANAS), as envisaged;
- Did not achieve the planned annual performance target, as Pollution Prevention Plans (PPPs) were not processed within regulated timeframe;
- Developed and finalised a Report “Alternative Greenhouse Gas Emission Pathways for South Africa”, as envisaged;
- Substantially produced the draft report of the GHG emission reduction potential of policies and measures (PAMS), but with substantive quality issues;
- Developed a Draft Long-term Low GHG Emissions Development Strategy, as planned;
- Produced four Green Economy Quarterly Implementation Reports and compiled four Green Fund Quarterly Implementation Reports;
- Compiled six sector adaptation plans have been implemented and annual report compiled.
- Successfully achieved the National Air Quality Indicator (NAQI) of 1.04, better than the 1.20 target;
- Effectively ensured that 120 government-owned air quality monitoring stations were reporting on SAAQIS, more than the 75 target;
- Successfully implemented annual plans of three Priority Area AQMPs: Highveld, Vaal Triangle Air shed & Waterberg-Bojanala;
- Finalised the third Climate Change Monitoring and Evaluation Annual Report, as projected; and
- Did not finalise the Draft 2000 – 2015 GHG Inventory, as independent review is outstanding.
PROGRAMME 5: BIODIVERSITY AND CONSERVATION
The purpose of the Biodiversity and Conservation Programme is to ensure the regulation and management of all biodiversity, heritage and conservation matters in a manner that facilitates sustainable economic growth and development. The Programme consists of eight sub-programmes, including Biodiversity and Conservation Management; Biodiversity Planning and Management; Protected Areas Systems Management; iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority; South African National Parks; South African National Biodiversity Institute; Biodiversity Monitoring and Evaluation; and Biodiversity Economy and Sustainable Use. The Department’s performance in this Programme shows that out of the 22 annual targets, 16 targets were achieved, with four of those targets having been exceeded. This reflects 73 per cent success, whereas the remaining six annual targets were partially achieved despite having registered a significant progress.
- Submitted the National Biodiversity Framework (NBF), as envisaged;
- Developed two draft BMPs for priority bioprospecting species (Aloe ferox & Honey bush);
- Did not submit the draft NEMBA Amendment (Biodiversity Bill) to Parliament to publish for public participation despite a substantial progress;
- Did not gazette for public participation the draft amendments of norms and standards for the management of elephants despite a substantial progress;
- Did not finalise for approval the draft regulations for the domestic trade in rhinoceros horn/products despite a significant progress;
- Did not finalise for approval the draft notice for prohibition of the powdering or shaving of rhinoceros horn and domestic trade;
- Finalised for approval the Notice for De-listing of Diceros bicornis michaeli as an invasive species and listing as a protected species;
- Successfully developed the Regional Engagement Strategy for Biosafety;
- Attained the target of 12.7 per cent of land under conservation, as planned;
- Successfully ensured that 75 per cent of area of state managed protected areas assessed with a METT score above 67 per cent;
- Successfully identified one biodiversity priority area for exclusion from mining activities (Drakensburg);
- Successfully developed indicators for National Land Degradation Neutrality target;
- Implemented and compiled the report on annual plan for People and Parks conference resolutions;
- Successfully implemented only two of the four biodiversity economy initiatives despite significant progress;
- Concluded and approved seven Benefit Sharing Agreements, more than the target of five;
- Secured investment in the form of game species for 10 Wildlife Economy business ventures, as envisaged;
- Convened Research Indaba, as planned;
- Developed annual report on the implementation of the biodiversity research and evidence strategy; and
- Effectively finalised the Report on Scientific Assessment of Predation Management.
