Hansard: EPC: Debate on Vote No 30 – Environmental Affairs
House: National Assembly
Date of Meeting: 17 Jul 2014
No summary available.
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 186
THURSDAY, 17 JULY 2014
PROCEEDINGS OF EXTENDED PUBLIC COMMITTEE – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Members of the Extended Public Committee met in the Old Assembly Chamber at 14:00.
House Chairperson Ms M G Boroto, as Chairperson, took the Chair and requested members to observe a moment of silence for prayer or meditation.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members, you are allowed to speak from where you are but not from behind the screens. If you are behind the screens, please come closer.
We want to welcome the members of the public in the gallery. We love you and acknowledge your presence here, but please help us by not participating in the debate. This includes the clapping of hands and the taking of pictures. Let us uphold the decorum of the House. Thank you.
The MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto)
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 186
Debate on Vote No 30 – Environmental Affairs:
The MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Chairperson, hon Ministers, of whom I see Minister Pandor and I hear her voice, hon colleagues, MECs present here, of whom I have seen the Western Cape MEC for Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Mr Bredell, the chair and members of the portfolio committee, chief executives of public entities, distinguished guests, and ladies and gentlemen, although it is rainy, it is a very good day. Today we consider the budget of the Department of Environmental Affairs, as well as its programmes and priorities. This budget reflects the clear mandate given to us by South Africans to implement the ruling party's policies.
As humanity continues to consume the earth's resources at ever increasing and unsustainable rates, we are experiencing rapidly accelerating trends of environmental degradation and climate change globally.
The international responses to these threats are driven by a changing world order characterised by the rise of emerging economies, rapidly changing patterns of international economic competitiveness, and a widespread shift towards green, climate-resilient and low-carbon development policies and strategies.
In response, environmental considerations are being mainstreamed in development policies across the economy, which demands that Environmental Affairs radically transform its approach. We do so in the following manner.
We firstly co-ordinate, support and lead the environmental dimensions of South Africa's broader green and blue economy and sustainable development effort. Secondly, we ensure the sustainable use and conservation of our biodiversity, natural heritage and ecosystem resources and services. Thirdly, we protect the country from and manage environmental degradation, environmental impacts and environmental health threats and risks, for the benefit of current and future generations. Lastly, we optimise job creation, skills development, livelihood security and environmental sector socioeconomic development co-benefits.
As far as sustainable development and the green economy are concerned, in response to our need for a long-term solution to the challenges we as South Africa face, this is actually contained in the National Development Plan. As we continue, we are implementing the NDP. The NDP outlines the urgent need to make a transition in our economy in order to place it on an internationally competitive, job-creating, sustainable, climate-resilient and low-carbon development path.
All this we are doing whilst recognising that South Africa's natural capital, in the form of ecosystems, biodiversity, and other natural resources, is a critical foundation for unlocking and boosting socioeconomic growth and ensuring the long-term wellbeing of our society.
This requires a coherent and conducive policy, fiscal, regulatory and governance system to facilitate innovation and incentives to enable and support the following: investment in the development of new green and blue economic industries; growth of existing green and blue sectors; investment in the green and blue transition of existing sectors or industries; and the promotion of consumer and societal behaviour change to more sustainable patterns of consumption and production.
In order to facilitate and support accelerated implementation of sustainable development initiatives, amendments to the National Environmental Management Act have been effected so as to develop an integrated environmental regulatory system that now includes environmental authorisations for mining developments. Accordingly, the Minister of Mineral Resources will now issue mining-related environmental impact assessment and waste licence authorisations, with the Minister of Environmental Affairs being the appeals authority on mining as well.
The co-operative governance arrangement also aligns the simultaneous processing of air emission and water use licences for mining activities. This has necessitated amendments to the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, and the Water Services Act. Further regulations to this effect are being developed and will be published in the next financial year.
Our strategy on the green economy, guided by the NDP vision, is comprised of eight key pillars, as we may all know by now, namely green buildings and built environment; sustainable transport and infrastructure; clean energy and energy efficiency; resource conservation and management; sustainable waste management; water management; sustainable consumption and production; and agricultural food production and forestry. We have to do something about these eight pillars.
