ATC100202: Report 2008/09 Annual Report of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism

Water and Sanitation

Report of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs on the 2008/09 Annual Report of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, dated 2 February 2010


The Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs, having considered the 2008/09 Annual Report on 11 November 2010 of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, reports as follows:




In terms of the financial component of the annual report of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, there had been no unauthorised or irregular expenditure.  They had also received an unqualified audit report from the Office of the Auditor-General.  The rating, (as the top department of their audit list), by the Department of Public Service and Administration was considered a major accomplishment of the functioning of the department.  The department’s internal audit committee was fully functional.


Members raised a number of issues and questions, which focused primarily on the following achievements and challenges:


·         The department was firstly commended on being selected top of the audit list by the Department of Public Service and Administration.

·         The functioning capacity of Environmental Impact Assessments.

·         The carbon footprint of government departments.

·         Abalone protection.

·         The establishment of environmental courts.

·         Municipalities’ readiness to integrate waste management plans.

·         Greening 2010.

·         Green grading of hotels.

·         Reduction of un-permitted waste sites.

·         The proclamation of Vredefort Dome as a world heritage site.

·         Hazardous medical waste.

·         Learnerships, bursaries and vacancies.


1. Overview of the performance of the six programmes


The following programmes underpin the work of the department:


Programme 1:  Administration

Programme 2:  Environmental Quality and Protection (EQP)

Programme 3:  Marine and Coastal Management (MCM)

Programme 4:  Tourism

Programme 5:  Biodiversity and Conservation (B & C)

Programme 6:  Sector Services and International Relations (SSIR)


Input was provided on the transfers to each of the department’s agencies:  iSimangaliso Wetland Park; South African Weather Services (SAWS); Marine Living Resources Fund (MLRF); South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI); South African Tourism; and South African National Parks (SanParks). Table 1 below reflects the transfers to each of the agencies:


iSimangaliso Wetland Park


Financial assistance and infrastructure as provided for in funding legislation

South African Weather Services


Financing assistance and infrastructure as provided for in funding legislation

Marine Living Resources Fund


Financing assistance and infrastructure as provided for in funding legislation

South African National Biodiversity Institute


Financial assistance and infrastructure as provided for in funding legislation

South African National Parks


Financial assistance and infrastructure as provided for in funding legislation

South African Tourism


Financial assistance and International Tourism Marketing contribution


       1 565 803


Note:  The spending trends and performance of the agencies are reflected in their respective reports.


In addition to the information on transfers, the presentation also noted the achievements and challenges of the overall functioning (financial and non-financial performance) of the department.  This included: 


·         No unauthorised or irregular expenditure.

·         Compliance with all disclosures.

·         An unqualified audit report from the Office of the Auditor-General.

·         An acknowledgement for being on the top of the audit list of the Department of Public Service and Administration. 

·         A fully-functional internal audit committee.

·         An under-spending of R7, 6 million.  This was allocated for air quality testing equipment but had not yet been put in place.


In detailing the budget and expenditure review for 2008/09 of each of the programmes, Table 2 below reflects the allocations for each of the programmes:



Budget: 2008/09


Expenditure: 2008/09


Expenditure as % of final appropriation





Environmental Quality and Protection 




Marine and Coastal Management








Biodiversity and Conservation




Sector Services and International Relations









1.1     Achievements and challenges – non-financial performance


In highlighting the achievements, challenges and corrective measures for each of the programmes, emphasis was placed on the following aspects:


Programme 1:  Administration




·         A 95% implementation of Performance Management Development System was achieved.

·         A 100% of planned and funded training facilitated as part of workplace skills plan.

·         100% employee related cases processed within prescribed timeframes.

·         In terms of staff demographics representivity, that of : gender, race and people with disabilities, the following was highlighted:

o        54% women; 90% blacks and 1.4% people with disabilities.  For 2009/10, the department will approach the associations of people with disabilities to market opportunities.

·         2 quarterly reports published and the draft annual tourism report developed.




·         The target of reducing the vacancy rate was not achieved due to delays in filling posts.  The department decided to coordinate filling of same groups posts as a single process to address delays in filling of posts.