PROGRAMME 6: ENVIRONMENTAL PROGRAMMES
The purpose of the Environmental Programmes Programme is to implementation of expanded public works and green economy projects in the environmental sector. The programme is made-up of five sub-programmes, consisting of Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme; Working for Water and Working on Fire; Green Fund; Environmental Programmes Management; and Information Management and Sector Coordination. It suffices to state that of this Programme’s 18 annual performance targets, 15 were achieved, with 11 of those targets were exceeded. This reflects 83 per cent success rate, whereas the three remaining targets, which were partially achieved, make up 17 per cent. These details are described below:
- Created 28 343 of Full Time Equivalents (FTEs), less than 38 140 target;
- Created 71 945 work opportunities, more than the 71 684 target for women, youth and people with disabilities;
- Created 71 131 accredited training person days, less than the 145 560 target;
- Successfully recruited 3 900 Youth in various programmes;
- Used 2 006 SMMEs, less than the 2 384 target;
- Established and renovated 21 overnight visitor and staff accommodation units, exceeding the target of six;
- Completed five draft flagship business plans, exceeding the three target;
- Effectively put 190 wetlands under rehabilitation, more than the 140 target;
- Placed 101 760 hectares of land under rehabilitation/restoration, more than the 30 543 target;
- Cleaned 2 116 kilometres of accessible coastline, more than the 2113;
- Deployed 1 648 Environmental Monitors in conservation areas, more than the 1500 target;
- Early detected 85 emerging invasive alien species, more than the 70 target;
- Treated 167 017.36 initial hectares of invasive alien plants, more than the 167 015 target;
- Treated 761 714.08 follow-up hectares of invasive alien plants, more than the 536 513 target;
- Suppressed 100 per cent (1 974/1 974) of wild fires, more than the 90 per cent target;
- Developed the draft 3rd South African Environment Outlook (SAEO) Report;
- Published the 1st Annual Environmentally Sustainable Development Indicators Report; and
- Prepared and submitted to Management six emerging issue response options.
PROGRAMME 7: CHEMICALS AND WASTE MANAGEMENT
The purpose of the Chemicals and Waste Management Programme is to manage and ensure that chemicals and waste management policies and legislation are implemented and enforced in compliance with chemicals and waste management authorisations, directives and agreements. The Programme is made-up of five sub-programmes, which include Chemicals and Waste Management; Hazardous Waste Management and Licensing; General Waste and Municipal Support; Chemicals and Waste Policy, Evaluation and Monitoring; and Chemicals Management. The Annual Performance Plan of this Programme for the 2017/18 financial year covered 13 annual targets, of which a total of nine out of the 13 planned targets were achieved, with two of those nine having been exceeded. Two of the four remaining targets were partially achieved and the other two were missed by a significant margin. This reflects a 70-per cent success, 15 per cent partially achieved and 15 per cent not achieved at all. These achievements or lack thereof, are described below:
- Finalised and submitted for gazetting for implementation the Waste Import/Export Regulations;
- Developed desktop draft phase-out plan and inventory from the 174 NERSA licenced municipalities;
- Finalised the National Chemicals Management Policy, but was not approved by Cabinet to publish for public consultation/comments;
- Successfully compiled report on the review of the National Waste Management Strategy;
- Did not successfully review the four IndWMPs submitted (E-waste; Lighting; Paper & Packaging and Tyres);
- Did not effectively authorise the 12 unlicensed waste disposal facilities per annum;
- Secured the approval of the Minamata Convention Impact Study by Cabinet and submitted to Parliament for ratification;
- Audited 24 waste managed facilities, exceeding the target of 20;
- Reduced the consumption of HCFC consumption by 38 per cent (4112.16 tonnes), exceeding the 20 per cent (1028.04 tons) target;
- Compiled the State of Waste Report;
- Compiled the report for management options on plastic waste;
- Did not compile the Report on Landfill Disposal Tax despite a significant progress; and
- Compiled the report on waste separation at source.
- OVERVIEW of perfomance BY THE DEPARTMENTAL ENTITIES
- South African National Parks’ Mandate
SANParks’ mandate is derived from the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act (Act No 57 of 2003), which is to conserve, protect, control and manage national parks and other defined protected areas and biological diversity. SANParks is a Schedule 3A Entity, in terms of the PFMA. Accordingly, the mandate of SANParks is to develop, expand, manage and promote a system of sustainable national parks that represents biodiversity and heritage assets, through innovation and best practice for the just and equitable benefit of current and future generations.
