ATC220504: Report of the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries on the Strategic Plan 2019/20—2023/24, Annual Performance Plans (APPs) 2022/23 and the Budget Vote 32 of the DFFE, Dated 3 May 2022

Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment





The Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (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 Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (hereinafter the Department) and having been presented the high-level strategic goals of the five entities reporting to it, tabled by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment and in terms of the Public Finance Management Act (Act No 32 of 2003), reports as follows:




On 19 April 2022, the Portfolio Committee invited the Department and the entities to present the overview of their medium term strategic plans, annual performance plans and the budget allocations for the 2022/22 financial year as well as medium term expenditure framework allocations for 2022/23 and 2023/24, respectively.


2.1.Overview of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment and Entities


The mandate of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) 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 stated 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.



2.2.1 Origin of suboptimal audit outcomes


Prior to the cabinet reconfiguration, the former Department of Environmental Affairs was a high performing organisation, having served effectively with integrity as the custodian of South Africa’s environment. However, the Department started experiencing challenges in meeting audit requirement as it related to Modified Cash Standards (MCS) when the Department failed to table its 2015/16 Annual Report in Parliament at an opportune time for consideration by the then Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs (PCEA) in the Fifth Parliament. Nevertheless, DEA resolved the dispute that it had with the Auditor-General and succeeded to obtain an unqualified audit opinion, but the Department retrogressed in its audit outcomes in the subsequent 2016/17, 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years where the Department attained adverse audit findings. However, the Department progressed from receiving an adverse audit opinion to a qualified audit opinion in the 2019/20 financial year. Those findings were due to disputes between the Office of the Auditor-General South Africa (AGSA) and DEA, regarding the different interpretations with regard to the application of Modified Cash Standards, insofar as transfer payments to the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) projects were concerned. In contrast, leadership and management weaknesses affected the performance of the Forestry and Fisheries programmes of the Department. The results were repeat findings on biological assets, overpayments on overtime and non-compliance with supply chain prescripts in the 2019/20 financial year.


The audit opinion of the Department remained unchanged, having retained the same audit outcome of a qualified audit opinion in the 2020/21 financial year as in the prior years (2019/20 & 2018/19). The Auditor-General noted that the Department did not improve the quality of its performance reporting, there were findings on the usefulness and reliability of reported performance information, primarily due to lack of adequate monitoring and reporting of useful and reliable performance information. The Department incurred R1.03 billion of irregular expenditure (IE), which constitutes 85% of the total irregular expenditure in the portfolio, the majority of which is due to the Department’s incorrect application of the objective assessment against predetermined functionality criteria. Of the total fruitless and wasteful expenditure amounting to R8 million that was identified in the current year, R3.11 million (39%) was incurred by the Department as a result of overpayment to suppliers and funds allocated to implementing agents not spent in accordance with the approved memorandum of understanding. DFFE reported IE for investigation.



2.2 Legislative mandate


The core business of the Department is underpinned by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa and all other relevant pieces of legislation that derived from it. The constitutional directive “to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures” gave rise to the formulation and adoption of notably the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) (Act No 107 of 1998). NEMA has undergone several amendments and has provided the bedrock for enacting the following “specific environmental management acts” (SEMAs), or issue-specific legislation on biodiversity and natural heritage resources; oceans and coasts; climate change and air quality management; and waste and chemicals management. Those applicable SEMAs comprise National Environmental Management: Biodiversity Act No 10 of 2004; National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act No 57 of 2003; National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act No 39 of 2004; and National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act No 24 of 2008; National Environmental Management: Waste Act No 59 2008, inter alia.


The transfer of the Forestry and Fisheries branches/programmes of the former Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries to the Department, effective 1st April 2020, as part of the national macro-organisation of government, had meant the shifting of certain key legislation that deals with the management of these two branches to the constituted Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF). However, the Department has recently undergone name change from DEFF to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE). Key acts of Parliament in this regard comprise the Sea Fishery Act No 12 of 1988; Marine Living Resources Act No 18 of 1998, which deals with the long-term sustainable utilisation of marine living resources; National Forests Act No 84 of 1998, which promotes the sustainable management and development of forests for the benefit of all and creates the conditions necessary to restructure forestry in state forests in relation to protection and sustainable use; and also the National Veld and Forest Fire Act No 101 of 1998, which makes provisions for the prevention and management of veld, forest and mountain fires throughout the Republic of South Africa. Furthermore, there are many other government policies and legislation, which affect the South African environmental, forestry and fisheries portfolio both directly and indirectly.


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), Marine Living Resources Fund (MLRF), the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), South African National Parks (SANParks), and the South African Weather Service (SAWS). The Department is structured into nine programmes to ensure the effective achievement of its constitutional mandate. The nine different programmes and their purposes are reflective of the different focus areas and subsectors of environmental management. The objective of the current programme structure is to ensure that specific attention is given to each focus area of the Department’s constitutional mandate, while acknowledging the interrelationship and ensuring an integrated approach.


Programme 1: Administration provides strategic leadership, management and support services to the department.


Programme 2: Regulatory Compliance and Sector Monitoring (RCSM) promotes the development of an enabling legal regime and licensing authorisation system that will promote enforcement and compliance and ensure coordination of sector performance.


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, Air Quality and Sustainable Development: seeks 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, and promote sustainable development.


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.


Programme 8: Forestry Management develops and facilitates the implementation of policies and targeted programme to ensure management of forests, sustainable use and protection of land and water as well as managing agricultural risks and disaster.


Programme 9: Fisheries Management ensures the sustainability utilisation and orderly access to the marine living resources through improved management and regulation.




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 requires, first and foremost, attaining of the NDP outcomes relating to the transformation of society and an economy, which is internationally competitive, equitable, job-creating and sustainable (resilient, green and low-carbon), inter alia. Thus, the National Development Plan sets out a vision for promoting environmental sustainability in South Africa by making an equitable transition to a low-carbon economy, and transforming human settlements for improved local governance and spatial integration. The National Development Plan envisions environmental sustainability and transformation within the context of an integrated and inclusive economy that is supported by a capable and developmental state. This vision is given expression by the following priorities of government’s 2019/20−2023/24 medium-term strategic framework (MTSF), with which the work of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment is closely aligned:[1]    


  • Priority 1: Economic transformation and job creation

  • Priority 2: Education, skills and health

  • Priority 3: Consolidating the social wage through reliable and quality basic services

  • Priority 4: Spatial integration, human settlements and local government

  • Priority 5: Social cohesion and safe communities

  • Priority 6: A capable, ethical and developmental state

  • Priority 7: A better Africa and world


The Department’s 2019/20–2023/24 Strategic Plan and 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan are aligned with the priorities outlined in the MTSF. The implementation of Operation Phakisa projects have an immense contribution to the Priority 1Economic transformation and job creation”. In terms of Priority 2Education, Skills and Health” and Priority 6A capable, ethical and developmental state”, the Department undertakes initiatives that improve capacities for the environment, forestry and fisheries sectors. There are many contributions in terms of education and upskilling that the Department plans to roll-out in the medium term in all three sectors. The examples include:

  • The implementation of the Department’s internship and environmental, education programmes;

  • The placement of students in the Work Integrated Learning Programme;

  • Training of teachers in various provinces in different aspects of environmental management through the “Funds’ for Change” programme. The Programme is a partnership with the Department of Basic Education focusing on environmental learning and teacher education; and

  • The implementation of key environmental awareness interventions, inform society and change behaviours, inter alia.


