ATC170518: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs on the Strategic Plan 2017/18 – 2019/20, Annual Performance Plans (APPS) 2017/18, Dated 18 May 2017

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs on the Strategic Plan 2017/18 – 2019/20, Annual Performance Plans (APPS) 2017/18 and the Budget Vote 27 of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) and the entities: The South African Weather Service (SAWS), South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), Isimangaliso Wetland Park Authority and The South African National Parks (SANPARKS), Dated 18 May 2017.
 

 

  1. Background

 

The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs (hereinafter referred to as the Portfolio Committee) having considered the directive of the National Assembly to consider and report on the Strategic Plan, Annual Performance Plans and Budget allocations of the Department of Environmental Affairs (hereinafter the Department) and all entities reporting to it, tabled by the Minister of Environmental Affairs, and in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (Act No 32 of 2003), reports as follows:

 

  1. Introduction

 

On 2nd and 3rd May 2017, the Portfolio Committee invited the Department as well as the entities reporting to it, namely, the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), South African Weather Services (SAWS), iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority (IWPA) and the South African National Parks (SANParks) to present the overview of their medium term strategic plans, annual performance plans and their budget allocation for the 2017/18 financial year as well as medium term expenditure framework allocations for 2017/18 and 2018/19, respectively.

 

  1. Overview of the Department of Environment Affairs and its Entities

 

The mandate of the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) is to ensure the protection of the environment and conservation of natural resources, balanced with sustainable development and the equitable distribution of the benefits derived from natural resources for current and future generations. This is to be achieved while giving effect to the right of the nation to an environment that is not harmful to their health and wellbeing as stipulated in section 24(b) of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, which stipulates specifically that “all South Africans have the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing, and to have the environment protected for the benefit of the present and future generations” through relevant legislation.

 

It is in this context that the Department embraces the value of being proactive in fostering innovative thinking and solutions to environmental management, premised on an anthropocentric approach that recognises the centrality of people in all the facets of environmental management.[1]

 

Moreover, placing people at the centre of environmental management is critical for sustainable management and also for ensuring the integrity of measures that are put in place to secure the protection and sustainability of the nation’s environmental assets. It is important that the Department is a high performance-driven organisation and serves with integrity, as the custodian and ambassador for South Africa’s environment that should be bequeathed to future generations in a manner that encourages its sustainability indefinitely.

 

  1. Legislative mandate

 

The core business of the Department is underpinned by the Constitution and the following pieces of legislation:

 

  • National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), 1998 (Act No 107 of 1998) (which is a regulatory framework for the management and protection of environmental resources and coordination in relation thereto) was enacted to provide for the following subsidiary, issue-specific legislation on biodiversity and heritage resources; oceans and coasts; climate change and air quality management; and waste and chemicals management.
  •  National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (Act No 39 of 2004) - regulates air quality.
  •  National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act, 2004 (Act 10 of 2004) - regulates and sets out the mechanisms for managing and conserving South Africa’s biodiversity, its components and institutions (e.g., SANBI).
  •  National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No 59 of 2008) - regulates waste management; provides for national norms and standards for regulating the management of waste by all spheres of Government; and provides for the licensing and control of waste management activities.
  •  National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act, 2008 (Act No 24 of 2008) - establishes a system of integrated coastal and estuarine environmental management in the Republic; ensures that development and the use of natural resources within the coastal zone is socially and economically justifiable and ecologically sustainable; determines the responsibilities of organs of State in relation to coastal areas; controls dumping at sea and pollution in the coastal zone.

The Department fulfils its mandate through formulating, coordinating and monitoring the implementation of national environmental policies, programmes and legislation with the additional support from its entities, such as the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority (iSimangaliso), the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), South African National Parks (SANParks), and the South African Weather Service (SAWS). It is noteworthy that the main activities of the Department are divided into seven programmes, comprising the following:

 

Programme 1: Administration provides leadership, strategic centralised administration and executive support, corporate services and facilitates effective cooperative governance, international relations and environmental education and awareness.

 

Programme 2: Legal, Authorisations, Compliance and Enforcement (LACE) promotes the development of an enabling legal regime, licensing and authorisation system that ensures enforcement and compliance.

 

Programme 3: Oceans and Coasts promotes, manages and provides strategic leadership on oceans and coastal conservation, including relevant research and specialist services, as they pertain to the costal and oceans environment.

 

Programme 4: Climate Change and Air Quality Management formulates policies, administers legislation and implements systems to improve regulation, monitoring and compliance over climate change and air quality. This Programme improves air and atmospheric quality, leads and supports, informs, monitors and reports efficient and effective international, national and significant provincial and local responses to climate change through the South African Weather Service.

 

Programme 5: Biodiversity and Conservation ensures the regulation and management of all biodiversity, natural heritage and conservation matters in a manner that facilitates sustainable economic growth and development.

 

Programme 6: Environmental Programmes is the largest departmental programme (in terms of budget allocation) and deals with the implementation of expanded public works programme and green economy projects in the environmental sector.

 

Programme 7: Chemicals and Waste Management manages and ensures that chemicals and waste management policies and legislation are implemented and enforced in compliance with chemicals and waste management authorisations, directives and agreements.

 

  1. linkages between the Departmental Priorities and the National Development Plan Vision 2030

 

The National Development Plan (NDP) Vision is that by 2030, South Africa’s transition to an environmentally sustainable, climate-change resilient, low-carbon economy and just society will be well underway. To achieve this, the NDP envisages a phased trajectory over the three successive Medium Term Strategic Framework (MTSF) periods: 2014-2019, 2019-2024 and 2024-2029.The first planning, piloting and investing phase (2014-2019) where we are now focuses on the creation of a framework for implementing the transition to an environmentally sustainable, low-carbon economy. This phase would include unblocking regulatory constraints, data collection and establishment of baseline information, and indicators testing some of the concepts and ideas to determine if these could be scaled up.

 

The NDP acknowledges that the transition to an environmentally sustainable future, which is carbon constrained would require the decoupling of economic growth from natural resource degradation and depletion. There is therefore a need to build human capital and technological base for implementation of programmes that will grow the economy without increasing South Africa’s emissions profile.[2]

 

The strategic priorities of the NDP that directly bears on the work of the Department are as follows:

 

  • Ecosystems are sustained and natural resource are used efficiently;
  • An effective climate change mitigation and adaptation response;
  • An environmentally sustainable, low-carbon economy, resulting from a well-managed just transition;
  • Enhanced governance systems and capacity; and
  • Sustainable human communities.