Programme 2: Environmental Quality and Protection




·         85% of Environmental Impact Management (EIM) of provincial applications completed.

·         Three hundred and fifty two (352) provincial officials trained in EIM review and decision-making related matters.

·         100% of reported emergency incidents received timely response.

·         The number of investigations into reported and prioritised non-compliance transgressions exceeded the target of 35. Fifty one (51) administrative investigations were conducted.  Approximately 59 criminal investigations – top ten prioritised for investigation and enforcement.

·         Thirty (30) envisaged authorisations monitored compared to the envisaged target of 15 environmental authorisations monitored for compliance.

·         Nine hundred and seventy five (975) EMIs trained compared to the 950 envisaged targets.

·         Practical training for waste management capacity development was completed for 9 provinces.

·         The Draft Hazardous Waste Classification system is in place, and the departmental adjudicating committee approved appointment of international service provider.

·         Asbestos phase out plans have been developed.

·         The final draft of the incineration policy completed and under consideration for promulgation for public comment.

·         The national policy on co-processing of alternative raw fuels in cement kilns was gazetted and will be finalised in 2009.

·         The Waste Management Act was promulgated in March 2009.

·         The envisaged target of 18 ambient air quality monitoring stations providing information to South Africa’s air quality information system was met.

·         There was a reduction of 27 metros and district municipalities with air quality that did not meet ambient air quality standards.  The target set was achieved.

·         Climate Change Policy: The Long-Term Mitigation Scenarios (LTMS) process was formally concluded with decisions and directions from the 2008 July Cabinet Lekgotla and scenarios were published.




·         The Environmental Management Frameworks (EMFs) completed but not gazetted.  Targets to be adjusted for the 2009/10 financial year.

·         The envisaged target of conviction rate against environmental transgressors for all cases that have been to court was calculated at between 75 to 80%.  The cases have not gone through courts, hence there were no convictions.  20 cases are with the National Prosecution Authority (NPA).

·         The envisaged target percentage reduction of unpermitted waste disposal sites was set at 30%.  There was a 2.5% reduction.  The department depends on municipalities submitting applications.  All municipalities owning 116 sites have been visited to compile applications.


Programme 3:  Marine and Coastal Management (MCM)




·         Marine aquaculture scientific base and management regime in place:  The target was set to initiate 5 marine aquaculture pilot projects.  A feasibility study was conducted for potential sites.  In terms of this sector, the policy and implementation plan finalised; feed experiments completed for kob; scientific publication completed on reproductive cycle of scallops; a student has begun working on sea urchin research and final report for joint aquaculture research frontier programme with the Department of Science and Technology completed.

·         South African strategic research presence in Antarctica and Marion Island:  The user needs for the new vessel was compiled, the ship building contract advertised and four companies shortlisted.  The envisaged target for the demolition of the old base site will be reset to allow the Department of Public Works and South African National Antarctic Expeditions planned and carried out.

·         The 80% target managed capacity in place for declared Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) was reached.

·         The Integrated Coastal Management Bill was signed into law by the President, now Act No 24 of 2008.




Programme 4: Tourism




·         Skills availability in the tourism sector:  The National Tourism Human Resource Development (HRD) Strategy has been finalised and launched at National Tourism Conference in October 2008.

·         A total of 128 tourist guides have been trained on SA Host.  Limpopo Province did not have a budget for accommodation and its training will take place during the 2009/10 financial year.

·         135 training opportunities created.

·         4 163 Small Micro and Medium Enterprises (SMMEs) trained.  The envisaged target of 1 000 was exceeded.

·         135.6% of the approved 2008/09 sector skills plan targets implemented.  The target was set at 50%.

·         8 053 accommodation establishments graded in comparison to the target of 6 365.

·         40% of Tourism 2010 plan implemented. 

·         The Final National Framework for 2010 Greening is in place.




·         Levels of tourism: Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Charter and Scorecard Implementation:  50% if targets are met.  The tourism sector was unable to report since the sector code had not been gazetted.  This has since been gazetted in May 2009.