Similarly, Priority 4 (Spatial integration, human settlements and local government) and Priority 5 (Social Cohesion and Safer Communities) are at the heart of the Department’s work. This considering that the Department carries out the effective implementation of planned Local Government support interventions to support municipalities in carrying out their environmental management mandate by assisting district municipalities to incorporate environmental priorities in their Integrated Development Plans (IDPs); pursues sound environmental management of hazardous waste streams to protect communities from being affected by dumped or badly managed waste; and implements effective air quality management interventions and ensures reduction of atmospheric emissions from major polluters. Some of the vital activities are building and skilling a climate-resilient society. Through the allocation of small-scale fishing rights, the Department is restoring dignity to many coastal communities. Similarly, the plan to transfer forests to communities contributes significantly towards social cohesion and building societies. Finally, Priority 7 (A Better Africa and World) focuses on one of the Department’s key functions of leading and influencing an environmental management global agenda, which includes negotiations on Climate Change, Sustainable Development, Chemicals and Waste Management, Oceans and Coastal Management, Biodiversity and Conservation. The Department pursues targeted and strategic global and regional engagements with the aim of enhancing South Africa and Africa’s socio-economic development priorities.


In summary, the Department’s 2022/23 APP aims to continue with implementation of the Department’s approved Strategic Plan, which are aligned to Environment Sector priorities as outlined in Government’s 2019/20 – 23/24 MTSF Plan and seven priorities of the 6th administration. However, the 2022/23 APP had to be developed with the aim of addressing the several ongoing environmental challenges (e.g., poaching, environmental degradation and pollution, climate change) as well as the need to recover from the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic.


3.1.Medium Term Strategic Plans and Annual Performance Plans (APPs) of the Department and its Entities for 2022/23


As the national partner to provinces in a concurrent function, the Department leads the environmental, forestry and fisheries sectors 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.


To account for the Department’s strategic role, including the above, the Portfolio Committee was briefed via a virtual platform (Zoom), on the strategic plans (2019/20−2023/24), annual performance plans and budgets of the Department and entities for the 2022/23 financial year. The purpose of this meeting with the Department and entities was to ascertain whether the allocated budget was aligned to achieve the Department and entities’ strategic goals and APPs, and also to determine whether the budget was aligned with the government’s strategic priorities, which are underpinned by the NDP. However, the other pressing reason for the Committee was to determine how the 2022/23 APP was developed to contain current environmental problems that befall South Africa.


This report, therefore, captures the key findings, observations and recommendations of the Portfolio Committee after its engagement with the Department and entities. The discussions contained in this report are based on the strategic plans, APPs and the budget of the Department and entities.


3.2Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE)


The Department of Environmental Affairs was renamed the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) in June 2019, incorporating the forestry and fisheries functions from the previous Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. The Department further realised a name change to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE) at the time of presenting its APP and budget to the Committee in the past (2021/22) financial year. Accordingly, DFFE is mandated to give effect to the right of citizens to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being, and to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations. To achieve this, the Department provides leadership in environmental management, conservation and protection toward sustainable development for the benefit of South Africans and the global community.


3.2.1Departmental Strategic Objectives


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


  • Provide leadership, strategic, centralised administration, executive support, corporate services, and facilitate effective cooperative governance, international relations, and environmental education and awareness;

  • Promote the development and implementation of an enabling legal regime and licensing/authorisation system to ensure enforcement and compliance with environmental law; promote, manage and provide strategic leadership on oceans and coastal conservation;

  • 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;

  • Ensure the regulation and management of all biodiversity, heritage and conservation matters in a manner that facilitates sustainable economic growth and development;

  • Implement expanded public works and green economy projects in the environmental sector; and

  • 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 budget allocation to the Department is 0.41%6 of the overall Government expenditure of R2.16 trillion (down from 0.43% of R2.02 trillion in 2021)2, 7 The inflation figures from the South African Reserve Bank show that the level of funding for the Department has been consistent since 2016/17, with no significant upward deviation, ranging between 0.40 and 0.45% of the national expenditure. The seemingly stable trend in the budgeted expenditure of the Department is merely based on nominal allocations, without giving due consideration to inflation. Global politics, the projected depreciation of the Rand for this year, the increased debt of the country, and the many competing needs make it difficult for Government to increase budget allocations to departments. Consequently, the Department received a budget allocation of R 8.947 billion for the 2022/23 financial year, which indicates a nominal decrease of 1.67 % (R151.8 million) from the 2021/22 allocation (Table 1). All departmental programmes were affected by the 2022 budget allocations when compared to the 2020 allocations. In nominal terms, four programmes received an increased allocation (Administration; Regulatory Compliance and Sector Monitoring (RCSM); Environmental Programmes; and Chemicals and Waste Management). Conversely, the reduction of funds affected five programmes (Oceans and Coasts; Climate Change, Air Quality and Sustainable Development; Biodiversity and Conservation; Forestry Management; and Fisheries Management). These dynamics further are illustrated in the following Table 1.


Similarly, these intra-departmental budget allocations have resulted in changes to departmental transfers to its respective entities. For example, the current transfers to entities have increased from R1.530 billion in the 2021/22 financial year to R1.971 billion in the 2022/23 financial year.  The budget increases happened in five entities (iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority, South African National Parks, the South African National Biodiversity Institute, National Regulator for Compulsory Specifications, and Marine Living Resources Fund), while one entity has a decreased transfer (South African Weather Service) as shown in Figure 1. The Department is injecting capital amounting to R484 million (up from R404.6 million in 2021) to SAWS (R190 mln), iSimangaliso (R85.9 mln), SANParks (R124.9 mln) and SANBI (R83.3 mln) towards maintenance, development and infrastructure projects of the entities. This is further depicted in Figure 1 below.


Table 1: The Overall budget allocation to the Department and its programmes for the 2022/23 financial year and changes between the 2021/2022 and 2022/23 financial years.



Nominal Rand change

Real Rand change

Nominal % change

Real % change

R million




1 022.9

1 249.1



22.1 %

16.9 %

Regulatory Compliance and Sector Monitoring





3.8 %

-0.7 %

Oceans and Coasts





-3.6 %

-7.8 %

Climate Change, Air Quality and Sustainable Development





-23.2 %

-26.5 %

Biodiversity and Conservation

1 142.0




-18.5 %

-22.0 %

Environmental Programmes

3 641.1

3 748.7



3.0 %

-1.5 %

Chemicals and Waste Management





4.7 %

0.2 %

Forestry Management





-3.7 %

-7.8 %

Fisheries Management





-19.2 %

-22.6 %


9 099.7

8 947.9



-1.67 %

-5.90 %

Source: Adapted from the National Treasury (2022).5, 6








Figure 1. The budget transfers to entities from Vote 32 for the 2022/23 financial year amounted to R1.971 billion. (Adapted from the National Treasury (2022).