It is in this context that for the 2017/18 financial year, SANParks has adopted the following four outcome-orientated goals to guide its MTSF Strategic Plan:
5.1.1 Sustainable conservation asset
The strategic objective is to ensure that the environmental assets and natural resources are well protected and continually enhanced through adaptive and effective National Park System. The following were achieved:
- The target of 3 847 ha for terrestrial area was added to national parks;
- Participated in all the relevant Phakisa Task Teams towards the declarations of the MPAs;
- The Kruger National Park met the target of 2.2 per cent increase in fossil fuel energy use and decreased water consumption by 7.34 per cent;
- Rehabilitation of 44 519 ha and follow up of 199 484 ha;
- Created 7 109 Full Time Equivalents (FTEs) jobs;
- Spent R231.064 million on SMMEs;
- Supported 733 SMMEs;
- Conducted METT assessment of 71 per cent;
- Reduced by 32 per cent year-on-year arrests related to poaching of key species;
- Reduced by 12.9 per cent in recorded fatalities of rhino and elephants poached in the KNP;
- Reduced J5134 fines by 13.9 per cent;
- Declared the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park as a World Heritage Site;
- Implemented 86.6 per cent cultural heritage activities;
- Conducted assessment for all movable heritage collections in the KNP;
- Submitted for approval to SAHRA the declaration of Thumela, Masorini and Alghas lighthouse as national heritage sites;
- Attained 79.6 per cent of research projects rated as essential and important on key SANParks issues were at;
- Published a total of 52 peer-reviewed articles in the 2017/18 financial year; and
- The Koedoe Journal celebrated its 60th year of existence.
5.1.2 Diverse and responsible tourism
The strategic objective is to enhance the tourism plan in order to maximise economic returns, social and environmental benefits, by creating diversified and better tourism products for people to enjoy and appreciate. The following targets were achieved:
- Granted Wildlife Economy loans to nine beneficiaries to purchase 941 animals;
- Implemented three social legacy projects: Kgalagadi Multi-purpose Playground, Mbuyani and Multi Science Labs;
- Gave 65 different heads of plane game to the Khomani SAN CPA;
- Developed and approved the KNP Land Claims Beneficiation Scheme;
- 139 668 schools participated in the Environmental Education Programme; and
- Issued 306 media statements, hosted 20 media events and received a positive Media Rating of 93 per cent.
5.1.3 Effective resource utilisation and good governance
The strategic objective is to create and maintain a conducive workplace for skilled and capable workforce that will form a responsive, accountable and effective and efficient National Park System. The following targets were achieved:
- Achieved the total male to female ratio of 01:06, 59 per cent blacks as a percentage of management, 33.5 per cent women as a percentage of management and 2.1 per cent people living with disabilities;
- Spent R14.4 million on skills development programmes;
- Attained 100 per cent success rate at CCMA cases;
- Attained staff turnover of one per cent;
- Conducted six automated process for biometric access, job profiling, facilities overnight requests, fire arm control, facilities helpdesk and central supplier integration;
- Achieved 100 per cent compliance with governance regulations;
- Implemented seven ICT projects, including security incident and event monitoring, vulnerability scanning and targeted threat protection, amongst others;
- Realised 51 per cent direct human resources cost as a percentage of total expenditure;
- Generated 82 per cent of own revenue as percentage as a percentage of total revenue; and
- Achieved an average number of days for creditor payment of 25 days.
SANParks did not achieved the following targets:
- Employment Equity (black females in senior management) target was set at 59 per cent and 38.5 per cent was achieved;
- The Integrated Transformation Strategy was not finalised; and
- The average number of days for debtor collection was exceeded by more than 39 days. This relates to R4.5 million owed by concessionaire. The matter was still in court and the entity has approached the National Treasury to have the debt written off.