·         The target of organs of state procuring from empowered establishments was set at 30%.  The tourism sector was unable to report since the sector code had not been gazetted


Programme 5:  Biodiversity and Conservation




·         Systems to standardise trade and utilisation of threatened, protected or commercial species established:  Regulations are developed for the Draft Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Fauna and Flora (CITES).  The final draft document for Hunting Norms and Standards developed. A database/register was developed and the register of bio-prospecting applications received.

·         Measures to manage threats to biodiversity developed:  A draft status quo report on National Biodiversity Framework implementation completed.  The Draft Cycad Biodiversity Management Plan developed and the final draft of the Alien Invasive Species Regulations was recommended for publication.

·         Conservation estate expansion to ensure ecosystem representivity and viability:  The national expansion plan approved and funds transferred to South African National Parks (SANParks).  Three suitable grassland areas were identified.

·         Three (3) additional World Heritage Sites (WHS) proclaimed.  The Cape Flora Region Protected Areas and Mapungubwe World Heritage Sites proclaimed.  The Draft Gazette Notice for Vredefort initiated.

·         The final Vhembe Biosphere Reserve nomination proposal submitted to United Nations Education and Scientific Commission (UNESCO).

·         Protected Areas Performance Management:  National process on performance management system was presented with recommendations and approved.  Request extended to Robben Island management authority to submit Integrated Management Plan (IMP) through Department of Arts and Culture.  Workshops were held with stakeholders to review Vredefort Dome to draft IMPs.  A meeting was held with iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority to review and provide comments on the draft iSimangaliso Wetland Park IMP.

·         Research to support conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity facilitated:  The Biosafety Research programme is not yet complete. However, the biosafety research strategy has been prepared.  Ongoing consultations took place with the National Research Foundation (NRF) to assist with the development of the Biosafety Research Strategy to form part of the Biodiversity Research Strategy being developed by the Department of Science and Technology.  A draft guide to funding a Centre of Excellence for Biosafety has been developed.

·         The draft work plan for elephant management submitted by South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI) was submitted for consideration.

·         Levels of professional regulation and/or co-regulation for practitioners in the environmental sector:  A strategy toward co-regulation of recreational off- road driving and a business plan for implementation has been completed. The draft qualification for Environmental Authorisation Professional Standards (EAPS) gazetted for public comment.  The task team had a final meeting to incorporate comments received for final submission for registration by South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) in terms of the National Qualifications Framework.

·         Environmental sector skills development for non-DEAT officials: Adverts to recruit 50 learners and call for proposals placed in national papers.  All 7 host employers completed the shortlisting process to identify potential learners.

·         4 364 learners have visited parks as part of programmes to enhance biodiversity appreciation.

·         Programmes to advance vulnerable communities developed: The draft national co-management framework for protected areas was finalised.  This was presented to the DEAT/Department of Land Affairs task team, provinces and People and Parks Steering Committee.  The proposed calculation for lease option was completed.

·         The draft post- land settlement support framework has been developed:   The cabinet memorandum on the settlement of land claims against national protected areas has been completed.  The cabinet memorandum has been approved for settlement of claims of Kruger National Park.

·         The Community Based Natural Resources Management (CBNRM), Access and Benefit Sharing (ABS) implementation plan finalised.  There is a provision for provinces to report on progress against implementation of the plan.

·         Sector transformation framework developed for the Black Economic Enterprise Charter for the hunting sector:  The transformation task team was established under the Wildlife Forum and it met and drafted the Terms of Reference.




·         Systems to standards to standardise trade and utilisation of threatened, protected or commercial species established:  20% of management plans submitted, pending review and approval by the issuing authority.  There was a delayed response by most organs of state.  Reminders, have however, been sent to the relevant organs of state.

·         The bioregion plan is not yet completed. However, guidelines for determination of bioregional boundaries have been published.


Programme 6:  Sector Services and International Relations (SSIR)




·         67% of international multilateral sustainable development, environmental, biodiversity, marine and tourism agreements negotiated and reported on.  65% of international governance, South-South, South-North, bilateral and African foreign relations and cooperation agreements related to sustainable development, environment and tourism negotiated and reported on.

