ATC221017: Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Enviromental During the House Sitting of 09 March 2021, as adopted on 13 October 2022
Report of the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings on the Executive Undertakings made by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Enviromental During the House Sitting of 09 March 2021, as adopted on 13 October 2022.
On 09 March 2021, the Minister on Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental made the following executive undertakings during the question and answer Session in the National Council of Provinces (House):
- Executive Undertaking 1: “We are engaged in first of all trying to unlock new markets for our aquaculture products particularly in the European Union through our multilateral trade relations.”
- Executive Undertaking 2: “We have ongoing negotiation with the Chinese government to relist the oyster species. We are trying to reduce red types and allow the abalone products to be sold in the local markets.”
- Executive Undertaking 3: “We are also conducting feasibility studies on acceptance of saving locally produced aquaculture products such tilapia and catfish in residential institutions such correctional facilities.”
- Executive Undertaking 4: “The full draft action table which encompasses all of these recommendations will be implemented in full in the 2021-22 financial year.”
- Executive Undertaking 5: “We do need to look at our Operation Phakisa 5 programmes and how these can be excluded to protecting our shark species.”
- Executive Undertaking 6: “I think what’s really important here is that we are working on mainstreaming these recommendations into the annual performance (APP) of the Department as a whole and into the oceans and coasts branch and fisheries branch.”
- REFERRAL PROCEDURE TO THE COMMITTEE
The concerned executive undertakings were referred to the Select Committee on Petitions and Executive Undertakings (Committee) by the Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces (NCOP), for it to scrutinise and subsequently report to the House on their implementation.
After their referral the Committee proceeded to extend an invitation to the Minister to appear before it and report on the progress made by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental (Department) in implementing the concerned executive undertakings.
- COMMITTEE MEETING PROCEDURES
On 11 August 2022, the Minister and relevant officials of the Department appeared before the Committee to report on the progress made in implementing the executive undertakings under consideration.
The following Committee Members were present at the meeting:
3.1 Hon A D Maleka, ANC, Mpumalanga (Chairperson);
3.2 Hon S Shaikh, ANC, Limpopo;
3.3 Hon T S C Dodovu, ANC, North-West;
3.4 Hon E M Mthethwa, ANC, KwaZulu-Natal;
3.5 Hon B M Bartlett, ANC, Northern Cape;
3.6 Hon N Ndongeni, ANC, Eastern Cape;
3.7 Hon C Visser, DA, North West,
3.8 Hon I M Sileku, DA, Western Cape;
3.9 Hon K Motsamai, EFF, Gauteng; and
3.10 Hon Zandamela, EFF; Mpumalanga;
The following Committee officials were in attendance:
3.11 Mr N Mkhize, Committee Secretary;
3.12 Mr X Simelane; Committee Researcher/Acting Content Advisor;
3.13 Mrs N Fakier; Executive Secretary; and
3.14 Mr M Erasmus, Committee Assistant
The following representatives of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental appeared before the Committee during the meeting:
3.15 Hon B Creecy – Minister;
3.16 Ms F Craigie –; Enforcement and Operation Phakisa 5 Programme;
3.17 Ms S Middleton -; Fisheries Management and
3.18 Mr B Simoli - Chief Director of Agriculture and Economic Development
- PROGRESS REPORT BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY, FISHERIES AND ENVIROMENTAL
The Department reported as follows:
- Executive Undertaking 1:
The Department confirmed that an assessment has been done on the readiness of South Africa aquaculture products to meet the export requirement of the European Union (EU). The recommendations of the study have been noted and are being addressed by the Department and other relevant government entities.
Further in response, the Department submitted that a formal application has been made with the EU to request export of mussels and abalone to the EU. There are ongoing engagements with the EU to assess readiness of the local aquaculture products. Indicating, that the EU have a backlog to undertake physical audits due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which is a requirement for listing of new products within the EU. The Committee was assured, that once the backlog of member states has been addressed they will prioritise South African’s audit. And the Committee was made aware that the timeframes for this process are entirely dependent on the EU.
4.2 Executive Undertaking 2:
The Department reported that numerous engagements have occurred with the relevant competent authorities in China, the South Africa embassy in China, the National Regulator for Compulsory Specification (NRCS), DIRCO and the DTIC to address the re-listing of oysters. The Committee was made aware that after technical report on the specific species name and description by the Department and the intervention by the NRCS and DIRCO, the species was re-listed by China government in September 20021.And assured the Committee that companies have been exporting to China since September 2021.
- Executive Undertaking 3:
The Department reported that as a Department, they have reduced the red tape by granting a blanket one-year approval to allow abalone farming sector enable the sale of abalone on the local market with conditions. Further submitting that the initial piloting and information derived from industry which indicated a positive impact of the initial exemption on the local market, a new exemption was granted in 18th November 2021 for another year.
Further in response, the Department submitted that the trial on feasibility study on acceptance of locally produced catfish was piloted in 2021 at Kirkwood Correctional facility in the Eastern Cape with positive feedback and results received from the Department of Correctional Services. And the Department assured that the tilapia trial is planned for August 2022 in Gauteng.
4.4 Executive Undertakings 4:
The Department reported that a detailed roadmap for priority actions, with time frames and responsibilities, has been developed.
4.5 Executive Undertakings 5:
The Department submitted that Operation Phakisa 5 (now constituted as the Natjoints Priority Committee on Marine and Ocean Crime) focuses on a range of risks within the marine environment, including the illegal harvesting of marine resources, illicit economy, inclusive of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and associated transnational crime, drugs and other commodity smuggling, ITES and wildlife issues, sand mining and adherence to the correct environmental procedures by vessels and controlling authorities, inclusive of waste management, effluent and industrial discharge. Based on the information received, planned operations have looked at certain compliances and enforcement operations and activities on shark species and there have been a number of criminal cases from operations that focused on illegal activities involving shark fins. In line with the implementation plan for the NPOA (as discussed below) this programme will be requested to increase the number of operations targeting the protection of shark species.
4.6 Executive Undertakings 6: In response the Department submitted that the Fisheries Branch has included the National Plan of Action on Sharks (NPOA) in it APP of the Branch/Department. The target for the 2022/2023 financial year is to have the NPOA for sharks’ implementation Plan approved. The Q1 and Q2 were to develop the detailed roadmap to deliver milestones for individual actions. These are on track.
5. OBSERVATIONS AND KEY FINDINGS
In noting the progress report given by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental in relation to the implementation of the executive undertakings under review, the Committee made the following observations and key findings:
Members did not ask questions and the Chairperson attributed this to the thorough presentation.
Further, in noting the progress report made by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environmental, the Committee, lastly, observes that the executive undertakings have been adequately implemented and therefore recommends that they be closed.
Report to be tabled for consideration.