The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Forestry, Hon Barbara Creecy provided the overview of the environmental portfolio and the strategic context for the Department’s 2022/23 Annual Performance Plan and budget. Thereafter, the departmental presentation on the strategic plan (2019/20−2023/24), annual performance plan and the budget for 2022/23 was led by the Director-General of the Department, Ms Nomfundo Tshabalala, supported by the respective Deputy Directors-General. On the part of the Committee, the Minister and the Department were commended for their commitments despite the various and often fluctuating challenges that confront the broader environmental portfolio. The Committee further made pertinent observations captured under the Department and also under specific departmental programmes/branches and entities, as follow:


  1. During the 2021/22 financial year, plans were underway to get all departmental entities financially sustainable by generating their revenues, instead of relying on the national budget. The Department should update the Committee on the progress made because all the entities have the capacity/potential to raise their revenues.

  2. There has to be a clear roadmap for dealing with matters of irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure in these entities, considering the prevailing fiscal constraints in the public sector. Based on the quarterly reports, issues relating to irregular, fruitless and wasteful expenditure would be a thing of the past because the matters raised by the Auditor-General were addressed and capacity built, particularly in the SCM functions. Does the implementation of Auditor-General findings, as most were at advanced stages of implementation, mean the Department will get a clean audit during the 2022/23 financial year?

  3. The Committee noted that the National Treasury had urged the government departments to reduce the expenditure on personnel and operating costs, and redirect those funds towards more and urgent priorities for development purposes and asked the Department about the functional areas that it identified where savings could be made.


Departmental responses

  1. Regarding the entities being self-sufficient, the Department stated that entities such as SANParks had a potential to generate their revenue, however, they were facing challenges due to COVID-19, which had a negative impact on their revenue. The Department indicated that it had to provide increased infrastructure funding to the entities for the operations as they provided the public good service. The entities have since developed a turn-around strategy to be self-reliant going forward.

  2. The SANParks and iSimangaliso hosted an investor summit in the last quarter and presented packages suitable for investment purposes with the aim to increase their revenue and reduce their dependence to the fiscus.

  3. The Department also assured the Committee that it was implementing the roadmap to eradicate irregular expenditure, which resulted in non-compliance with the Supply Chain Management policies. It has put measures to improve internal systems and controls, reconstituted the Forum of CEO/CFOs from the Department and entities in order to have a standard approach when dealing with procurement matters.

  4. The Department also took the issue of consequence management seriously and non-performance as well as underspending, which should also constitute consequence management. The Director-General and Senior Management staff have entered into performance management contract, which are reviewed on monthly basis. In addition, the Department has also put in place corrective measures such as training of officials.

Programme 1: Administration


The Administration Programme is responsible for providing strategic leadership, management and support services to the Department. The Programme had a 22.1 per cent (R226.2 million) nominal increase in its allocation, mainly towards the Office Accommodation Sub-programme and compensation to employees. When factoring in inflation, the real increase is 16.9 per cent, amounting to R172.4 million. Concerning the total departmental budget, the share of this Programme is 14.0 per cent, which is a 2.7-per cent increase from the 2021 allocation. The Department plans to add three posts in Administration, and reduce a total of 69 personnel posts: 33 in Forestry and 36 in Fisheries branches in order to achieve the 3 762 personnel at the end of the 2022/23 financial year. The personnel reduction is expected to reduce costs to R1.946 billion, reflecting R10.3 million savings. Consequently, members raised several issues under this Administration Programme, comprising the following:


  1. During the 2021 allocation, there was a R185-million reduction from Office Accommodation in light of the upcoming vaccine rollout that may require some level of return to offices. How much is allocated towards Office Accommodation now that there is an expectation that officials should return to working from offices? Are all officials going to be expected back in the office or just a specific number or types of jobs?

  2. The Department plans to spend at least 65 per cent of its expenditure budget on BBBEE compliant companies, yet its projected performance for the 2021/22 financial year was 90 per cent of overall expenditure being BBBEE compliant companies. What are the reasons for setting the target so low when over the past three financial years the achievements have always been above 75 per cent?

  3. Are all funded departmental posts verified to be occupied by active personnel, and not ghost workers?

  4. In the 2022/23 budget document from the National Treasury, the Department had an estimated 3 828 personnel posts at the end of the 2021/22 financial year, while the 2022/23 APP of the Department shows there were 3 768 personnel posts at the end of December 2021. What is the explanation for the difference in the total number of personnel posts between the end of December 2021 and the end of March 2022 since both figures are supplied by the Department? What is the correct number of personnel posts, irrespective of whether occupied or vacant as of 1st April 2022?

  5. During the quarterly briefings, the Department undertook to engage the Disability SA and encourage staff within departmental branches to disclose disabilities, to hopefully, achieve the 2-per cent target of people living with disabilities.


Departmental responses


  1. Regarding the Office Accommodation and the return of employees to office, it was mentioned that the Department has implemented a phased approach since the lifting of the disaster management level 1 and 80 per cent of employees have returned to work and incremental occupancy would be applied until all the employees return. The Department also mentioned that it has appointed salary personnel to verify posts versus the number of employees in the establishment. The Department also conducts head counts annually to ensure that it was not paying ghost workers.

  2. On the question relating to discrepancies around vacancies in the establishment, the Department stated that this was influenced by the movement of staff, for example, resignations, retirement or new appointments, hence the number differs for 2021/22 and 2022/23 financial years as well as appointment of interns and contract workers. The Department has reviewed the current structure and submitted it to the Minister of Public Service and Administration for concurrence.

  3. Overall, the number of People with Disabilities (PWD) has since increased with seven officials through the interventions that were implemented. This has increased the compliance total to 1.9 per cent as at end of March 2022 – out of 3441 staff, 65 are PWD.


Programme 2: Regulatory Compliance and Sector Monitoring (RCSM)


The purpose of the Regulatory Compliance and Sector Monitoring (RCSM) 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 overall budget increase in budget allocations is R8.2 million, mainly contributed by a R15.9-million increase in the allocation toward the Integrated Environmental Authorisations Sub-programme. The share of this Programme is 2.5 per cent of the entire departmental allocation, which is the same as in the 2021 allocation. It is in this regard, among others, that members of the Committee raised the following matters:


  1. In the 2021/22 financial year, there was a significant increase in the budget allocation to the RCSM Management. However, the 2022/23 allocation shows a significant reduction. What are the drivers of such a reduction in the RCSM Management?

  2. The Department has removed the target on the rhino horn data management system, which was going to be used to objectively report on whether the rhino population is increasing or not. What is the reason for removing this target in the 2022/23 APP? Does this mean the development, testing and deployment of the system has been concluded or abandoned?

  3. It is commendable that some targets were adjusted upwards in Programme Two, in line with previous performances and this approach should be adopted by the other branches of the Department.

  4. The Compliance and Enforcement sub-programmes realised budget reductions when inflation for two successive financial years despite the significance of these sub-programmes in maintaining the integrity of the environment. The Department should clarify how it would ensure effective compliance with law and enforcement thereof in the face of growing environmental crimes, especially rhino and elephant poaching.

  5. The litigation budget has not changed in real terms (simply adjusted for inflation). Does this mean the Department expects the same litigation costs during the 2022/23 financial year?

  6. Whether the Department plays any role in the prevention or enforcement of applicable legislation against illegal mining operations, considering their impact on the different facets of the environment.