·         The TFCA investment catalogue has been developed, printed and distributed.

·         The construction for Twee Rivieren Tourist Access facility completed.

·         Policy framework for 4x4 vehicles driving in TFCAs:  The action plan has been drafted and circulated to stakeholders for comments.

·         Implementation of poverty alleviation and job creation programmes and infrastructure projects:  172 914 accredited training days created; 89 196 non-accredited training days created; 12 learners linked to projects.  The target was set at 30 but due to budgetary constraints, the number of learners was reduced to 12.  433 permanent jobs created.  14 214 temporary jobs created.  57% of overall budget allocated to projects in presidential nodes and Project Consolidate municipalities.  3 472 SMMEs used in project implementation to date.

·         All public entities complied 100% with governance and performance requirements.

·         90% of graded establishments as per Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) have been geo-coded and mapped.

·         Databases for 7 nodal areas were targeted, but only 5 were available.  The migration to the new Geographical Information System (GIS) server and software environment took much longer and led to delays in capturing of information.

·         Indicator report and update of State of Environment Report (SOER):  South African Indicator data submitted to the Southern African Research and Documentation Centre’s Musokotwane Environment Resource Centre (SARDC-Imercsa) for inclusion in their database.  The SOER website has been redesigned to conform to DEAT branding and additional information was loaded.

·         Financial value of resources raised from donors to support South Africa and Africa’s environmental programmes:  Approximately US$25 million obtained and US$10 million in the pipeline.  German funding secured for 5 project proposals for 2008 (Euro – 18 million) and agreement on funding for 2009.  US$3 million from Denmark for Basel Centre.

·         Improving intergovernmental cooperation and coordination:  Participated in 100% Integrated Development Plan (IDP) reviews.  Cabinet Lekgotla report and report on nodal intervention on Social Responsibility Programmes and Projects (SRPP) initiative developed and submitted to Department of Provincial and Local government (DPLG).  Bi-annual reports submitted to DPLG on implementation of environment and tourism 5-year local government strategy.

·         Review of National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) as it relates to environmental planning:  The approval of the proposal and gazetting of new CEC successor were dependent on promulgation of NEMA amendments.

·         Review of NEMA as it relates to institutional arrangements: Amendments submitted to the President for assent and signature.

·         100% compliance with tabling requirements for 2008/09 financial year.

·         100% of parliamentary requests received responses on time.




·         Number of Trans Frontier Conservation Area (TFCA) Wildlife Corridors and migratory routes established:  The target was to establish 2 wildlife corridors and migratory routes.  These were not completed, but the final draft joint management plan is awaiting signatures from relevant participating authorities.

·         Three hundred and ninety five (395) of the targeted 500 youth enrolled in DEAT National Youth Service (NYS).  The target was not achieved due to delays in the approval of one of the three NYS business plans – implementation is continuing in the 2009/2010 financial year where outstanding enrolments will be achieved.


2.  Issues/questions considered by the committee


Whilst the department was congratulated on achieving the top rating on the audit list from DPSA, for spending 100% of their budget, as well as their excellent financial management, a number of issues were raised in relation to the synergy between the financial and non-financial performance.  These included:


·         The challenges encountered by the Vredefort proceedings.

·         The position of environmental impact assessment (EIA) practitioners. Linked to this, questions were raised about the possible formation of a coordinating body (to undertake EIAs) that could be institutionalised to perform a regulatory function; and the timeframes for achieving this, was needed.  Another related question focused on whether the gazetted standards and quality of practitioners were equally applied to both people in provincial and national departments.  Concern was raised about the Free State and Gauteng, which had massive vacancies.

·         It was also important for the department to add, as part of their performance management, a carbon footprint performance measurement.  It was good to note that there was a decrease on paper and energy use, but this must also include reporting on reducing their carbon footprint.

·         Is there a process in the department or marine coastal management that looks specifically at a solution to the abalone fishery problem?  Was the science up to date on the fishery? The decision of whether to open it up fully, partially or not at all was based on science and it was therefore important that an informed decision was made.   