5.2 iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority in KwaZulu-Natal was established in terms of the World Heritage Convention Act (Act No 49 of 1999), with the mandate to ensure that effective and active measures were taken in the Park for the protection and conservation of World Heritage Convention values; promote empowerment of historically disadvantaged communities living adjacent to the Park; promote, manage, oversee, market and facilitate optimal tourism and related development in the Park; and encourage, sustain, invest and contribute to job creation. Covering a 3 280-square kilometres area, iSimangaliso is the third largest park in South Africa and the first listed World Heritage Site in South Africa in 1999.
For the 2017/18 financial year, the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority met 27 of its targets, while four were off target, as indicated under the following programmes outlined below. These achievements were reported under the Park’s four strategic goals described below:
2.2.1 Conservation and Park Operations
The strategic objective is to ensure that the world heritage values are conserved and the progress made in this regard are provided below:
- Exceeded by a factor each the targets for the number of park management meetings attended with day-to-day conservation manager (6), new environmental audits completed (5), and of follow-up environmental audits completed (6);
- Exceeded the target for deploying 30 environmental monitors in iSimangaliso;
- Exceeded the target for treating 25 000 ha of invasive alien plants 21 000 ha;
- Achieved the target for cleaning 320 kilometres of accessible coastline;
- Did not fully achieve (55 out of 100 per cent) the target for annual controlled burning;
- Exceeded the target of 80 per cent target for processing applications for developments in the buffer zone by 20 per cent; and
- Met the 100 per cent targets for identifying unauthorised and authorised developments, and for the completion of annual infrastructure maintenance programme, respectively.
The strategic objective is to optimise empowerment in all activities of the Park to support transformation of tourism, conservation and research sectors and through ownership, education, training and job creation. The achievements under this objective include:
- Created 1 857 temporary jobs, more than the 1 221 target;
- 101 people participated in SMMEs, mote than the 100 target;
- Awarded 32 bursaries, more than the 31 target;
- Attained 4 981 training days, more than the 4 800 target; and
- Moderated 79 per cent BEE spend as a percentage of qualifying expenditure.
The strategic objective is to optimise the Park’s revenue generation in a commercially and environmentally sustainable manner that fosters job creation and empowerment of historically disadvantages communities. The following were achieved:
- The target for raising R18.5 million revenue was exceeded at R21.9 million;
- The target for 520 000 visitor entries into the Park was exceeded at 527 085;
- The target to retender 80 per cent of lapsed licenses/concessions was achieved;
- The 60 per cent target for the implementation of plan in respect of new tourism developments was achieved; and
- The targets for implementing three annual events, 100 per cent implementation of annual marketing and public relations programme, and 95 per cent implementation of annual infrastructure programme were all met.
5.2.4 Finance and administration
The strategic objective is to promote research that is innovative and relevant to the knowledge requirements and management and management objectives of the Authority. The following achievements were highlighted:
- Achieved 51 new research proposals, exceeding the 50 target;
- Successfully implemented effective monitoring programme for the Park;
- Met the target for conducting two visitor market surveys;
- Attained the targets for 100 per cent completion of the environmental education plan for the year, implementation of plans to mitigate the impact of identified threats to rare and endangered species and ecosystems;
- The target for attaining an unqualified audit opinion was achieved;
- The target to complete plans required/requested within the financial year was not met;
- Achieved the 90per cent target for implementation of business improvements, as planned; and
- Realised 91 per cent retention of skills, more than the 90 per cent target under the strategic objective “to position the organisation as an employer of choice in the market”.
5.3 South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)
SANBI was established in September 2004, in terms of the National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act (Act No 10 of 2004). The mandate of the Institute is to monitor and report regularly on the status of South Africa’s biodiversity, which includes all listed threatened or protected species, ecosystems and invasive species; and the impact of any genetically modified organisms that have been released into the environment. The Institute is also mandated to act as an advisory and consultative body on matters relating to organs of State and other biodiversity stakeholders; coordinate and promote the taxonomy of South Africa’s biodiversity; manage, control and maintain all national botanical gardens, herbaria and collections of dead animals that may exist; and advise the Minister of Environmental Affairs on any matter regulated in terms of the Act, and any international agreements affecting biodiversity that are binding on South Africa.