 

Consequently, the Department’s key outcomes in respect to the NDP’s strategic priorities are:

 

  • Environmental Economic Contribution Optimised: This entails facilitating sustainable socio-economic growth and development by catalysing, optimising and scaling up the contribution of the environmental sector to economic prosperity;
  • Ecological Integrity Safeguarded and Enhanced: To realise this key outcome requires the Department to provide leadership in promoting and ensuring environmental sustainability through the management, utilisation, conservation, protection and valuing of the Republic’s natural resources;
  • Socially Transformed and Transitioned Communities: The Department envisages driving socio-economic transformation and transition by optimising the fair and equitable sharing of benefits and enabling social development; and
  • Global Agenda Influenced and Global and Local Obligations Met: The Department would play a significant role in ensuring that international cooperation that it engages in is supportive of South Africa’s environmental and/or sustainable development priorities. This is indeed a noble objective, considering that the impacts of environmental disturbances do not recognise political boundaries or environmental improvements in a country do not only benefit the country where the improvements are made, particularly in terms of climate change mitigation as well as air and water pollution abatement.

 

  1. Medium Term Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans (APPs) of the Department and its Entities for 2017/18

 

As the national partner to provinces in a concurrent function, the Department leads the environmental sector by setting the policy and legislative framework and the norms and standards required for environmental protection and environmentally sustainable development in the country. This role is evident through the large numbers of policy and legislative instruments initiated, processed and administered by the Department.

 

The Portfolio Committee received briefings on 2nd and 3rd May 2017, from the Department and its entities on their strategic plans, annual performance plans and budget for the 2017/18 financial year. This was to ascertain whether the allocated budget to the Department and its entities was aligned to achieve the strategic outcomes conceived in the respective strategic plans and annual performance plans (APPs) documents and also to determine whether the budget is aligned with the Government’s strategic priorities for the current 2017/18 financial year, as informed by the NDP.

 

This report, therefore, details the findings and recommendations of the Portfolio Committee after its engagement with the Department and its entities on the matters outlined above. In addition to the 2017/18 Budget (including the Estimates of National Expenditure for the MTEF period), tabled in Parliament by the Minister of Finance, the Portfolio Committee was also briefed by the Department on the following documents, which were also tabled in Parliament:

 

  • The Strategic Plan of the Department for 2017/18—2019/20;
  • The Annual Performance Plan of the Department for 2017/18; and
  • The Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans for 2017/18 of the Department’s entities:

 

  • South African Weather Service (SAWS);
  • iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority (IWPA);
  • South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI); and
  • South African National Parks (SANParks).

 

  1. Department of Environmental Affairs

 

The Department provides leadership in environmental management, conservation and protection to ensure the sustainability of the South African environment for the benefit of South Africans and the global community in perpetuity.

 

  1. Departmental Strategic Goals

 

The Department’s strategic goals over the medium term are to:

 

  • Ensure Environmental Economic Contribution is optimised to facilitate sustainable socio-economic growth and development by catalysing, optimising and scaling up contribution of the environmental sector to economic prosperity, thereby contributing to an environmental sustainable, low-carbon economy as a result of a well-managed just transition;
  • Ensure Environmental/Ecological Integrity is safeguarded and enhanced by providing leadership in promoting and ensuring environmental sustainability through effective management, utilisation, conservation, protection and valuing of our natural resources, including management of threats to environmental integrity (climate change, waste and chemicals, atmospheric pollution and alien invasive species);
  • Socially transform and transition communities to enable sustainable socio-economic growth and development by catalysing, optimising and scaling up the contribution of the environmental sector to economic prosperity contributing to an environmentally sustainable, low-carbon economy as a result of a well-managed just transition;
  • Ensure Global Agenda is influenced and obligations are met by enhancing regional and international cooperation supportive of South Africa’s environmental/sustainable development priorities and influence the global environmental agenda; and
  • Build a capable and efficient Department to improve departmental service delivery capacity and capabilities through creation of a harmonious and conducive working environment and provision of delivery platforms such as ICT  infrastructure and services, development and implementation of an effective Human Resource Strategy to attract, develop  and retain a skilled, transformed and diverse workforce that performs in line with the Department’s culture and values, aligning and transforming business processes and systems to support strategy execution and sound corporate governance, thereby optimising efficiencies and strategic agility.

 

  1. Budget allocation to the Department and its Entities

 

The 2017/18 Budget allocations to the above seven departmental programmes are contained in the following Table 1 that compares the current Budget (2017/18) with the previous one (2016/17). The Department’s overall budget has been steadily affected over the years by Cabinet-approved budget reductions to lower the expenditure ceiling across government. It is therefore in this instance that the Department’s budget for compensation of employees is set to decrease by R11.5 million in 2017/18, R12.2 million in 2018/19 and R12.9 million in 2019/20, respectively. The goods and services budget is also set to decrease by R10.6 million in 2017/18, R8.6 million in 2018/19 and R11.1 million in 2019/20, and the budget for capital expenditure is expected to decrease by R1.7 million in 2017/18, R1.6 million in 2018/19 and R2 million in 2019/20. Evidently, the Department is implementing cost-containment measures to ensure that the reductions do not adversely affect service delivery and the core mandate of the Department. It is thus not unexpected that the Administration Programme realised an insignificant nominal single digit increase of seven per cent; Legal, Authorisations, Compliance and Enforcement saw nine per cent nominal increase; and Climate Change and Air Quality as well as the Environmental Programmes both experienced a two per cent increase each over the past 2016/17 financial year. The Chemicals and Waste Management Programme is the only departmental programme that realised a significant nominal increase of over 200 per cent relative to the past financial year’s allocation, which is also a notable increase in real rand terms. Conversely, the Oceans and Coasts Programme along with the Biodiversity and Conservation Programme experienced budget cuts of one and three per cent, respectively, in the current 2017/18 financial year.

 

Notwithstanding, the National Treasury would like the Department’s budget allocation to be examined in terms of the entire government’s 2014-2019 medium term strategic framework, which appreciates the Department’s critical role in managing, protecting and conserving South Africa’s environment and natural resources with the aim of reducing carbon emissions and atmospheric pollutants, and creating ways of adapting to the effects of climate change. Pursuing these objectives is therefore expected to drive the Department’s expenditure over the medium term on wildlife conservation, waste recycling, climate change and air quality, strategic oceans management and coastal conservation, and the shift towards a green economy. The Department also plays an integral role in the realisation of outcome 4, which deals with decent employment through inclusive growth and outcome 10 that focuses on the need to protect and enhance our environmental assets and natural resources. It is on these grounds that an additional R810.3 million over the medium term is reprioritised to the Department. The Estimates of National Expenditure rightly noted that most of the Department’s service delivery work, including the restoration and rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems, the expansion of the conservation estate, and the sustainable management of land use, is implemented through the EPWP, which contributes directly to the goal of the National Development Plan (NDP) to create 5 million jobs by 2030, and positions the environmental sector as a hub for job creation. Consequently, the transfers of R10.1 billion to the Programme over the medium term account for 47.5 per cent of the Department’s budget, and these transfers are projected to grow at an average annual rate of three per cent to create a projected 123 707 full-time-equivalent jobs and 232 691 work opportunities over the medium term. However, the projected three per cent growth in annual budget actually turns to real declines in budget allocations, if the prevailing inflation rate of about six per cent is taken into account, considering the fact that the annual budget growth rate is only three per cent.

 

Table 1: Departmental Budget allocation trend (2015/16—2016/17)

 

Programme

Budget

R million

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

Administration

870.2

808.2

863.