·         Clarity was sought on what constituted priority crimes and what were the priority crimes mentioned in the report.  When would the environment courts be in place?  On page 24 of the report, mention was made of a baseline of 75% conviction rate and currently it appeared as if the department was sitting with a 0% conviction rate. 

·         Another critical issue raised was whether municipalities reported on waste management plans and if they did this, whether it was assessed and whether the department kept tabs on the municipalities’ implementation on waste management.  Medical waste posed a major problem in many municipalities.  How was this critical issue being addressed by the department?

·         Some municipalities implemented greening programmes for 2010 and asked if there was an overall management of the greening of the 2010 World Cup.

·         Programmes like street cleaning were spoken about, but this was not a sustainable means of waste management.  The committee wanted a response to this.

·         Whilst the department’s energy and paper reductions were to be commended, there were questions raised around the reason for water and general waste reduction, besides paper not been included.  Environmental foot printing and not only carbon foot printing was critical and needed an intergovernmental interaction on this.  A number of governmental departments were meant to have environmental plans in place.  Clarity was needed on whether these were in place and if the departments monitored this initiative.  A further question was asked on whether the department was involved in hotels receiving green grading as a star rating based on environmental factors.

·         The plastic bag levy was set at 4c and if 2 billion were sold, there should be R80 million in their budget, but according to the report, there was only R20 million.  A question was raised about the matter of R60 million.  In relation to this, a question was raised about the financial environmental levy which was not utilised by the department.

·         Members asked if the department could provide a workshop on global warming and climate change. It was important for legislators to fully understand this subject matter to impart the information to their constituents. 

·         What was being done about reducing unpermitted waste disposal sites as there were people squatting on the dumping sites?

·         A question was raised about the way in which the department defined capacity constraints in relation to existent vacancies.  The vacancy rate issue was a common one amongst many departments and director-generals should meet to discuss this. 

·         If environmental learnerships were placed in national newspapers, how did the department transfer information to deep rural areas with no access to the print media?  How did the department monitor the use of monies transferred to its agencies?

·         The department reflected a high figure on training of Small, Medium and Micro-Enterprises (SMMEs), but clarity was required on whether this was dispersed or only concentrated in one province or region.  Linked to this was a question on the extent to which SMME training reached rural areas.

·         What compliance and regulatory measures were in place against industries emitting greenhouses gas?

·         With reference to the employment of people with disabilities, clarity was sought on the marketing mechanisms used by the department to employ people in this category.


3.  Responses


·         The self-regulation initiative of the EIA practitioners’ institution was in progress.  The department has a business plan that committed funding for all the planning and work connected to interacting with the sector, and the qualification board.  Although R500 000 was allocated to this project, the release of funding by National Treasury within the current financial context, slowed the pace of the project.  Although the department had approved a three-year plan with industry, commitment thus far, was only for a year.  There was uncertainty on whether they would conclude their work in the following year, as this was subject to availability of resources.

·         The department acknowledged the challenge in terms of EIA functioning in terms of delays.  In some instances, there were problems with consultations, and in some instances, inexperienced service providers were given the responsibility for complex EIA processes.  The department had, however, launched an independent review to assess improving efficiency and effectiveness of EIAs.  With regard to qualifications of practitioners, these had to be established and retained, so that there was a proper benchmarking system, and these had to be included in the self-regulation package.

·         In relation to the vacancies of EIA practitioners, very few people had the proper qualifications, and this had a ripple effect on EIA processing.  The department was working on a monitoring database system, which would migrate to a national environmental assessment investigation system, once fully operational.  The provinces would transmit data and this would be provided to MECs.  The database would contain the number of vacancies, and the impact of this on the processing of EIA applications.  The problem was attributed to:  insufficient support to provinces; the appointment of consultants; lack of and limited funding.