  7. Whether the Department knows the status of rhino horn and elephant tusk stockpiles in the country, and how these animal products are currently regulated to ensure that they do not leak into the black/illegal market.


Departmental responses


  1. The Department admitted that the budget for compliance was reduced, however, there were donations received from illegal poaching. This funds were utilized for appointment of investigators for environmental crimes and strengthen capacity within the NPA and SAPS. The funds were utilized when there were Court orders regarding the immediate rehabilitation of activities that were conducted illegally.

  2. On the reduction of some sub-programmes, this was due to the budget cuts, therefore, whatever was contained in the APP had to be funded according to the available budget.

  3. The litigation budget was covered by the relevant branch concerned as and when litigation arose and the Department was unable to predict the exact amount and the nature of litigation upfront hence the budget allocation was inflation adjusted for the period under review.

  4. With regard to illegal mining, it was said that this target was not for the Department. There is a case law regarding various mandates of the environmental inspectors for mining enforcement. On the criminal cases, the Department, upon finalisation of investigations it handed them over to the NPA for prosecution. Sometimes the court process took long to conclude and hence the reporting on successful conviction might come from the previous financial year. In relation to the illegal chrome processing facilities in the North West Province, the Department reached out to both the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) and compliance and enforcement officials in the North West Provincial Department of Environment. A recent engagement took place between DMRE and the North West Province and the Environmental Management  Inspectorates (EMIs) where the North West Province will begin dealing with the secondary aspects of this illegal mining, especially the processing facilities.

  5. Regarding the verification of the rhino horn and elephant tusks, this was part of the norm and standards to ensure compliance. The verification entails taking DNA and microchipping of the horns in the provincial parks, Ezemvelo Wildlife, private owners who need permits in order to ensure that the horn was obtained legally.


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. Despite the significant role of this branch, for example, South Africa has jurisdiction over an extensive exclusive economic zone (EEZ), with an extent of about 1.5 million square kilometres, more than the total landscape of the country, the budget of the Oceans and Coasts Programme was revised downward. Notwithstanding, this Programme has the potential to contribute more than R20 billion to the GDP and at least one million jobs by 2033. The allocation to this Programme makes up 5.39 per cent of the departmental budget (down from 5.49 per cent in 2021). The 2022 allocation is R18.1 million less in nominal terms when compared to the allocation of 2021 and shrunk by 7.8 in real terms. The allocations were reduced in four sub-programmes, with the Oceans Economy and Project Management sub-programme experiencing a substantial decrease of funds by R29.2 million. At the same time, the sub-programme Specialist Monitoring Services received R31.3 million more than in 2021.


This overall reduction raises questions about how the Department would deal with existing and additional responsibilities in the oceans space such as the proclamation and management of the new Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) as well as the Oceans Economy, inter alia. As a result, the Committee posed the following clarity-seeking questions:


5.3.1     How would the Department deal with the research and management of the expanded network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and Oceans Economy commitments when considering the downward revision in the budget of these functions?

  1. What necessitated the R31.3 million increase in the budget allocated to the Specialist Monitoring Services noting that in the 2021/22 financial year the budget was reduced by R26.9 million?

  2. How would the reduction in the Oceans Economy and Project Management affect delivery on the Oceans Economy deliverables?

  3. What does the budget reduction on the compensation of employees from R140 million in 2021 to R121.1 million mean for service delivery under the Oceans and Coasts Programme?

  4. In the 2021/22 financial year, the Oceans and Coasts Branch planned to create 1 200 aquaculture jobs, then 1 350 jobs in the 2022/23 financial year. However, the Department decided to remove this job creation target from the 2022/23 APP and the funds for the Oceans Economy function were reduced by 68 per cent (R29.2 million). How important is the development of the Oceans Economy to the Department, particularly the jobs? Why were resources withdrawn after years of marketing it as an economic area that has untapped potential?


Departmental responses


  1. The question around the research on the expansion of the MPAs, surveys were conducted to look for unique and vulnerable habitants and the reduction on the budget for Oceans and Coasts was necessarily reduced, however, the deliverables were transferred to special monitoring services within the Programme.

  2. DFFE plays a facilitating and coordination role in the matter of the Oceans Economy. The DFFE co-chairs a monthly forum, the Lab Coordination Committee (LCC), with the Department of Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation (DPME), to monitor the implementation of the initiatives in respect of the Oceans Economy. The Delivery Units established in the respective sector departments are responsible for the various Focus Areas (Oceans Economy Sub-sectors) and report on a monthly basis on progress in respect of implementation. Data on sub-sector job numbers and investments are also reported.


Programme 4: Climate Change, Air Quality and Sustainable Development


The purpose of this Programme is to lead the mainstreaming of environmental sustainability, low carbon and climate resilience and air quality in South Africa’s transition to sustainable development. The climate change aspects that had traditionally been under the Forestry Management Branch have already been transferred. The overall budget amounted to 5.3 per cent (down from 6.7 per cent in 2021) of the departmental budget. The budget was reduced by R141.9 million (23.2 per cent) in nominal terms, whereas rising to R162.2 million (26.5 per cent), in real terms. Significant changes were reduced allocations toward the South African Weather Service, and the International Governance and Resource Mobilisation sub-programme. This seemingly inconsistent climate responses, especially in light of recent floods in KwaZulu-Natal that caused loss of hundreds of lives and property naturally led the Committee to fraise serious concerns, comprising:


5.4.1     The Department will provide a R190 million capital injection to the South African Weather Service during the 2022/23 financial year. What are the capital projects and where are they located?

  1. What is the medium-term plan for the International Governance and Resource Mobilisation sub-programme now that its budget is reduced by 52.8 per cent (R70.4 million)?

  2. Functional early warning systems and effective communication are critical parts of climate change adaptation strategy. Was there early detection and communication of the severe weather in KwaZulu-Natal that could result in floods and landslides?

  3. The National Treasury and the Department had discussions on limiting the carbon sequestration deduction for forestry management and harvested wood products. Does the Department have a mechanism for certifying and verifying sequestrated emissions in the forestry sector? What are the possible areas of abuse of the carbon sequestration deductions, as this was raised as an issue to be addressed as of 1st January 2022?

  4. The reduction in allocations towards the Climate Change Mitigation, and Climate Change Adaptation sub-programmes appear to indicate that these sub-programmes are on the verge of being closed. What is the explanation for not funding these sub-programmes, when the expectation is that work related to climate change mitigation and adaptation would receive significant funding?

  5. The Department may need to explain the zero budget allocation to the Green Fund. How will this budgetary move affect efforts to transition to a green economy? It is stated that the Green Fund sub-programme invests in projects to protect the environment by working with the donor community and the private sector. How will this protection of the environment be achieved in the absence of any public spending, in this regard?

    1. Is the Department expecting donors and the private sector to put money into the Green Fund or is the Fund being discontinued?

5.4.7     Whether the Department was aware of the Report titled Durban Climate Action Plan, which predicted increased flood risks in KwaZulu-Natal Province that the eThekwini Metro was supposed to implement the recommendations. Was the Department aware about this C40 Report and has there been coordination with the local government to develop strategies and mitigate future large-scale floods going forward?