924.

Legal, Authorisations, Compliance & Enforcement

133.9

164.6

180.

189.3

Oceans and Coasts

399.5

475.0

468.1

491.9

Climate Change and Air Quality

240.1

289.6

294.8

300.8

Biodiversity and Conservation

730.6

718.2

696.6

726.1

Environmental Programmes

3 489.6

3 865.1

3 895.2

3 879.

Chemicals and Waste Management

79.3

109.3

450.3

550.2

TOTAL

6 943.2

6 430.0

6 848.2

7 061.2

 

Source: National Treasury (2017) Estimates of National Expenditure. National Treasury, Pretoria.

 

  1. Transfers to the departmental Entities

 

Table 2 below shows transfers from DEA to its four departmental Entities, which are woefully insignificant relative to the increasing magnitude of responsibilities that fall within their ambit, especially in terms of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority and South African National Parks (SANParks) whose law enforcement responsibilities have increased in the past eight years or so due to increasing incidents of poaching or wildlife crimes in protected areas, notably against rhinoceros species. The transfers demonstrate insignificant nominal increases, which translate to real reductions in budget despite the significance of nature-based tourism that underpins the increasing growth and sustainability of the South African tourism industry over the past 20 years.

 

Table 2: Transfers to the departmental Entities relative to the past 2016/17 financial year.

 

Entity

Budget

R million

2016/17

2017/18

iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority

33.0

34.5

South African National Parks

278.7

285.3

South African National Biodiversity Institute

238.1

249.9

South African Weather Service

205.0

205.4

 

Source: National Treasury (2017) Estimates of National Expenditure. National Treasury, Pretoria.

 

  1. Strategic Priorities per Programme for 2017/18

 

The Department has demonstrated that it was fully capacitated as it spent 99.7 per cent of its allocated budget for the 2016/17 financial year, even though the auditing of the Department’s 2016/17 financial statements is still underway. Although the Department received an unqualified Audit Report in the 2015/16 financial year, the Department tabled its Annual Report to Parliament late, as a result of not adhering to the application of the Cash Modified Standard (CMS), in respect to the DEA’s Programme 6. This led to the unavailability for consideration of the Annual Report of the Department during the Budgetary Review and Recommendations Report (BRRR) process.

 

Programme 1: Administration

 

The purpose of the Administration Programme is to provide leadership, strategic centralised administration and executive support, corporate services and facilitate effective cooperative governance, international relations and environmental education and awareness.

The strategic objectives of this Programme for the 2017/18 – 2018/19 period include:

  • Enhanced environmental sector performance and profile;
  • Facilitate intergovernmental planning, implementation and monitoring with the aim to improve sector performance (local government support);
  • Improved stakeholder engagement/participation, education and awareness initiatives (environmental behavioural change);
  • A capable and efficient Department by improving departmental service delivery capacity and capabilities through the creation of:
  • Creation of secure, harmonious and conducive working environment;
  • Adequate, appropriately skilled workforce acutely aware of employment equity requirements needed;
  • Equitable and sound corporate governance;
  • Efficient and effective information technology systems; and
  • Enhanced international cooperation supportive of South Africa’s environmental and sustainable development priorities and resource mobilisation.

 

The Department plans to achieve the above-mentioned strategic objectives by, inter alia:

 

  • Obtain an unqualified audit opinion without any matter of emphasis;
  • Achieve 98 per cent budget expenditure by the end of 2017/18 financial year;
  • Fund one project in the Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA);
  • Mobilise US$10 million in 2017/18 from international donors to support South Africa’s and African environmental programmes;
  • Achieve 65 per cent expenditure on affirmative procurement;
  • Reduce the vacancy rate to 8 per cent from the current baseline of 10.4 per cent;
  • Implement three Human Resource Development Plan interventions, including the recruitment of 100 interns, issuing of 73 bursaries and 83 per cent implementation of the Department’s Workplace Skills Plan;
  • Increase employment targets for women in senior management and people living with disabilities to 50 per cent and two per cent, respectively;
  • Process and resolve disciplinary cases within 30 days;
  • Implement 100 per cent security risk assessment recommendations;
  • Train 200 municipal officials/councillors in waste management;
  • Develop and refine an online Oceans and Coasts Information Management System third set of decision support tool;
  • Produce and distribute four stakeholder publications;
  • Implement three environmental awareness campaigns;
  • Recruit 100 unemployed youth and implementing learnership programmes;
  • Implement 100 per cent of the Local Government Support Strategy;
  • Conduct 16 Integrated Environmental Management (IEM) sessions;
  • Conduct eight strategy advocacy workshops;
  • Commission one integrated environmental sustainability systematic review research project;
  • Finalise a web-based platform of the climate change monitoring and evaluation system;
  • Develop and approve 13 South Africa’s International Environmental and Sustainable Development negotiating positions for Climate Change (two) Biodiversity (four) Chemicals and Waste (five) and High level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (two);
  • Publish the South African Environmentally Sustainable Development Indicators Policy makers Outlook;
  • Prepare and submit within required timeframes two mandatory international reports to the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), namely, Transfrontier Conservation Areas (TFCAs) and CMS; and
  • Table the 2016/17 National Environmental Management Act, S26 Report at Parliament.

 

Challenges

 

The Department noted the following challenges under this Programme:

 

  • In respect of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and domestication, the current approach of coordinating progress within sector departments may impact on delivery;
  • Green Fund strategic objectives may not be realised if the operational challenges are not addressed; and
  • Commitment from the relevant stakeholders may also delay departmental processes.

 

Programme 2: Legal, Authorisations, Compliance and Enforcement (LACE)

 

The purpose of this Programme is to promote the development of an enabling legal regime, licensing and/or authorisation system that promotes enforcement and compliance with relevant environmental legislation.

 

The strategic objectives for this Programme are to:

 

  • Improve compliance with environmental legislation by ensuring effective compliance and enforcement;
  • Coherent and aligned multi-sector regulatory system and decision support across government;
  • Manage threats to environmental quality and integrity; and
  • Strengthen knowledge, science and policy interface.

 

Through this Programme, the Department aims to:

 

  • Maintain the percentage of administrative enforcement actions, resulting in compliance at 70 per cent, consistent with the estimated performance in the past (2016/17) financial year;
  • Issue 220 administrative enforcement notices for non-compliance with environmental legislation;
  • Increase the number of criminal cases finalised, with dockets handed over to the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) from 32 in 2016/17 to 49 in 2017/18;
  • Increase the number of inspections of authorisations in facilities located in environmentally-sensitive areas from 140 in 2016/17 to 150 in 2017/18;
  • Conduct 55 joint compliance operations;
  • Implement one Rhino Management Integrated Strategy Action Plan;
  • Review the environmental sustainability policy action plan;
  • Increase the number of officials trained in environmental compliance and enforcement from the estimated performance of 300 in 2016/17 to 320 in 2017/18;
  • Develop the NEMA/SEMA alignment proposal document;
  • Develop draft minimum environmental requirements for preparation of SDFs for incorporation into SPLUMA;
  • Finalise Electricity Grid Infrastructure and the Management Plan for gazetting; and
  • Implement and review environmental sustainability policy action plan.