·         The performance management of the carbon footprint was an initial initiative by the department, and the aim was to expand to an entire environmental footprint.  This was done on a small scale so that the department would monitor and measure this to put in place a baseline and to analyse the status quo.  A number of options for the success of this initiative was considered:

o        Current employees would have to be seconded to undertake this, as they could not afford to employ people.

o        If undertaken properly, this could be used as a litmus test for other departments.

o        The use of clusters of departments was another option.

o        Introducing an element that requested the private sector (more especially, listed companies) to report and monitor their footprints, such as it happens with financial statements (environmental statements).  Five years could be voluntary and thereafter mandatory.

·         Abalone poaching:  MCM was unable to sufficiently address this issue.  The department would be putting together an enforcement strategy.  The department had listed what they considered priority crimes, and this included land contamination, hazardous waste contamination and abalone poaching.  The Department of Justice has a dedicated Priority Crimes Unit, and collaboration was essential between the two departments.

·         Environmental courts: The Ministers of Water and Environmental Affairs and Justice had met to discuss the administrative processes needed to set up environmental courts.  Some of the issues discussed comprised – whether to establish a regional court or provincial courts or a normal court with extended courts dealing primarily with environmental crimes.  The baseline figures on convictions were based on the previous financial year.  These were used to improve the system.

·         Integrated waste management plan:  Municipalities were to have these in place, as the legislation was passed in July.  However, it was difficult to force municipalities to comply.  Environmental issues were competing with budgets for the provision of basic services in some municipalities.  With provincial funds as well, many municipalities did not prioritise environmental issues as permanent or sustainable interventions. 

·         Greening 2010:  Broad framework guidelines were issued for all host cities, such as greening of areas and waste minimisation.  Many of the host cities had to fund interventions, and the department did not have control of the strategies implemented.  However, for those host cities that they were co-hosting with donor funds, they would be able to monitor the implementation.  At the end of the World Cup, host cities are required to report on strategies implemented, success rate, and to reflect if the national strategy or framework was successful or not.

·         Environmental plans for all departments:  In terms of NEMA, all organs of government were compelled to develop environmental implementation plans to be approved by DEAT, whose functions impacted on the environment.  All departments that managed environmental issues had to draft environmental management plans. The department had produced a four-year plan, which was published for comment, and is not been monitored.  Some departments had not complied, and warning letters had been forwarded by the minister.

·         Green grading:  Agreement was reached on the system and industry initiatives for green grading and standards for grading in hotels had already run as an independent system.  What was not realised though was a national system that could be used as a national benchmarking framework.  The department was partnering with the National Heritage Council to develop a system.

·         Unpermitted waste sites:  The department had intervened and appointed service providers to assist municipalities.  One hundred and sixteen sites (116) had been identified.  Eighty eight (88) applications had been received. Eighteen (18) sites were considered unsuitable for landfill sites.  The department was working with municipalities.  They would provide a report-back on this issue.

·         Costing for waste permitting functions and proper infrastructure for landfills:  This would cost the state an amount of R5 billion. National Treasury was aware of this.  The department had participated in the process of municipality infrastructure grant review, which showed only 4% was allocated for waste management, which included street lighting.

·         Vredefort:  The department had tried to proclaim the site as a world heritage site, but objections were raised by landowners.  By February 2010, the department hoped to resolve the issue with the landowners.

·         Communication on environmental issues:  Capacity and financial constraints limited the department’s impact of awareness in rural areas.

·         Employment of people with disabilities:  The department was engaging a number of organisations to assist them.

·         Hazardous medical waste:  A policy on incineration was finalised, but in many hospitals, the problem with medical waste was exacerbated because of incorrect temperatures on incinerators.


4.  Recommendations


The committee, in deliberating on the input by the department and members of the committee, recommends the following:


·         The department to undertake awareness programmes on climate change throughout the country as many citizens were unaware of environmental issues. The environmental education should incorporate diverse media forms and be inclusive of languages spoken in different communities.

·         The department’s energy and waste reduction initiatives were commended, but this should be expanded to include water as an important resource.

·         The department should begin the employment process in the previous financial year, so that there are no long time-frames before people start working.

·         In light of the delays in the completion of EIAs causing delays in some construction development projects, especially in the Eastern Cape, (due to lack of capacity in the Department), a special briefing by the Department should be scheduled in 2010.


Report to be considered.


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