Departmental responses


  1. The Department has collaborated with organisations such as the South African Weather Service (SAWS), Agricultural Research Council (ARC), and University of KwaZulu-Natal, amongst others, to develop early warning systems for early detection of lightning, floods and droughts, including dissemination of seasonal weather forecasts to assist small-scale farmers in the Msunduzi Local Municipality. Furthermore, through the partnership with SAWS, support for the development of Integrated Multi-Hazard Early Warning System (ICMHEWS) in the uMgungundlovu Municipality is in progress.

  2. According to the Sixth IPCC Report that was released recently, it identified that these kind of severe weather events would occur more frequently going forward and therefore, there was a need for reconsideration on budgeting, human settlements and urban planning to became climate resilient in the long run;

  3. Regarding the Report titled Durban Climate Action Plan, it was responded that the eThekwini Metro had best Climate Resilience Strategy which was developed as the result of the C40 intervention which contained issues such as sea rise, flooding infrastructure and the Department has seen this Report. It was assisting the district municipalities to mainstream their climate resilient strategies to the eThekwini’s Strategy.

  4. There was a need for government to consider revisiting urban planning in the KwaZulu-Natal Province, including resettlement of the communities and infrastructure reconstruction to be climate resilient.

  5. The Green Fund (GF) together with its assets and liabilities was transferred by way of an MOU to the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA). The transfer came into effect as of 01 April 2020. At the time of the transfer the DBSA had also at its disposal a remaining balance of R397 907 260. The Green Fund was designed to have a catalytic role with the priority of leveraging private sector investment and co-financing as well as facilitating the Developing Bank to growth and development of its green economy portfolio and financing. Consequently, from the very start it was never the intention of the Department to ensure ongoing budget allocations from Government. Furthermore, the Green Climate Fund was also used as a vehicle to build evidence that the DBSA could be a major channel of international finance towards supporting the transition to a green economy.


Since the establishment of the Green Climate Fund in collaboration with the DBSA it has developed a portfolio of a total of 55 approved projects; a total of 8 capacity development projects; 16 research and development projects and 31 investment projects of which 22 projects accepted terms and conditions and which were subsequently implemented. Furthermore, the DBSA has been accredited with the Global Environment Facility and the Green Climate Fund. Subsequently the 31st Board meeting has just reaccredited the DBSA as an accredited implementing entity. The DBSA currently has a GCF portfolio of over R 10.45 billion (USD 700 million) total project value.


Hence, the Department believes that the Green Fund, with the best practice and lessons learnt over the period of its initial operation, together with the remaining balance of funds, the DBSA role as an accredited entity of the two major multilateral climate change finance mechanism, and an extensive portfolio of green economy investments is able to operate in supporting the just and green transition through its blended finance model, leveraging both public and private finances from all sources.

  1. Regarding the Report titled Durban Climate Action Plan, it was responded that the eThekwini Metro had best Climate Resilience Strategy, which was developed as the result of the C40 intervention, which contained issues such as sea rise, flooding infrastructure and the Department has seen this Report. It was assisting the district municipalities to mainstream their climate resilient strategies to the eThekwini’s Strategy. There was a need for government to consider revisiting urban planning in the KwaZulu-Natal Province, including resettlement of the communities and infrastructure reconstruction to be climate resilient.


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 budget allocation to this Branch constitutes 10.4 per cent (down from 12.6 per cent in 2021) of the departmental budget. This drastic decrease in budget allocation to the Branch is largely due to reduced allocations to entities reporting to the Branch. The transfers for the 2022/23 financial year amount to R760 million (81.7 per cent) of the Branch’s allocation, down from R922.6 million (80.8 per cent) in the 2021/22 financial year. Matters raised in the Biodiversity and Conservation Programme comprised:


5.5.1     During the 2020 SONA, the President pronounced that the biodiversity economy was a priority. Furthermore, the biodiversity economy is central to South Africa's tourism industry and building the resilience of communities to climate change. On the contrary, the budget allocation towards Biodiversity Economy and Sustainable Use Sub-programme was reduced by 14.1 per cent in the 2021/22 financial year, and again by 58.4 in 2022/23. The Department may need to explain whether the biodiversity economy is still a priority, and if so, how is it expected to operate with such a drastic cut in funding?

5.5.2     The Department has committed to working with entities to be financially sustainable on their own. Based on National Treasury’s medium-term expenditure estimates, iSimangaliso and SANParks will receive a relatively unchanged allocation, while SANBI will get an inflation-adjusted increase. Can the Department clarify these anomalies or contradictions against the undertaking by the Minister of gradual reduction of relying on the fiscus by entities?

  1. How will this budget address the challenges that confront significant parts of our ecosystems, such as rivers, wetlands, estuaries and coastal ecosystems, which are either critically endangered, endangered or vulnerable?

  2. The Committee was concerned about the protected areas established on the land previously owned or occupied by local communities, which were denied access to resources as conservation became an elitist list concern. The Committee wanted to know whether the Department would adopt a human-centred approach to natural resource management and get consensus from communities as to how and where these protected areas should be located and also how the communities would be compensated for their loss in that particular area.


Departmental responses


  1. On the question relating to Biodiversity Economy prioritisation, it was stated that the implementation should not be looked at the Branch level, but must also be looked at the role played by the departmental entities, namely, SANParks, IWPA and SANBI. Most Biodiversity Economy activities occur in protected areas as well as in private hands in terms of consumptive use of wildlife, which is not budgeted for by the state.

  2. The Department emphasised that it was still receiving priority despite the budget having been reduced. The Department said currently there was a review of Biodiversity strategy to capture elements such as ecotourism and transformation of the sector and this would be completed by end of the financial year.

  3. On the question around the protection of vulnerable ecosystems, the Department stated that it conducted biodiversity assessments every five years to assess the state of biodiversity in the country, this is then submitted to Cabinet for approval and funding to be availed for biodiversity loss is identified.

  4. On the question relating to communities in protected areas, the South African National Parks has developed a beneficiation strategy to resolve all the land claims.


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. Thus, the aim of the EPWP (via the Environmental Programmes) is to provide unemployed mainly disadvantaged people with income support through work opportunities, while building and protecting South Africa's natural resources using labour-intensive methods. It is seemingly this income-provisioning, pro-poor appeal of the Environmental Programmes that it received an increased budget allocation of 3.0 per cent (R107.5 million), mainly in two sub-programmes: the Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme, and Natural Resource Management. The budget of this Programme is 41.9 per cent of the departmental budget (40.4 per cent in 2021), thus making the bulk of the Department’s budget. Issues raised in this Programme include the following:


5.6.1     The budget of the Environmental Programmes Branch was increased by R107.5 million. How much of an impact is this expected to have on pro-poor employment and other empowerment initiatives that take place under this Environmental Programme?

5.6.2     When factoring in inflation, the budget of the Environmental Programmes Branch decreased by R53.9 million. How will the sub-programmes Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme, and Natural Resources Management programmes of the Expanded Public Works Programme be affected the most by this real reduction?


Departmental responses


5.6.3   In terms of the 2022 Estimate of National Expenditure, Environmental Programme Management had an average decline of 5.8 per cent from R11.5 to R9.1 million. Environmental Programme Management is an allocation that includes compensation of employees and goods and services at the Office of the Deputy Director-General. Following a structural re-organisation process, three positions were moved from the Office of Deputy Director-General to the Chief Directorate, Natural Resources Management to strengthen the delivery of the core business. The programmes responsible for employment, i.e., Environmental Protection and Infrastructure and Natural Resource Management Programmes have an average increase of 1.6 and 4.1 per cent, respectively.