In the year under review (2017/18), SANBI had 39 planned targets of which the Institute achieved 36 and partially achieved one and two were off target. This translates into the total achievement percentage of 90 per cent in the following targets for the reporting period 2017/18:
5.3.1 Render effective and efficient Corporate Services
The strategic objective is to implement an effective, efficient and transparent supply chain and financial management systems as regulated by the PFMA. The following were achieved:
- A qualified audit opinion with findings was received from the Auditor-General for not complying with the PFMA after nine years of getting a clean audit;
- The target to increase two per cent of income generated on rental, admission sales and other income was achieved;
- The target for attaining 90 per cent availability of ICT Services was overachieved at 100 per cent;
- Fully updated, mitigated and monitored all risks, as planned;
- Complied with all relevant Acts and SANBI/DEA protocol and regulations by submitting all quarterly reports and reporting to the Board Committees and the National Treasury;
- Met all the targets for hosting six shows, six exhibitions, 12 Concerts, 12 Events and four campaigns/activations, during the year under review; and
- Utilised the four internal communication platforms during the year, as planned.
5.3.2 Manage and unlock benefits of the network of National Botanical Gardens as windows into South Africa’s biodiversity
The strategic objective is to establish a network of national botanical gardens that are managed and maintained in order to realise benefits to SANBI, civil society and other relevant stakeholders:
- The target to establish and operate new National Botanical Gardens was achieved and the implementation plan for the upgrade and improvement of existing buildings in the garden was achieved by 100 per cent;
- The target to complete 45 maintenance/development projects and two SANBI capital infrastructure projects was achieved;
- The target for identifying the new botanical garden in the Eastern Cape was achieved through the finalisation of four management plans for the 160 ha natural portion of the garden that was finalised and approved by the joint SANBI/EPCTA Steering Committee as well as the 20 new indigenous plant species, which were added to the living collections of the combined network of National Botanical Gardens and/or Millennium Seed Bank was met; and
- The target to attain a minimum of five per cent increase in visitor numbers through expanded tourism-related activities and events in National Botanical Gardens was not achieved. There was a decrease of 1 552 963 million visitor numbers were recorded compared to 1 813 019 that was targeted. This was as a result of a drop in visitors at the Kirstenbosch Gardens and local spending due to economic downturn in the first quarter of 2017/18.
5.3.3 Develop the foundational biodiversity information through describing and classifying species and ecosystems in South Africa
The strategic objective is to ensure that the foundational biodiversity information is developed through describing and classifying species and ecosystems in South Africa. The following targets were achieved:
- The target for compiling information on 4 200 South African plants and 1 000 animal species was exceeded at 4 422 South African plants and 1 014 animal species;
- Completed actions and plans to finalise ecosystem classification systems and maps, as approved by the National Committee for terrestrial, freshwater, estuarine and marine systems as per the plan; and
- The target to add 21 000 records to plant database and 35 000 records to animal database was exceeded with 16 473 plant records and 35 000 animal records added.
5.3.4 Assess, monitor and report on the state of biodiversity and increase knowledge for decision-making, including adaptation to climate change
The strategic objective is to ensure that new biodiversity knowledge is created for decision-making. The performance toward this is described below:
- The target to publish 75 articles was exceeded by 10 publications;
- The National Biodiversity Assessment 2018 operational plan meeting targets were agreed to, in accordance with the operational plan;
- Initiated and partially implemented the plan in respect to the National Invasive Species Report (NISR);
- Achieved the plan to develop the GMO Monitoring Plan for the Department of Environmental Affairs;
- Completed the Red List Assessment for one additional taxonomic group;
- Met the target for one update for Non-Detriment Findings for the Scientific Authority;
- Effectively initiated the plan for a monitoring framework on invasive plants; and the
- Met the target to initiate two operational projects (BioGAPS and Deep Secrets) and one new proposal (GEF 6).
