ATC100413: Report Budget Vote 29: Environmental Affairs
REPORT OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON WATER AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS ON BUDGET VOTE 29: ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS, DATED 13 APRIL 2010
The Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs and Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs, having considered the Estimates of National Expenditure 2010: Budget Vote 29: Environmental Affairs, and priority areas of the sector, for the 2010 financial year, reports as follows:
On 9 and 10 March 2010, a joint meeting of the Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs and Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs was called to deliberate on the following:
· The appropriations to Budget Vote 29 for the 2010/13 financial years.
· The transfers of monies to entities.
· An overview of programmes, and allocations.
· An overview of key performance areas (priority areas) of the department and its entities.
· Link to government priorities.
On the actual medium term expenditure framework budget allocation (baseline figures) for 2010/11 – 2012/13, the following was highlighted:
- 2010/11 R2 607 794 billion.
- 2011/12 R2 817 536 billion.
- 2012/13 R3 058 729 billion.
The following key challenges were presented:
- The departmental expenditure trend has been at 99 per cent for the previous four years. However, the baseline allocations to fund the increased departmental mandate operations and public entities in the last years and the Medium-Term Expenditure Framework have been insufficient.
- The decrease in donor funding due to the global economic recession will place additional budget constraints on environmental management functions.
- Reprioritisation and other alternative funding ventures like co-funding have been initiated to make the department and its public entities deliver on their mandate.
- The department will approach National Treasury to explore additional funds.
The committees acknowledge that institutional changes are in progress within the two departments (water and environment), and whilst an overview was provided, the committee would require further briefings on the following:
- The impacts of the global economic recession on environmental management functions, and the approach of the department to this aspect of their work.
- The nexus between the water and environmental sectors and collaborative projects between the two departments.
- Concurrent functions of environment as stipulated in the Constitution: The managing, monitoring, regulating and compliance between national and provincial departments on environmental issues.
- Review and costing of legislation.
- Climate change.
- The interconnectedness of departmental work and the move toward inter-sectoral programmes and projects.
- In light of the Director-General’s view that the full implementation of environmental legislation is hindered by funding constraints, the portfolio committee applies its mind to engaging with the provisions of the Money Bills Amendment Procedure and Related Matters Act of 2009 to motivate for an increased appropriation in the next financial year.
Further, the committee recommends the following:
· That the committee, together with the department research the impact, implications and oversight of parliament over environmental regulations, and the extent to which regulatory impact assessments can be increasingly used by government departments.
· There is a need to review allocations to increasing the numbers of environmental impact practitioners.
Report to be considered
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