 

Challenges

 

The Department noted the following challenges under this Programme:

 

  • Internal capacity relating to budget cuts for both human and financial resources;
  • During the appeal process, parties or stakeholders cited difficulties in providing inputs, comments or documents within the short period of the appeal process; and
  • The increase in litigation matters resulted in increased costs.

 

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 strategic objectives of this Programme for the 2017/18 financial year include:

  • Threats to environmental quality and integrity managed;
  • Strengthening knowledge, science and policy interface; and
  • Ecosystems conserved, managed and sustainably used.

 

In managing threats to environmental quality and integrity, the Department aims to:

 

  • Implement the National Coastal Management Programme interventions. This will be done by developing the Draft National Coastal Assessment Baseline Study Report during the 2017/18 financial year. The Department also aims to compile the assessment report and prioritisation report on the establishment of coastal management lines in national parks;
  • Develop and implement Oceans and coastal management strategies and plans, in respect of water quality guidelines for one end-user category, namely, natural environment;
  • Finalise and approval by Cabinet of the Draft Antarctic Strategy;
  • Submit for approval the Marine Spatial Planning Bill in Parliament;
  • Estimate the population of eight mainland seabird breeding species and one sub-Antarctic seabird species;
  • Conduct oceans and coastal research, survey and monitoring projects, leading to the implementation of the Plankton Annual Monitoring Plan along the West Coast of South Africa and finalise the MPA effectiveness research/study; and
  • Finalise the implementation of the International Indian Ocean Expedition cruises.

 

In strengthening knowledge, science and policy interface, the Department plans to:

 

  • Develop a number of peer-reviewed scientific publications, including theses and research policy reports. The Department aims to have 20 peer-reviewed scientific publications during the 2017/18 financial year;
  • Undertake three relief voyages to the Marion islands, Gough and SANAE; and
  • Commence ocean and coastal research and survey, and monitor projects undertaken.

 

In strengthening knowledge, science and policy interface, the Department aims to:

 

  • Develop and finalise one Estuary Management Plan for the Namaqua District municipality; and
  • Declare 18 Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) out of South Africa’s Exclusive Economic Zone in 2017/18 to add to the 4 287.532 km2 that had already been declared as MPAs.

 

In ecosystems conserved, managed and sustainably used, the Department plans to:

 

  • Develop three Estuary Management Plans;
  • Implement the National Oceans and Coasts Water Quality Programme in nine priority areas for the three coastal provinces;
  • Policy on Boat-based Whale Watching and White Shark Cage Diving approved and permits issued; and
  • Compile annual report card on key oceans and coasts indicators.

 

Challenges

 

The Department noted the following challenges under this Programme:

 

  • Securing the financial resources and stakeholder cooperation in producing the draft baseline study;
  • Obtaining the necessary human and financial resources in compiling the Assessment and Prioritisation Report on the Establishment of coastal management lines in National Parks; and
  • Ship availability in the case of mooring deployment along the South East Coast Indian Oceanographic Observation Line.

 

Programme 4: Climate Change and Air Quality Management

 

The purpose of this 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 South African Weather Service’s mandate contributes to this Programme.

 

The strategic objectives of this Programme for the 2017/18 financial year include:

  • Coherent and aligned multi-sector regulatory system and decision support across government;
  • Threats to environmental quality and integrity managed; and
  • Minimising negative impacts on health and/or well-being.

 

Through this Programme the Department aims to:

 

  • Gazette a National Climate Change Regulatory Framework for public comments;
  • Implement the Annual Plan for National Framework for Climate Services in respect of four climate sensitive sectors;
  • Approve a National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy and Action Plan;
  • Compile a report on the implementation of the National Climate Change Situational Analysis and Needs Assessment;
  • Update the Draft Mitigation Potential Analysis for 2018;
  • Process and finalise carbon budgets PPP within the required timeframes;
  • Compile the final report on the projected national GHG emission pathways and reduction potential of policies and measures;
  • Produce four Green Economy and Green Fund Quarterly Implementation Reports;
  • Increase the National Air Quality Indicator from 0.79 to 1.20;
  • Implement annual plan to support Climate Change Adaptation Sector Plans for six sectors;
  • Ensure that 75 government-owned air quality monitoring stations report to the South African Air Quality Information System (SAAQIS);
  • Implement annual air quality management plans for Highveld, Vaal Triangle Airshed and Waterberg-Bojanala priority areas; and
  • Evaluate 2000-2012 GHE inventory reports.

 

Challenges

 

The Department noted the following challenges under this Programme:

 

  • South Africa’s high levels of greenhouse gas emissions is a major concern;
  • South Africa is the world’s 12th largest carbon dioxide emitter due largely to our heavy dependence on coal;
  • South Africa ranks among the world’s 20 biggest greenhouse gas emitters;
  • Air pollution continues to be a problem, and the levels of SO2, PM and O3, are a cause for concern; and
  • Exposure to unsafe ambient pollutant concentrations and associated health effects is of a major concern in priority areas.

 

Programme 5: Biodiversity and Conservation

 

The purpose of this 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 South African National Parks, South African National Biodiversity Institute and the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority also contribute to this Programme.

 

The strategic objectives of this Programme include:

 

  • Expansion and effective management of conservation estate;
  • Mitigation of threats to biodiversity and ecosystems; and
  • Sustainable use of ecosystems and species.

 

Through this Programme, the Department intends to:

 

  • Update the National Biodiversity Framework;
  • Develop two Draft Bioprospecting Management Plans for priority bio-prospecting species for Aloe ferox and Honey bush;
  • Draft NEMBA Amendments and submit to Parliament for approval;
  • Gazette draft amendments of norms and standards for the management of elephants for public participation;
  • Finalise draft regulations for the domestic trade of rhinoceros horn/products;
  • Draft notice for prohibition of the powdering or shaving of rhinoceros horn and domestic trade finalised for approval;
  • Identification of one biodiversity priority area for exclusion from mining activities;
  • Implementation of the Annual Plan for People and Parks conference resolutions;
  • Implementation of four biodiversity economy initiatives;
  • Approve five benefit-sharing agreements;
  • Secure funding and 10 business plans for biodiversity economy proposals in support of wildlife economy vision 2024, which will result in a total of 50 by 2019/20;
  • Increase the land under conservation by 12.7 per cent (15 300 492 ha/121 1991 200ha);
  • Assess 88 per cent of the state-managed protected areas with METT score above 67 per cent; and
  • Convene Research Indaba and the Annual Report on the Implementation of Biodiversity Research Strategy.

 

Challenges

 

The Department noted the following challenges under this Programme:

 

  • Restoration and rehabilitation of degraded ecosystems to contribute to ecosystem resilience remain a huge challenge in the face of recurring departmental budgets;
  • Alarming pace of growth in global environmental crime has very serious implications for biodiversity conservation in South Africa, notably the killing of rhinos and poaching of other species; and
  • The slow pace of increasing the percentage of land mass under conservation.