  1. Another reference to the Environmental Programmes appeared in relation to the target for jobs that has been removed from the 2022/23 APP of the Forestry Programme and incorporated in the Environmental Programmes targets (More decent jobs created and sustained, with youth, women and persons with disabilities prioritised). It was stated that the Forestry Branch would for this financial year create 2195 Full Time Equivalents jobs and 4138 Work Opportunities. However, these jobs will be reported under Programme 6, as they are the leading Programme in managing and coordinating programmes within the Department for jobs created through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).


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. This Programme’s allocation is 7.0 per cent of the departmental budget (6.6 per cent in 2021). The overall nominal budget allocation to the Programme has increased by 4.7 per cent (R28.2 million). The Waste Bureau sub-programme takes up 73 per cent of this Programme’s allocation. The budget allocation seems to indicate a shift away from the funding of Hazardous Waste Management and Licensing towards Chemicals and Waste Management, and Integrated Waste Management and Strategic Support sub-programmes. The following issues were discussed under the Chemicals and Waste Management Programme:


  1. South Africa increased its plastic waste importation because of undeveloped collection systems locally. The Department undertook to invest in the collection system that would lead to decreased importation. What are the associated targets and budgets for this undertaking in the 2022/23 financial year?

  2. The Department and its municipal counterparts informed the Committee that landfill sites are filling up rapidly, particularly in Gauteng and that they would be rolling out alternative waste treatment technologies. What are the targets and budgets of alternative sites and the rolling out of alternative waste treatment technologies?


Departmental responses


  1. Regarding the unlicensed landfill sites, the Department stated that it was investigating four landfills operating illegally. Regarding the waste removal from the UPL Warehouse in KZN after the fire explosion, the Department collected hazardous waste to the Shongweni and Holfontein sites whilst liquid waste was taken to the DCLM site.

  2. We further have the Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) schemes for paper and packaging and based on the EPR commitments for paper and packaging, which includes plastic waste, the Department has a target for waste diversion at 60 per cent for the current year. The budget is not applicable as the EPR implementation is handled by the Producer Responsibility Organisation (PROs), which operates independently as per the EPR Regulations. It is noteworthy that the EPR measures above are part of the waste diversion from going to landfill. The other alternative waste   treatment technologies are waste to energy projects, which are implemented by municipalities.

Programme 8: Forestry Management


The Forestry Management Branch exists to develop and facilitate the implementation of policies and targeted programmes to ensure proper management of forests and the sustainable use and protection of land and water, manage agricultural risks and disasters. However, the recurring issue in this Programme has been the lack of attention to address repeat audit findings on biological assets, which hopefully will be addressed in the current financial year (2022/23). The allocation to the Forestry Branch makes up 7.7 per cent of the departmental budget (7.9 per cent in 2021) and was nominally reduced by R26.2 million (3.7 per cent). The bulk of the Programme budget (80 per cent) goes to the Forestry Operations Sub-programme. The following are the clarity-seeking questions raised by the Committee under the Forestry Branch or Programme:


5.8.1     The Department was asked to clarify what was happening with land invasions in forested areas, and what the Department was doing to address the matter in a sustainable manner.

5.8.2     How is the Department planning to manage its plantations, particularly addressing repeat audit findings on biological assets as funds for forestry operations are reduced?

5.8.3     The departmental plan shows that there will be 33 posts removed from the Forestry Branch, i.e., from 1 396 personnel in 2021 to 1 216 personnel in 2022.

  1. Which operational areas would be affected by this change, and if important, how would the Branch cover the work of the new vacancies? Will the implementation of the Forestry Master Plan be affected by the budget reduction in the Forestry Branch?


Departmental responses


  1. Regarding the question around the land invasions in forest plantations, the Department responded that this has been identified as a challenge in the implementation of the Forest Master Plan. Although the target was not in the APP, the Senior Management in the Forestry Branch had included it in their performance agreement in order to track the process on a monthly basis. An Action Plan has also been developed for the Western Cape to with land invasions in term of section 29 of the National Forests Act (No 84 of 1998), as amended.

  2. The repeat audit findings dealt with three main issues, i.e., Valuation and Existence of Biological assets; asset management; and incorrect recording of information. In relation to Valuation and Existence, the Department has conducted the physical verification for all the plantations to ascertain and confirm the existence of the biological assets. The next step will be to conduct enumerations in the next three years. This will be done in a phased approach since it is a costly exercise. An amount of R5 500 000 has been set aside for this financial year (2022/23). The Branch has re-prioritised the budget such that the enumerations can be conducted.

Concerning, asset management, the Department will conduct quarterly physically biological verification to track growing stock data and ensure that it corresponds with Microforest data. All losses as a result of fire, theft and other issues will be recorded and reported every quarter. The Department entered into a three-year contract with a number of private security companies. The companies were deployed to various plantations during the third quarter in 2021/2022 to safeguard biological assets in the plantations. Finally, recording of information, the Department is currently using Microforest (a system that is used in the forestry industry) for the recording of information. To ensure that information is correctly captured, the Department has increased human capacity in relation to planning, where each forestry province has         appointed a planner that will be responsible for the recording of the information on Microforest and the planning team at the National Office verifies the information captured.


To improve productivity, contribute to fibre security in the country and to create jobs in surrounding communities, the Department will be planting 1 800 hectares in various plantations to reduce the temporarily unplanted areas. These plantations are in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The Department will also be attending to the maintenance of the plantations by performing weed control, pruning, thinning and fire breaks,  covering an area of 2 100 hectares in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu Natal to reduce the risk of fires, improve timber/stem quality, reduction of pest and diseases, increase the value of remaining trees and improve accessibility within the compartments.


In preparation for the Branch restructuring in the future, where the Department will not be responsible for the day-to-day management of plantations and will be a regulator, the Branch had to reconsider and repurpose some of the posts. This has allowed the Branch to create posts to align to the requirements of the Masterplan and providing leadership in the sector. Most of the posts that have been repurposed are low level posts (Level 2 and some 3). The areas that will be affected by this will be the day-to-day work in the plantations, but the Branch will be appointing workers, utilising EPWP as these plantations will in future be managed by communities and the industry so that the Department is not a referee and a player. To ensure that the Masterplan is implemented, the Branch has re-prioritised the budget and for some targets such as research and agroforestry, the Branch is collaborating with the industry.


Programme 9: Fisheries Management


The Fisheries Management Programme serves to ensure sustainable utilisation and orderly access to marine living resources through improved management and regulation. The funds allocated to the Fisheries Branch make up 5.9 per cent of the total departmental allocation (7.1 per cent in 2021). The overall budget was reduced by R124.5 million (19.2 per cent) when compared to the 2021 budget allocation. The worst affected sub-programmes are Fisheries Management, and Monitoring, Control and Surveillance. The Marine Living Resources Fund (MLRF), which finances the maintenance and operation of the fisheries research and patrol vessels, gets 60.3 per cent of the Branch’s allocation. The costs of vessel maintenance and operation are expected to be higher when factoring in the state of the currency and higher fuel prices. Premising on these overall and intra-programme budget allocation dynamics, the Committee raised the following issues in relation to the Fisheries Branch of the Department:


  1. The Mbhashe Municipality in the Eastern Cape is supporting the Marine Tilapia Project, intending to establish a new, sustainable and inclusive green growth aquaculture industry along the east coast, where they will produce low‐cost whitefish protein. Due to funding constraints, the project has been delayed. As the custodian of aquaculture in the country, how is the Department helping the Municipality to achieve its goal and what are outstanding issues to be addressed, as well as associated timelines?