5.3.5 Provide biodiversity policy advice and access to biodiversity information; and support for climate change adaptation
The strategic objective is to ensure that tools to support management and conservation of biodiversity are applied and developed. Performance under this strategic objective are described as follows:
- Met the target for producing two tools, including an Ecosystem Restoration Decision Support Tool and an Online User Tool for accessing biodiversity information;
- Achieved the target to develop and disseminate three knowledge resources;
- Successively convened and hosted four learning or coordination events, including the Biodiversity Planning Forum, Land Forum, the Biodiversity Stewardship Learning Exchange, and Grasslands Partners Forum, amongst others;
- Held three training sessions, including CAPE Project Developers Forum, CAPE Landscape Initiative Knowledge Exchange, CAPE and SKEP learning exchanges, as planned;
- Achieved the target to increase the published records by 58 000;
- Responded 100 per cent to all written requests from DEA and other organs of state within stipulated timeframe;
- Met the target to share lessons and experiences from the National Implementing Entity (NIE) at four fora, including Adaptation Futures 2016, Treasury Innovation Fund Workshop, UNFCCC COP, and ICLEI Local Climate Solutions for Africa (Water and Climate Congress); and
- Met the target to identify a biodiversity tool into which Climate Change Adaptation should be mainstreamed.
5.3.6 Provide human capital development, biodiversity, education and awareness in response to SANBI’s mandate
The strategic objective is to ensure a transformed and suitably skilled workforce for the biodiversity sector is developed. SANBI’s performance under this strategic objective comprise the following:
- Met the target to develop 100 professionals through structured internships and postgraduate studentships;
- Exceeded the target for 1 000 beneficiaries to participate in Biodiversity Careers Programme at 1 339 beneficiaries;
- Exceeded the target to reach 52 000 garden and school-based beneficiaries at 55 373 beneficiaries; and
- Fully achieved the annual assessment of iSpot records and the review of SABAP contract.
5.4 South African Weather Service (SAWS)
The mandate of the South African Weather Service (SAWS) was established in terms of the South African Weather Service Act (Act No 8 of 2001), which is to provide two distinct services, i.e., the public good service, which is funded by government and commercial services where the user pays principle applies. This entails maintaining, extending and improving the quality of meteorological services; providing risk information, which is essential for minimising the impact of disasters; collecting meteorological data over oceans; and fulfilling government’s international obligations under the World Meteorological Organisation and the International Civil Aviation Organisation.
For the period under review (2017/18), SAWS achieved 22 of its 25 targets; substantially achieved two targets; and did not meet three of its planned targets. Overall, SAWS achieved a total performance percentage of 80 in the following strategic objectives:
5.4.1 Provision of Products and Services
The strategic objective is to develop and provide meteorological and related products and services for specific economic sectors, as described below:
- Partially achieved the target to develop the Public Good Strategy as its corresponding implementation plan was still being drafted;
- Maintained five existing community products and services namely, the Public Weather Forecast, Severe Weather Warnings, Services to the Aviation and Marine Sectors, Historic Weather and Seasonal Climate Forecasts;
- Achieved the target for the provision of five sector specific products for agriculture, health, water, energy and media;
- Developed the Air Quality Health Index to support DEA’s enforcement initiatives; and
- Was off target in the implementation of annual milestones for sector speciﬁc 5-year marketing plans (80 per cent for the agricultural sector).
5.4.2 Capability and capacity development
The strategic objective is to upgrade, expand and optimise infrastructure. Accordingly, the following performances were highlighted under this strategic objectives:
- Did not meet the target to provide 80 per cent radar data availability;
- Met the targets for radar data, LDN data and SAAQIS availability;
- Achieved the target for implementing 80 per cent of annual plan/targets of the dual career-pathing programme, with the budget of R6 million having been allocated for the project;
- Attained the employee retention rate for core/critical skills of 92 per cent;
- Partially met the targets for 70 per cent Africans, two per cent people living with disabilities, 40 per cent women in core positions and 40 per cent women in management positions;
- Achieved the implementation of 80 per cent annual targets of the Regional Training Centre (RTC) Strategy;
- Achieved the target for absorbing 60 per cent of bursars; and
- Achieved the targets for 20 per cent implementation of the doctoral programme and implementation of 10 per cent of doctoral programme annual milestones.