 

Programme 6: Environmental Programmes

 

The purpose of this Programme is to ensure the implementation of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) that has important implications for the environment and to conceptualise and implement green economy projects in the environmental sector.

 

The strategic objectives of this Programme for the 2017/18 financial year are to:

 

  • Improve socio-economic benefits; and
  • To ensure that ecosystems are conserved, managed and sustainably used.

 

Through this Programme, the Department intends to:

 

  • Create 38 140 full time equivalent (FTEs) jobs in 2017/18, and 191 673 in 2019/20;
  • Create 71 684 work opportunities for women, youth and people with disabilities;
  • Maintain the number of youth benefiting from various Environmental Programmes at 3 900;
  • Support 2 384 SMMEs;
  • Establish six overnight visitor and staff accommodation units;
  • Finalise and coordinate four flagship programmes by drafting three climate change policy flagship business plans;
  • Rehabilitate 140 wetlands per annum and increasing to 150 wetlands;
  • Clear 30 543 hectares of invasive alien plants;
  • Deploy 1 500 environmental monitors in conservation areas; and
  • Suppress 90 per cent of the wildfire incidents.

 

Challenges

 

The Department highlighted the following challenges under this sixth Programme:

 

  • The National Treasury and Auditing requirements (Modified Cash Standards) need to be assimilated, with impacts on timeous delivery through the Programme 6 (time and money spend on this aspect might impact negatively on the Programme deliverables);
  • Programme inter-dependencies, both within and outside of the Department, which have their own challenges;
  • All programmes have specific challenges. For example, the wild fires that have recently ravaged parts of the Western Cape are a natural (and very necessary) phenomenon, but the situation has been exacerbated by drought, the high temperatures, especially the strong winds, and also by the invasive alien plants;
  • Every one of the 80 structures that burned down in the January 2000 fires along Table Mountain, and seven of the eight structures that burned down in the March 2015 fires, were surrounded by invasive species. It points to the need for an integrated approach, where advocacy, training (e.g. fire-proofing homes on the urban edge), compliance and enforcement, incentives and opportunities, all come together to secure the desired outcome;
  • The importance of research cannot be over-estimated (e.g., the predictive work with FynbosFire/UNDP/GEF), and the difficulties in mainstreaming the routine activities is a known weakness in securing the desired outcomes.  Such challenges are specific to each of the programmes, and highlight the complexity of the work being undertaken;
  • Increased collaboration and engagements with our stakeholders are required, including cross-sector, business, government departments/public entities as well as internally between branches/units within the DEA, especially public-private partnerships;
  • Enhancing governance and accountability systems, including monitoring and evaluation;
  • Improved Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) is always a concern, given the numbers of participants, and the dangerous nature of work, particularly with respect to transportation; and
  • A particular opportunity is arising with the approach to “Fempowerment” which includes a focus on creating sustainable employment opportunities for both women and youth with a focus on an employer-centric approach to employment.

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 the chemicals and waste management authorisations, directives and agreements.

 

The strategic objectives of this Programme for the 2017/18 financial year are to:

 

  • Manage threats to environmental quality and integrity;
  • Minimise negative impacts on health and wellbeing; and
  • Coherent and aligned multi-sector regulatory system and decision support across government.

 

Through this Programme, the Department plans to:

 

  • Finalise Waste Import/Export Regulations for gazetting and implementation;
  • Finalise the National Chemicals Management Policy;
  • Publish for public comment the Draft Hydro-fluorocarbon Management Regulations;
  • Develop the Chemicals Management Strategy;
  • Review four industry waste management plans for e-waste, lighting, tyres, paper and packaging;
  • Increase the percentage of waste diverted from landfill by 60 per cent in the 2016/17 financial year in respect to tyres. The Department plans to increase the percentage to 90 per cent and 80 per cent of paper and packaging by the 2019/20 financial year;
  • Authorise 12 unlicensed waste disposal facilities in the 2017/18 financial year;
  • Develop and implement a number of chemicals and waste management instruments by updating the National Implementation Plan for the Stockholm Convention during the 2017/18 financial year;
  • Finalise the study on the impact of Minamata Convention on Mercury and submit to Parliament for ratification in the 2017/18 financial year;
  • Compile the State of the Waste Report;
  • Increase the number of waste management sites audited to 20, during this financial year;
  • Compile the Report on the Landfill Disposal Tax; and
  • Compile the Report on waste separation at source.

 

Challenges

 

The Department reported the following challenges under the seventh Programme:

 

  • Inter-dependencies with other departments in relation to waste management licenses, healthcare risk waste, asbestos and chemicals management;
  • Limited infrastructure for the diversion of waste from landfill; and
  • Underpricing of waste.

4.1  Briefing by the Auditor-General of South Africa on the Review of the 2017/18 Annual Performance Plan for the Environment Portfolio

 

The Auditor-General of South Africa’s presentation outlined the AGSA’s constitutional mandate; background on the expanded public works programme (EPWP); Estimates of National Expenditure; EPWP projects implemented by the Department; 2017/18 indicators linked to the EPWP DEA projects; accounting for expenditure, including the exchange transactions and non-exchange transactions; accounting for principal-agent; key considerations in determining binding arrangements; comparisons between Transfer Payments and Goods and Services; and audit risks. However, the review that was done on the 2nd draft of APPs for DEA and SANParks revealed that targets were not specific and measurable at DEA and SANParks. Similarly, technical indicator descriptions (TIDs) for the 2017/18 APPs for DEA and TIDs for SANParks were not completely updated at the time of the review by the AGSA.

  1. Entities reporting to the Department

 

5.1  South African Weather Service (SAWS)

 

The South African Weather Service (saws) is a section 3a entity established in terms of the South African Weather Service Act (Act No 8 of 2001) as amended, Public Finance Management Act (PFMA) and associated treasury regulations. Accordingly, SAWS mandate is to provide two distinct services, i.e., the public good service, which is funded by the Government of South Africa and commercial services where the user-pays principle applies. This entails:

 

  • maintaining, extending and improving the quality of meteorological services and ambient air quality related information services for the benefit of all South Africans;
  • provide public good services and commercial services to all South Africans;
  • ensure ongoing collection of meteorological and ambient air quality data over South Africa and surrounding southern oceans for the use by current and future generations,
  • Be the long-term custodian of reliable national climatological and ambient air quality record;
  • As the Aviation Meteorological Authority, to fulfil the international obligations of the government under the Convention of the World Meteorological Organisation;
  • Provide services that are sensitive to the demographics realities of the country;
  • Fulfil such other weather-related or ambient air quality information and international obligations as the Minister may direct; and
  • Be the custodian of the SAAQIS.

 

  1. Alignment with the National Development Plan (NDP) Vision 2030

 

The mandate of SAWS is aligned with the following Chapters of the NDP:

  • Economy and Employment;
  • Economic infrastructure;
  • Transition to a low-carbon economy;
  • Improving education, innovation and training;
  • Inclusive rural economy; and
  • Improving health.