  2. The Fisheries Management Branch is often unable to deliver services timeously due to human capacity shortages, such as fishing rights allocations. While at that, the departmental plan shows that there will be a further 36 posts reduced from the already understaffed Branch. What are the explanations for reducing the staff complement when the demand for services in this Branch is on the increase? For example, the management and support of the small-scale fishery need more personnel. What will the Department be doing to ensure improved service delivery in the face of reduced staff complement?

  3. Eliminating illegal fishing is proving to be impossible for the Department to achieve. The Department should clarify how the reduction in the budget of the Monitoring, Control and Surveillance Sub-programme is not going to affect compliance and law enforcement in the sector, considering South Africa’s extensive coastline.


Departmental responses


  1. The Department is aware of the proposed marine tilapia project at the Mbhashe Municipality. The project is initiated by the Eastern Cape Rural Development Agency in partnership with the Province and the Municipality. As the lead department, the DFFE provides technical support to various government departments/entities on aquaculture development. The DFFE can provide technical support to this project should it be required.

  2. The Fisheries Branch, through the Marine Living Resources Fund (MLRF), has appointed additional capacity on contract to assist with the Fishing Rights Allocation Process (FRAP) and with the roll-out of the Small-scale Fisheries Policy. These contracts are funded by the MLRF, rather than from the Department’s cost of employment budget. In addition, the Branch has re-assigned the Fishery Development Workers (FDWs) who are based in the regions along the coast line to assist with providing support to the Small-scale fishers. The Marine Living Resources Fund provides the budget for the operating costs of the sub-programme Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS). This sub-directorate will receive the same baseline as per the previous year’s allocation, with the possibility of a mid-term upward adjustment. There will therefore not be a reduction in the budget of MCS in the current financial year.

  3. The aim of the fisheries inspections is to ensure “visible policing” in the priority fisheries, with the definite intention of reducing illegal fishing, over-fishing, ensuring compliance with permit conditions. The measurable impact is stock recovery. This has been achieved in several fisheries, but has been more difficult in the nearshore fisheries such as abalone and West Coast Rock Lobster. This is the reason why the Fisheries Branch will be developing focused strategies with other law enforcement agencies to deal with poaching of abalone and West Coast Rock Lobster.




6.1.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 develop, expand, manage and promote a system of sustainable national parks that represents the country’s biodiversity and heritage assets through innovation and best practice for the just and equitable benefit of current and future generations. It is in this regard that the Committee raised the following matters with SANParks, while interacting with the entity’s Strategic Plan (2019/20 – 2023/24) and Annual Performance Plan and budget for the 2022/23 financial year:


  • The Committee raised a concern on the decrease of rhino population in the Kruger National Park;

  • The Committee wanted to know if there were discussions with private land owners to retain the sustainability of rhinos going forward;

  • The Committee also wanted know which budget goals anti-poaching response fell under;

  • The Committee wanted to know the percentage of rhinos poached in the estimated population instead of numbers;

  • The Committee also raised concern about the killing of rhinos in Hluhluwe since January 2022;

  • The Committee further raised a concern about the slower pace in finalizing the disciplinary process of the CEO and CFO who have been placed on special leave, but were receiving their  salaries and wanted to know when SANParks would have a fulltime CEO; and

  • The Committee also wanted to know if SANParks had wildlife donation policy.


6.1.1     South African National Parks responses

  • SANParks admitted that the rhino population has been on the decline over past few years, mainly due to poaching;

  • SANParks also stated that they have partnered with the public and private land owners to manage rhino populations as well as NGOs such as WWF and Wilderness Foundation to improve conservation efforts for wildlife;

  • On the issue regarding the disciplinary hearing, the matter was handled by an independent Chairperson and admitted that the process has taken longer to finalise, however, the Board did not interfere with the independent process;

  • It was also responded that the anti-poaching goal fell under Biodiversity Sustainability; and

  • On the question regarding international wildlife donation programme, it was responded that the international donations come through DFFE through the Minister. There was a policy in place, which stipulates that SANParks could not be approached directly by any international donor as there were protocols in place to be followed that were governed at the national level through DFFE. However, the Minister disputed this and mentioned that she had never authorized any wildlife donations.


6.2.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. The issues raised by the Committee with the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority comprised the following:

  • The Committee commended IWPA for implementing the Committee recommendation in developing an outreach programme for disadvantaged children from rural areas and townships that could expose them to educational and awareness programmes; 

  • The Committee wanted the details of land invasions and wanted the amicable solution that iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority reached with the land invaders;

  • The Committee also wanted to know whether the land invaders left or they were  still invading the land and how this would be prevented in future;

  • The Committee made reference to an article that was published recently that when the communities were taken to the St Lucia Estuary  it was not explained to them that the mouth was not blocked by cement, however, the sand has hardened and became like cement;

  • The Committee also sought clarity on the percentage of local suppliers that were contracted by IWPA;

  • The Committee wanted to know details regarding the partnership with Ezemvelo and whether IWPA knew how the employees in Ezemvelo felt about possible job losses and what was being done to  prevent job loses;

  • The Committee also wanted details regarding the fence that was to be erected in the Park;

  • There was also a question on how often the IWPA clear alien invasive species and how much has been cleared since December 2021, and what was done with the wood that was cleared and was there any income generated from the sale of the wood?

  • The Committee wanted to know how much was spent on the Investor Summit in eThekwini;

  • The Committee wanted know whether the commercial and small-scale farmers were included in the People-and-Parks meetings, how the meetings were advertised, and whether  there was any attendance register;

  • There was a question on current pass rate of the bursary beneficiaries; and

  • There was a concern that communities living closer to conservation areas such as St Lucia and the Kruger National Park have been alienated from these areas as conservation became for the enjoyment of elitist and privileged. The Committee would like to know what was being done to ensure that these communities benefit from the economic proceeds of these areas.


6.2.1     iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority responses

  • On the question relating to land invasions, it was responded that the invaders were engaged numerous time, however, when the situation intensified, IWPA requested assistance from the SAPS and went to Court to get an interdict to stop further invasions;

  • On the question regarding the amicable solution that was reached was that invaders vacated the land and it was agreed that they would stop invading the World Heritage site;

  • Regarding the community trip to the Estuary mouth, IWPA admitted that communities were taken to the mouth in order to clear the misconception amongst the communities that a wall had been built, yet it was the sand dune that compacted or hardened;

  • On the question regarding the inclusion of commercial and small-scale farmers in People-and-Parks meetings, it was stated that attendance in the meetings was only for land claimants and invitations were sent to Trustees and Community Representatives and the attendance registers were available;

  • The budget for hosting the Investor Summit in eThekwini was R500 000;

  • With regards to the fence, IWPA mentioned that the fence maintenance was ongoing, for example, if the fence has been cut during poaching or rotten because of the wet nature of the area;

  • On the question regarding removal of invasive species, it was said that there was already a contractor on site clearing and the wood that was removed was left to stabilize so that it did not block river;

  • On the concern regarding conservation being for the elite or privileged, IWPA stated that they have granted communities free access to the Park, created job and business opportunities;

  • The IWPA assured the Committee that there would be no job losses for Ezemvelo employees and Unions were also part of this process; and

  • On the question regarding the bursary beneficiaries, it was stated that the pass rate was 91 per cent in the previous financial year, but for the period under review it has been kept at 75 per cent in order to accommodate new entrants who were not familiar with the university environment.