The key challenge to implementation on an economy-wide scale is financing. The national Green Fund, which has come in very handy thanks to Treasury and the national government, is one example of our innovative approach to catalysing this financing and investment. We have made great strides in this regard, with the implementation of 22 multiyear green economy projects, and 16 research and technology-related projects, valued at R572 million.
These investments are bolstered by international efforts, such as the Global Environment Facility, an international financing mechanism to support developing countries. We are also pushing very hard for the final operationalisation of the Green Climate Fund, which is intended to mobilise and provide significant financial investment support for low-carbon and climate-resilient development in developing countries.
I must acknowledge with appreciation the bilateral co-operation and partnership programmes in environmental and sustainable development that are being implemented by South Africa with her partners, particularly those from Germany, Norway and the USA.
We are also working at growing existing green sectors or industries that are maximising job creation co-benefits at the same time. Through the cultural and environmental programmes of the Expanded Public Works Programme we are working on expanding job creation in the medium term. The Deputy Minister will speak on this in detail.
I would now like to address our efforts towards realising the constitutional mandate to protect us from and manage environmental degradation, environmental impacts and environmental health threats and risks.
Here I would like to start with air quality and climate change. We all know that air pollution is recognised as a very serious health hazard. Every effort must be made to protect people's right to air quality. Industry must reduce its emissions. Government must enforce minimum emission standards and monitor air quality. Activist organisations must continue to raise the alarm when necessary.
In 2010, the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act came into full force. Instead of controlling only what comes out of individual stacks, the Act represents a paradigm shift. It provides for an integrated and outcomes-based approach to reduce the impact of multiple-source pollution. We achieve this by setting minimum emission standards to control the amount of industrial pollution that enters the atmosphere.
Priority areas have been declared, including the Vaal Triangle, the Highveld, and the Waterberg, where ambient air quality standards are currently comprised and may be exceeded in future.
We are continuously measuring the quality of the air through 102 government-owned air quality monitoring stations that measure compliance with the ambient air quality standards countrywide. The South African Weather Service is involved in this. These stations continuously send data to the South African Air Quality Information System, managed by the South African Weather Service.
We are cognisant of the fact that we are part of a global community and that greenhouse gas emissions are severely impacting the climate system. Our continent is among the most vulnerable to these impacts, with future temperature increases of 4˚C or more predicted in some countries.
The report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released recently confirms that global emissions of greenhouse gases have risen to unprecedented levels, with negative effects on agriculture, human health, ecosystems, water supplies and people's livelihoods worldwide.
South Africa is actively participating in the international climate change negotiations towards a new multilateral legal agreement targeted for finalisation at the 21st Conference of the Parties of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Cop 21, which is to be held in Paris in December 2015. This global agreement must be a legal, multilateral rules-based system that is inclusive, fair and effective, and is based on science and adequate levels of ambitious climate action to keep the temperature increase below 2˚C.
Our National Climate Change Response Strategy, which was launched in South Africa just before Cop 17, is aimed at building social, economic and environmental resilience to the impacts of climate change and making a fair contribution to the global effort to stabilise greenhouse gas concentrations.
South Africa's emission-reduction approach is guided by a comprehensive analysis of the potential emission reduction opportunities in key economic sectors, including energy, industry, transport, agriculture and waste. We have found that almost 40% of the total emission reduction estimated for 2020 can be achieved through implementing mitigation measures that provide big cost savings and energy efficiency. We must just act in those areas because there is not much cost involved.
The next step is to define desired emission reduction objectives per sector, what we call the DEROs, in order to meet our commitment to implementing mitigation actions that will collectively result in a 34% deviation below the "business as usual" emissions growth trajectory by 2020, and a 42% deviation by 2025. This is a commitment that we made through our President at a world climate change discussion. Therefore, we must continue to implement it.
South Africa is really hard at work, increasing renewable energy, increasing energy efficiency, and growing our public transport system. We are very aware of all the programmes taking place, and we are proud of that.
In order to ensure that South Africa's food, water, energy and infrastructure security is not negatively impacted by climate change, we have developed long-term adaptation scenarios, over and above the long-term mitigation scenarios, to inform adaptation planning and implementation, because we have to plan within the context of what we know. These interventions involving all stakeholders will ensure water, food and health security, and that infrastructure in coastal areas is protected from potential sea-level rise.