 

The strategic goals and objectives for the 2017/18 financial year include:

 

  • Provision of products and services;
  • Capability and capacity development;
  • Engaged stakeholders;
  • Research, knowledge and intelligence creation; and
  • Growth and sustainability.

 

For the 2017/18 financial year, the South African Weather Service under the provision of products and services priorities are to:

 

  • 100 per cent completion of community weather smart needs analysis report across all targeted communities for the development of products and services to improve weather resilience, including the development of the Public Good Strategy;
  • Provide one product or service for a community segment and maintain delivery of five existing products;
  • Provide three sector specific information to the market for agriculture, energy and water sectors;
  • 100 per cent completion of a 5-year marketing plan for climate and agricultural sector;
  • Maintain 80 per cent of radar data availability and 90 per cent SAAQIS availability;
  • Maintain 92 per cent employee retention rate for core and critical skills;
  • Develop the annual dual career path programme;
  • Implement and achieve 20 per cent of the doctoral programme annual milestones;
  • Increase employment equity rate as per the organisational EE Plan (74 per cent Africans, three per cent people with disabilities, 40 per cent women in core and 42 per cent in management);
  • Implement stakeholder engagement plan for national education plan;
  • Implement and achieve 80 per cent of annual targets of the Regional Training Centre;
  • Award 62 bursaries and absorb 60 per cent of bursars in the organisation;
  • Implement 80 per cent of Communications Strategy programmes;
  • Increase traffic volumes across media platforms by 10 per cent;
  • Implement 80 per cent of planned programme activities for all targeted stakeholder groups;
  • Implement three national frameworks for climate services for agriculture, energy and water and health;
  • Conclude one partnership that translates into applications or products for decision-making in modelling and forecasting system;
  • Publish 30 peer-reviewed scientific articles in accredited international journals where SAWS scientists are leading authors;
  • Grow aviation revenue to R188 million in 2017/18; and
  • Ensure that there is adequate funding for infrastructure life-cycle management, Aviation Master System Implementation Plan and Human Capital Requirements.

 

The SAWS Strategic Risks for the 2017/18 financial year include, amongst others:

 

  • Slow commercialisation of its products and services and inability to market effectively;
  • Lack of cutting edge technology, proliferation of foreign weatherApps for smart phones and their increasing usage in South Africa;
  • Increased competitors in the African market and limited customer base;
  • Inability to secure adequate funding from Government and other sources;
  • Inadequate maintenance of ICT services;
  • Limited attraction of critical skills and retention;
  • SAWS not positioned as key role player in Climate Change; and
  • Limited revenue streams.

 

  1. iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority (IWPA)

 

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority in KwaZulu-Natal was established in 2002 in terms of the World Heritage Convention Act (Act No 49 of 1999), with the mandate to ensure that effective and active measures are implemented 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.

 

  1. iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority (IWPA) linkages with the NDP Vision 2030

 

The mandate of the IWPA is aligned with the following Chapters of the NDP:

 

  • Economy and Employment by reducing unemployment, increased GDP and broad ownership of assets;
  • Environmental Sustainability and Resilience through land and oceans protection, energy efficiency, zero emission building standards, investment in rural livehoods;
  • Social Protection by providing support through labour market initiatives such as EPWP programmes, skills training and development;
  • Improving education, innovation and training;
  • Inclusive rural economy through tourism initiatives; and
  • Improving health care, prevent and reduce the burden of disease through deterring and treating of HIV/AIDS cases.

 

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority’s strategic goals for 2017/18 are:

 

  • Park operations to ensure the regulation and the management of the World Heritage values in a manner that facilitates sustainable economic growth and development;
  • Transformation to improve access to job and income generation opportunities for previously disadvantaged individuals and communities;
  • Commercialisation to position the Park as a premier tourism destination; and
  • Effective governance and administration to improve the framework for policy-making in iSimangaliso, promote innovative research that supports management objectives and develop, implement and maintain cost efficient and effective system that support the execution of business processes.

 

The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority priorities for 2017/18 are to:

 

  • Ensure six park meetings are attended with day-to-day conservation manager;
  • Complete six new audits;
  • Deploy 30 environmental monitors in the Park;
  • Increase the number of hectares treated of invasive alien plants;
  • Ensure that the World Heritage values are conserved by detecting poaching incidents and illegal developments;
  • Complete annual infrastructure maintenance programme;
  • Improve access to work and income generating opportunities to 1 782 jobs in 2017/18;
  • Provide 20 bursaries to deserving students;
  • Increase visitor numbers by 500 000;
  • Implement three annual park events;
  • Obtain an unqualified audit opinion;
  • Maintain percentage of skills retention by 90 per cent;
  • Increase revenue sharing with the land claimants from R861 000 in 2016/17 to R890 000 in 2017/18;
  • Increase the number of BEEE SMMEs to 76; and
  • Implement plans to mitigate the impact of identified threats to rare and endangered species.

 

Strategic risks for iSimangaliso include:

 

  • Managing the impacts of a rapidly changing and increasing legal environment on service delivery and benefit sharing;
  • Incompatible land uses outside the Park impact on World Heritage values;
  • Inadequate funding secured for benefit-creating programmes; and
  • Limited skills in the area.

 

  1. 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, all listed threatened or protected species, ecosystems and invasive species; and the impact of any genetically modified organism that has 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.

 

SANBI’s strategic goals are to:

 

  • Render an effective and efficient corporate service;
  • Manage and unlock benefits of the network of National Botanical Gardens as windows into South Africa’s biodiversity;
  • Build the foundation for biodiversity science;
  • Assess, monitor and report on the state of biodiversity and increase knowledge for decision-making, including adaptation to climate change;
  • Provide biodiversity policy advice and access to biodiversity information; and
  • Provide human capital development, education and awareness in response to SANBI’s mandate.

 

SANBI’s priorities for the 2017/18 financial year, are to:

  • Position SANBI as the employer of choice in the biodiversity sector by recruiting black biodiversity professionals through structured internships and post-graduate studentships;
  • Spend two per cent of payroll allocated on staff development;
  • Increase employment equity rate as per the organisational EE plan (57 males on permanent positions, three per cent people with disabilities, 43 per cent women in permanent positions);
  • Increase revenue on rental, admission sales by two per cent;
  • Ensure 90 per cent of SANBI’s ICT network and business services availability;
  • Implement effective, efficient and transparent supply chain financial management systems to maintain the unqualified financial statements;
  • Implement marketing initiatives and activities to promote, profile and maintain brand visibility and to also keep stakeholders informed through appropriate platforms for internal and external stakeholders;
  • Add 20 new indigenous plant species to the living collections of the combined network of National Botanical Gardens or Millennium Seed Bank Partnerships;
  • Establish two new National Botanical Gardens in the Limpopo Province;
  • Implement 45 maintenance/development projects and complete two SANBI capital infrastructure projects;
  • Increase visitor numbers annually by two per cent;
  • Compile information on 4 200 South African plants and 1000 animal species;
  • Finalise the addition of 12 000 records to plant database and 35 animal records to animal database;
  • Coordinate training and capacity-building programme with municipal, provincial and other relevant decision-makers to share lessons learnt;
  • Increase access to biodiversity data, information and knowledge; and
  • Employ 92 black biodiversity professionals and ensure that 1000 learners participate in Biodiversity Career Programme.