6.3.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, 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 Forestry, Fisheries and Environment on any matter regulated in terms of the Act, and any international agreements affecting biodiversity that are binding on South Africa.


To this end, SANBI presented its strategic plan (2019/20 – 2023/24), annual performance plan and budget for the 2022/23 financial year via a virtual platform (Zoom) on 19 April 2022. Members of the Committee raised several issues on the entity’s strategic plan, annual performance plan and budget, which are captured below:


  • The Committee congratulated SANBI on the state of Harold Porter Gardens;

  • The Committee wanted details regarding new or planned additional botanical gardens;

  • The Committee sought clarity on the Wrench bequest and projects envisaged with those funds;

  • The Committee wanted to know  the sliding tariff scale and whether there was any tariff structure for locals and tourists to gardens;

  • Were there any attempts by SANBI to reduce entrance fees to the botanical gardens for example, Kirstenbosch is too pricey for the locals to visit;

  • The Committee wanted to know whether SANBI was in a position to generate its own revenue and whether the 20 per cent  revenue was generated yearly; and

  • The Committee wanted to know the status of the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria.


6.3.1     SANBI responses

  • SANBI stated that plans were underway to establish a Botanical Garden around the Rustenburg area in the North West Province although the process was taking longer to finalise;

  • In addition, there were two new botanical gardens established in Limpopo, Thohoyandou and in Kwelerha in the Eastern Cape;

  • SANBI also responded that John Wrench’s Family donated R5 million  towards conservation activities for SANBI, which was used to support young children as well as postgraduate students through John Wrench’s Scholarship;

  • Regarding the sliding tariff structure, it was responded that it differed depending on the service offering by each garden;

  • SANBI also stated that it offered free entrance to pensioners on Tuesdays and charged different entrance fees for children, students, adults and locals whilst international tourists pay different rates;

  • On the question relating to financial sustainability, SANBI stated that it has developed resource mobilization and partnerships to generate its own revenue;

  • Regarding the concern by the Committee on the development of an outreach programme for disadvantaged children, SANBI responded that there were a number of outreach programmes such as Groen Sebenza, Wrench Scholarship, career programmes for scholars, bursaries for university students, to name a few; and

  • On the question relating to the NZG, it was stated that there were infrastructure upgrades underway aimed at attracting locals and to provide better tourism experiences.


6.4       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. 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. SAWS’ strategic plan (2019/20 – 2023/24), annual performance plan and budget for the 2022/23 financial year, which were presented to the Committee via a virtual platform (Zoom) on 19 April 2022, were reflective of this dual function. The details of the interactions between the Committee and SAWS are captured below:


  • The Committee wanted to know why SAWS did not issue early warning regarding the extreme flooding in the East Coast of KwaZulu-Natal;

  • The Committee raised a concern about SAWS’ inability to meet the target on the radar infrastructure availability for some years and wanted to know the reason for 75 per cent achievement yet an amount of R240 million had already been spent four years ago; and

  • The Committee emphasized that this target should not become illusive again in the current financial year.


6.4.1     South African Weather Service responses

  • SAWS responded that they issued impact based early warnings in various channels regarding the KZN flooding and were also part of the National Disaster Management Centre and in addition, they also made presentations to the Inter-Ministerial Committee;

  • There were also entities that were directly responsible for the mitigation of the floods such as the Provincial Disaster Management Centre; and

  • On the failure to meet the radar infrastructure availability, it was responded that radar infrastructure was expensive to procure and required an amount of R40 million per installation and there was limited budget available.




Having considered the inputs by the Department and entities, the Committee appreciatively noted the manner in which the Department and entities planned to execute their respective mandates and take on new responsibilities, as underpinned by a myriad of factors and modifiers of our natural environment. Despite the ongoing fiscal constraints, the Committee is of the view that the Department and entities have a clear roadmap for implementing their responsibilities for the people of South Africa and global community, as shown by their annual performance plans and performance targets, as defined by their respective mandates, which are, in turn, underpinned by our supreme law, the Constitutions of the Republic of South Africa and plethora of environmental laws that directly descended from section 24(b) of this umbrella law. Our responsibility as the Committee now is to ensure that the Department and the respective entities do exactly, as they have proposed for themselves without any deviation except to exceed agreed targets. The Minister has already made it abundantly clear that achieving 80 per cent is an unacceptable performance. It is therefore in this regard that the Committee makes the following recommendations:


  • The Department and entities should achieve all their respective set targets - it is poor planning when budgets, which are directly linked to performance targets are exhausted yet many targets remain unachieved, off target or partially achieved;

  • The Department and SANParks should ask why anti-poaching efforts have not brought poaching to appreciable levels in the Kruger National Park despite the huge commitment of resources to this cause. There might be a more effective deterrent or cost-effective way[s] that we might presently be overlooking.

  • The Department should clarify how the threats of climate change, especially to livelihoods and issues of air pollution would be addressed when the Department’s spending is expected to decrease at an average annual rate of 3.4 per cent, from R9.9 billion in 2020/21 to R8.9 billion in 2023/24 in nominal terms.

  • The South African Weather Services should monitor possible severe weather conditions and inform the Minister who would then inform the Cabinet to ensure that the country is in a better state of preparedness to prevent and reduce the risk of loss of lives and property.

  • The Minister should look into the allocation of fishing rights during the appeal process, especially for the traditional fishers who rea facing bankruptcy and economic destitution for not being granted fishing rights.

  • The Department should develop a Baboon Strategy or policy mandating the Table Mountain National Park to take full responsibility of the baboons in the Western Cape.

  • The Department should provide the Committee with the Draft Shark, the Penguin Management Plan as well as the Baboon Strategy once finalised.

  • The Department should provide the Antarctic Outreach Programme Strategy to the Committee within seven days.

  • The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority should submit the list or database of local suppliers.

  • SANBI should submit information on its outreach programmes similar to the IWPA.

  • Provincial entities to be called to present their failure to mitigate the floods in the KZN, although they were privy to the C40 Report that warned about possible severe floods in the East Coast.

  • SANParks should finalise the disciplinary process against the current CEO and, if need be, prioritise the appointment of a permanent CEO to stabilise the organisation.


The Minister should submit a detailed response to the Committee on all the recommendations made in this report within 90 days after the adoption of this report by the National Assembly.


Having considered the budget and annual performance plan of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment, the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries recommends to the House to adopt the Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Budget Vote 32 allocation for the 2022/23 financial year, with the allocation of R8. 947 billion, as tabled on 23 February 2022.



Report to be considered.









[1] National Treasury (2022) Vote 32: Forestry, Fisheries and Environment. National Treasury, Pretoria.