5.4.3 Engage stakeholders
The strategic objective is to position SAWS as a relevant meteorological institution. SAWS’ performance under this objective consisted of the following:
- Fully implemented 80 per cent of annual communications programmes for 2017/18, as per the communications plan;
- Successfully increased by 10 per cent baseline in traffic volumes on media platforms (website/Facebook, Twitter, YouTube);
- Exceeded the Advertising Value Equivalent (AVE) of R252 million due to additional exposure caused by severe weather, especially Cyclone Dineo;
- Successfully implemented 80 per cent engagement programmes for eight targeted stakeholder groups (SES); and
- Achieved 86 per cent overall stakeholder satisfaction level target.
- Research and knowledge/intelligence creation
The strategic objective in this instance is to grow weather and climate knowledge base, under which the following progress has been recorded:
- Completed the socio-economic benefit analysis study;
- Facilitated the implementation of the National Framework for Climate Services (NFCS) for three key climate sensitive sectors; and
- Successfully published 47 peer-reviewed articles.
5.4.5 Growth and sustainability
The strategic objective is to grow revenue streams by successfully implementing the following targets:
- Successfully attained R188.49 million parliamentary grant funding, excluding SAAQIS;
- Partially achieved R129 30 million growth in year-on-year aviation revenue, due to lower air traffic volumes; and
- Achieved R25 million growth in commercial revenue as per set target (annual total revenue).
- Committee Observations
Following the Committee’s interaction with the AGSA, Department of Environmental Affairs as well as the four departmental entities on their annual reports, financial statements and the audit outcomes in the period under review (2017/18 financial year) as well as engagements with their respective quarterly reports for the current year, the Committee made the following observations:
6.1 Department of Environmental Affairs
- The Department had been one of those well-functioning government departments for a very long time. However, it seems as though the Department has not fully recovered from the Modified Cash Standard (MCS) departure exemptions that it received since 2013/14. The exemption required (in subsequent years) adjustment of the Department’s method in accounting for transactions with implementing agents as capital assets and goods and services, but more importantly, a change of internal controls that should apply to EPWP projects, for which the Department had been qualified in the past two financial years.
- The Committee is concerned that the Department has for the second consecutive financial year received an adverse audit opinion with findings, which the Committee considers unacceptable, considering the amount of effort spent on bringing the Department on board.
- The Committee appreciates the role of the Office of the Accountant-General in assisting the Department of Environmental Affairs to comply with the set accounting standard. She noted that the Department had made significant progress and encouraged the Department to keep on the good work thus far.
- The Auditor-General was willing to assist the Department on how to adjust the departmental budget to ensure that the classification was correctly done.
- The modified cash standard is an accounting framework that public sector departments have to comply with in all materialistic aspects that they use as part of their daily accounting routine.
- The Committee noted with concern that the SANParks attained an unqualified audit opinion with findings for the 2017/18 financial year;
- The Committee also expressed concern that SANParks did not present a plan to deal with its ageing infrastructure;
- The Committee noted with concern SANParks’ post-retirement medical aid benefit to former SANParks employees, which amounted to R500 million;
- The Committee expressed concern over the 440 rhino poaching reduction target and noted that it should have been set at zero, in light of the public effort and resources invested in securing rhinos in protected areas;
- The Committee noted with concern SANParks’ inability to finalise the Integrated Transformation Strategy of the Seven Pillar Strategy Transformation, which SANParks knew very well was vital to the country; and
- The Committee was also concerned that the target of recruiting women in senior management positions was sitting at 38.5 per cent, which is long overdue.
6.3 iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority
- The Committee expressed its concern that its newly appointed Chief Executive Officer failed to appear before the Committee to present the annual report and opted to travel abroad; and
- The Committee was concerned about the material misstatements reported by the AGSA, notwithstanding the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority’s sustained record of clean audit opinions.
- The Committee noted with concern that the entity received a qualified audit opinion for the period under review after nine years of obtaining a clean audit;
- The Committee is concerned about the lack of transformation in the management of SANBI’S National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria; and
- The Committee raised concern about the National Zoological Gardens personnel costs sitting at 59 per cent.