SANBI’s Strategic Risks encompassed the following:

 

  • Insufficient MTEF funding from the national government;
  • Inadequate and critical failure of ICT infrastructure and services;
  • Skills shortage in critical areas; and
  • Negative impact of horticultural collections in the gardens due to water shortage.

 

  1. South African National Parks (SANParks)

 

SANParks was established in terms of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act (Act No 57 of 2003), with the mandate to conserve, protect, control and manage national parks and other defined protected areas and biological diversity.

 

SANParks contributes to the following NDP priorities:

 

  • Economy and employment where SANParks plays a key role in employment creation through the implementation of EPWPs;
  • Economic infrastructure, where SANParks plans to spend more that R672 million on various infrastructure projects;
  • Inclusive rural economy, where SANParks contributes to rural development through corporate social investment initiatives and community development programmes in communities adjacent to national parks;
  • South Africa in the region and the world, in which case SANParks promotes regional corporation and promotes exchange of conservation expertise with countries such as Mozambique, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia;
  • Improving education training and innovation by implementing a comprehensive environmental programme, which sees over 200 000 learners participating in the programme;
  • Building safer communities, as a major player in conservation management, where SANParks has a responsibility to protect natural resources under its management. This includes programmes to liquidate poaching of rhinos, elephants, abalone and cycads; and
  •  Building a capable and developmental state by contributing to transformation objectives of the country through the implementation of BEEE Charter. This includes skills development, enterprise development and preferential procurement programmes.

 

SANParks’ strategic priorities for the 2017/18 – 2019/20 are to:

 

  • Improved representative conservation estate to improve the conservation estate through effective and efficient management of national park systems;
  • Effectively managed ecosystem, species and cultural heritage assets to successfully manage sustainable ecosystem and cultural heritage resources;
  • Enhanced tourism returns and diversifying the visitor base;
  • Diversified and enhanced tourism opportunities and experiences to attract and retain old and new markets by enhancing the Park-Visitor-Experience;
  • Optimised contribution to the green and blue economy to optimise the country’s contribution to community socio-economic development, job creation and efficient equity partnering;
  • Enhanced awareness and skills to improve environmental awareness amongst communities through targeted SANParks environmental educational programmes;
  • Enhanced knowledge for decision-making to continuously generate knowledge and information for better decision-making;
  • Enhanced stakeholder engagement to improve environmental stewardship and organisational reputation through a proactive and strategic stakeholder engagement;
  • Accountable corporate governance to foster systematic and robust approach that will enable optimisation of corporate governance to achieve corporate goals;
  • Conducive working environment to improve workplace cohesion and harmony and healthy working environment; and
  • Ensuring financial sustainability to generate organisational revenue streams through the effective and efficient management of financial resources.

 

SANParks priorities for the 2017/18 financial year are to:

 

  • Increase total terrestrial area of 3569 hectares added to national parks;
  • Maintain the State of Biodiversity rating of three or above by completing biodiversity baseline report;
  • Develop a State of Area Integrity Assessment rating and complete the energy and water consumption audits;
  • Review two park management plans in the 2017/18 financial year;
  • Reduce by two per cent the recorded fatalities of rhino and elephants poached per annum in the Kruger National Park;
  • Implement 100 per cent of the planned activities pertaining to the Rhino Management Strategy;
  • Publish 30 peer-review research papers;
  • Grow gross tourism revenue from seven per cent to 10 per cent by promoting effective management of national parks, for example, by expanding the total area added to national parks, rehabilitate areas with alien and invasive species, implementing the Biodiversity Monitoring Plan, and implementing the Cultural Heritage Programme;
  • Develop and implement the Fundraising Policy Strategy and implement 13 revenue generating products;
  • Increase the total number of visitors to national parks from 5 660 000 to 5 95 000;
  • Implement six species protection interventions, including rhino and elephants;
  • Increase access to national parks from 18 000 to 18 100;
  • Implement two environmental educational programmes;
  • Increase the total number of fulltime equivalent jobs from 6 459 to 7 942;
  • Implement two green and one blue economy projects;
  • Increase the total number of participants in Environmental Education Programmes to 218 000 per annum and provide free access to 54 000 entrants;
  • Facilitate socio-economic development through SMMEs, creation of temporary jobs through Expanded Public Work Programme projects and community-based initiatives;
  • Maintain an unqualified audit report from the Auditor-General by promoting effective management of the human capital by way of building a learning organisation underpinned by corporate values;
  • Increase the employment targets for women and people with disabilities by two per cent from 0.9 per cent;
  • Retain vacancy rate at 5 per cent; and
  • Grow its revenue base by 70 per cent by promoting effective management of national parks, for example, by expanding total area added to national parks, rehabilitate areas with alien and invasive species, implementing the Biodiversity Monitoring Plan, and implementing the Cultural Heritage Programme.

SANParks strategic risks include:

  • Revenue reduction due to budget cuts;
  • Wildlife crime that may result in the depletion of certain highly desired species;
  • Inability to acquire new arms or retain the existing ones; and
  • Insufficient budget for infrastructure establishment and maintenance.

 

  1. Committee Observations

 

Having considered the inputs by the Department and its entities, the Committee has made the following observations:

 

  • The Committee appreciated the information presented by the Department and its entities on their budget allocations and annual performance plans, particularly the linkages of their strategic goals with the National Development Plan Vision 2030;
  • The Committee noted that under Programme 1, affirmative procurement expenditure was reduced from 75 per cent in 2015/16 to 65 per cent in the 2017/18 financial year;
  • The Committee noted the vacancy rate in the 2017/18 financial year;
  • The Committee noted that the baseline for employment equity target women has decreased from 56 per cent to 50 per for the period under review;
  • There was also a concern on the operations of monitoring stations that were not operating fully and not reporting to SAAQIS as intended. Reference was made to the recent oversight visit by the Committee on the noncompliance/postponement of minimum emission standards by the big emitters such as Eskom, Sasol and petroleum processing chemical companies;
  •  The Committee was concerned about South Africa’s emission standards that were not in line with the World Health Organisation (WHO) standards;
  • The Committee also raised concerns over the decreased number of the government-owned air quality monitoring stations reporting to SAAQIS, and wondered whether those not functioning would be decommissioned or privatised;
  • The Committee also raised concern over mining in protected areas with special reference to mining in the Mabola Protected Environment widely considered an important water catchment area;
  • The Committee noted the large budget allocation towards the Department’s new green building;
  • The Committee further acknowledged the fact that number of appeals has increasingly doubled over the previous year and the contributing factors thereof;
  • The Committee also noted the targets set under the Waste and Chemical Management Programme, keenly desiring to know what the Department was doing, in terms of waste pricing to give it a competitive value in the future;
  • The Committee duly noted with concern that the number of work opportunities targets for 2017/18 has decreased;
  • The Committee raised concern over the establishment of the Waste Bureau as the Waste Amendment Act that was supposed to regulate its functionality has not been tabled in Parliament. The Committee was also apprehensive about the five officials who are currently employed to establish the Waste Bureau to manage the implementation of the waste plans, particularly the tyre industry similar to the REDISA Model; and
  • The Committee noted the lack of implementation of carbon budgets for all major emitters more than five years later when the White Paper on Climate Change already articulated the need for the implementation of the concept in 2011.

 

South African National Parks (SANParks)

·         The Committee was concerned about the two per cent target set for the decrease in the number of rhinos poached despite the high level of the resources and investments, especially in the Kruger National Park. The Committee felt that a higher target should have been set;

·         The Committee appreciated the level of professionalism by the rangers in SANParks, despite the danger that they face from poachers. However, the Committee remains concerned that rhino poaching remained very high (827-662) and hence opined that a legislative review of relevant Acts dealing with rhino poaching is necessary;

·         The Committee raised concern on high expenditure on personnel;

·         The Committee also noted the new regulations on the trade of rhino horn and wondered whether SANParks understood its implications;

·         The Committee sought clarity on the implementation of the People and Parks conference resolution by SANParks

·         The Committee noted the implementation of the wildlife utilisation strategy and implementation of SANParks wildlife heritage management plan and wondered whether the plan addressed the issue of transformation and inclusive economic participation by the previously disadvantaged individuals, notably in the local and neighbouring communities; and

·         Finally, the Committee noted the decrease in the percentage of local black visitors given the country's demographics and wanted to know why SANParks set such a low percentage target.

 

iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority (IWPA)

 

  • The Committee commended the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority for their good work, and their revenue sharing of eight per cent with land claimants;
  • The Committee was concerned about small staff complement at Isimangaliso to carry out such a huge mandate managing the Park, according to the world heritage values;
  • The Committee was also concerned about the target of deploying 30 environmental monitors in a vast Park like iSimangaliso;
  • The Committee was disturbed that the entity has employed only one intern to run the GEP Fund as this might result in the donor withdrawing its much needed funding; and
  • The Committee was also concerned about the budget cut implication, especially the eradication of alien invasive plants.

 

South African Weather Service (SAWS)

 

  • The Committee noted with concern the decision by members of the SAWS Board to pay salaries of eight months to the former SAWS CEO. The Committee views this as a fruitless and wasteful expenditure and requested the South African Weather Service to provide valid reasons why Parliament should not demand that members of the SAWS Board individually pay for this fruitless and wasteful expenditure;
  • The Committee noted the regulation of the tariffs on the commercial and aviation income and wanted to ascertain how the Tariff Committee determines what should be charged for the commercial aspects of the SAWS’ work;
  • The Committee raised concerns about SAWS high costs on aging infrastructure;
  • The Committee sought clarity on SAWS dual role (public good and commercial role) and would like to know where the entity invests more resources (human capital & financially); and
  • The Committee was particularly concerned by the high number of resignations at senior management levels from SAWS.

South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI)

 

  • The Committee was concerned about SANBI’s high expenditure on personnel; and
  • The Committee noted with concern the inadequate representation of black people at the senior scientist level in the organisation.

 

  1. Committee conclusions and Recommendations

 

Having considered the strategic plans, annual performance plans and budget allocations to the Department and departmental transfers to its four entities, the Committee was pleased with the effort that the Department had put into formulating its Strategic Plan, the Annual Performance Plans and Indicators, and relevant Performance Targets for the 2017/18 financial year. The Committee considered them realistic and achievable despite budgetary constraints. The Committee was also acutely aware of the capability of the Department to prudently use the allocations made to it to fully implement its strategic plans, annual performance plans, indicators and targets that it set for itself, as shown by the Department’s ability to consistently spend about 98 per cent of its budget in successive financial years. Notwithstanding, the Committee recommends as follows:

 

  • The Committee would like clarity on the domestication of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly what it means in terms of existing policy and legislation frameworks;
  • In light of the Marine Spatial Planning Bill before the Committee and other imminent law proposals that would be introduced to Parliament in the environmental sector, the Committee recommends that the Department should lead the way in seeking an appropriate and sustainable model for effective community participation in departmental processes, such as policy-making and legislation drafting to enhance the true sense of stakeholder in the public, rather than being merely consulted to satisfy a regulatory requirement.
  • DEA should develop national policy, guidelines and/or norms and standards for game donation in the whole of South Africa to prevent haphazard donation of wildlife from state-owned statutorily protected areas, as was the case in the North West Province where wildlife was donated to private individuals without a valid policy.
  • The Department should exclude mining from all forms of protected areas, particularly at this stage where the biodiversity asset of the country is under immense pressure from many competing land uses and other factors such as climate change, and also in the light of the fact that we need to expand our conservation estate toward meeting the 17 per cent Aichi Target.
  • DEA should ensure the establishment of the Waste Bureau as soon as possible to legitimise paying salaries to those who have been recruited to establish and run the Bureau. The relevant legislation (Waste Amendment Bill) for undertaking this task should be introduced to Parliament urgently for processing and passing.
  • The Department should work closely with the Auditor-General to avoid improper classification of its expenditure in order to timeously table the departmental annual report in Parliament for processing.
  • The Department should find creative or better ways for accounting for all funds that it transfers to non-state organisations whose accounts are not audited by the Auditor-General of South Africa.
  • Wildlife crime, notably rhino poaching must be considered a serious crime tantamount to terrorism, considering that the criminals involved in this illegal trade enter the country illegally with high-calibre automatic rifles, and hence the need for law reform to strengthen the fight against wildlife crime.
  • The Department should pay due regard to non-state organisations when they raise concerns about certain key departmental decisions or actions in order to resolve misunderstandings amicably without approaching courts, as each court case that the Departments loses lowers the profile of the Department in the eyes of the public, thereby waning their confidence. The Department could also approach the Portfolio Committee to mediate in certain cases.
  • The SAWS Board should respond to the Committee after 31st May 2017 as to why Parliament should not demand that members of the Board individually pay for the fruitless and wasteful expenditure that SAWS incurred as a result of the inappropriate decision of the Board members to pay salaries of eight months to the former SAWS CEO.
  • The Department should implement the concept of carbon budget for all major emitters, as articulated in South Africa’s White Paper on Climate Change of October 2011.

 

The Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs recommends to the House to adopt the Department of Environmental Affairs Budget Vote 27 allocation for the 2017/18 financial year, with the allocation of R6 848 214 (six billion, 848 million and two hundred and fourteen thousand South African Rands only).

 

 

 

Report to be adopted.

 

 


[1] Department of Environmental Affairs (2017) Department of Environmental Affairs Strategic Plan 17/18 — 2019/20. Department of Environmental Affairs, Pretoria.

[2] Ibid.

Documents

No related documents