- The Committee noted with concern the suspension of the Chief Executive Officer of SAWS without notifying the Committee when the Board was aware of the Committee’s concerns about the lack of stability in the organisation; and
- The Committee was disturbed by SAWS’ regression that led to the additional wasteful expenditure of R825 000 that was used for legal costs for the immature termination of the former CEO’s contract.
- CONCLUSION and recommendations
The Portfolio Committee, in its conclusions, thanked the Department for its professional and highly skilled workforce that is continuously updating its knowledge base in line with key government policies such as the National Development Plan, and other international and regional agreements and conventions. Consequently, the sustainability of the South African environmental sector is being ensured despite the ever-growing myriad of challenges on the sector. The Committee applauds the sustainability of environment assets in their various facets, as South Africa’s natural environment is the bedrock of its economic and social development; it underpins our economy, health and safety, which are the very elements that encourage us as citizens to live and work in our country, although this reality is not always appreciated by us all, considering the history of our country where the costs of environmental protection had been borne mainly by poor South Africans, especially in terms of pollution and evictions to create national parks and other forms of protected areas. Overall, the Portfolio Committee was pleased with the performance of the Department, but recommends the following due to legitimate concerns:
7.1 Department of Environmental Affairs
- The Department should work very closely with the Office of the Accountant-General (OAG) to encourage full compliance with the set accounting standard that applies to all government departments.
- The Department should brief the Committee or provide a detailed written information in respect to compliance with the Air Quality Standards Regulation by major polluters, indicating the extent to which companies are complying with the Air Quality Regulation and name those compliant and non-compliant emitters, as well as what the Department is doing, in case of non-compliance.
- The Department should provide a detailed written response to Parliament on the number of convictions in the case of rhino killing, clearly identifying linkages between arrests and convictions. Reasons should be provided, in case of big disparities between the two, as increasing the certainty of punishment deters crime.
- The Department (and hence SANParks) should further clarify that the recorded decline in rhino fatalities in the past few years is attributable to successful law enforcement effort, but not due to declining rhino numbers in the wild as a result of poaching.
- There is an urgent need to strengthen legislation by incorporating minimum sentences for rhino-related offences to deter potential criminals from killing this iconic species, as there is evidence that tougher prison sentences do reduce crime.
- The Department should comply with the requirements of the National Treasury (e.g., Modified Cash Standard) to ensure that financial resources allocated to the Department and it transfers to its implementing agencies are properly classified and accounted for, to achieve best results.
- SANParks should develop a plan to address escalating costs for post-retirement medical benefits;
- SANParks should review the target on black visitors that was raised by the AGSA;
- SANParks should institute consequence management for officials found to have been involved in fraud;
- SANParks should revise the rhino poaching reduction target and should also present the rhino poaching statistics to the Committee before they are released to the public;
- SANParks should submit a detailed report on beneficiation by black communities along the western boundary of the KNP; and
- SANParks should address all the SCM findings by the AGSA
7.3 iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority
- iSimangaliso should strive to pursue, develop and maintain good neighbourly relationships with the communities living adjacent to the Park as well as facilitate economic opportunities for the communities.
- SANBI should address all issues raised by the AGSA and develop a turn-around strategy to be presented to the Committee during the fourth term of 2018; and
- The National Zoological Gardens (NZG) is an important institution that was not profiled properly. Consequently, there is a need to develop a marketing strategy with a specific target market to assist with generating the much needed funding for infrastructure maintenance and upgrade in the NZG.
- SAWS Board members from the previous Board should be held liable for the R2 800 000 as well as the additional irregular expenditure of R825 000 incurred in the 2016/17 financial year;
- SAWS Board is encouraged to seek the stability of the organisation above all in approaching the CEO matter; and
- SAWS should also submit a report on the disciplinary outcome of the suspended CEO and brief the Committee thereafter, if it reaches to that.
The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs recommends the adoption of this Budgetary Review and Recommendation Report (BRRR) for the Department of Environmental Affairs Public Entities for 2017/18 financial year.