The National Environmental Management: Waste Act and the National Waste Management Strategy entrench the universal waste management principles of reducing, reusing, recycling, and recovery of waste.
Among the identified goals of our waste management strategy is the contribution of the waste sector to the green economy. I am pleased to announce that the National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act, Act 26 of 2014 has been in effect since 2 June 2014. It establishes an economic base for viable recycling. It apportions sufficient value to waste to facilitate demand for recyclables, thereby producing more jobs and enterprise development from the waste sector. Recycling has been valued at a contribution of as much as R50 billion to the South African economy. In effect, waste will now be a renewable resource and not something to throw away.
In regard to prioritising waste streams, we began with plastic bags in 2002, and initiated a national waste tyre plan last year. Going forward, we will prioritise electronic waste, paper and packaging. The tyre plan alone will create more than 10 000 jobs in the next two years.
The Act now also provides for a pricing strategy for waste management charges, as well as for the establishment of a waste management bureau to oversee the disbursement of revenue collected from waste management charges.
We will also consult on the proposed development of regulations for the separation of waste at source; the banning of plastic waste at landfill sites; a moratorium on new landfill sites; a prohibition of the burning of waste; a regional approach to waste management and disposal, meaning that we should consider regional landfill sites; a deposit-return charge on plastic bottles; and how the revenue will fund industry and community initiatives to recycle and recover waste streams.
We have seen a fundamental improvement in the provision of, and access to, waste collection services over the last 20 years – because nothing was done previously – and particularly in the last five years. This positive trend will be sustained, with more households being provided with waste collection services, in order to achieve 80% access to basic waste collection services for all households.
We continue our commitment to licensing all unlicensed landfill sites, and I am happy to announce that all 341 identified unlicensed sites will finally be regularised by the end of September this year.
I urge all South Africans across the country to heed the call for action made by our President in his state of the nation address to play our part in cleaning up the environment by committing just 67 minutes to this on 18 July, Mandela Day, in the true legacy of Madiba. I call on all citizens to demonstrate their commitment.
The effects of mercury on the environment and human health have been widely documented. It accumulates globally in our food, water and environment, is hazardous, and can be fatal. The international community has finalised a legally binding treaty on mercury, known as the Minamata Convention, which South Africa signed in October 2013. The department has already begun the work of processing this in Parliament and ensuring that we accede to the convention and bring it into force.
I have published the national regulations on ozone-depleting substances and polychlorinated biphenyls, which are aimed at phasing out these harmful chemicals. We have also developed a public education and awareness strategy that, amongst other things, promotes the safe use of chemicals, as well as access to information on the sound management of chemicals. We will also commence this year with the training of customs officials on the importing and exporting of chemicals. I am pleased to announce that we will host an annual World Ozone Day event in the Eastern Cape on 16 September.
I would now like to address the programmes on sustainable use and conservation of our biodiversity, natural heritage, and ecosystem resources and services. South Africa's national botanical gardens, as windows and ambassadors for our biodiversity, have been visited by more than 22,7 million visitors and produced over R400 million in self-generated income, largely from admissions, rentals and sales, to supplement government grants and support garden-based operations. The South African National Biodiversity Institute drives important, policy-relevant biodiversity and ecosystems research programmes through an extensive international academic research network, and also through working with our Department of Science and Technology, as a leader in the science field. Thank you, Minister Pandor, for being here and for all the support you give at all times.
Poaching remains the biggest threat to South Africa's rhino. There has been an alarming increase in rhino poaching countrywide. Because it is part of a multimillion dollar illicit wildlife trade, addressing this scourge is not simple. That is why we will continue to strengthen a holistic and integrated intervention and explore new innovative options to ensure the long-term survival of the species.
However, our conservation efforts have been successful. Over the first six months of 2014, 136 suspects were arrested and charged for rhino poaching and related crimes. This represents an increase on the 134 arrests over the same period last year. An amount of R8 million from the Asset Forfeiture Unit was handed over to SANParks, as part of criminal proceedings against members of poaching syndicates who have been arrested during the course of the year. An amount of R103 million for the period 2014-15 to 2016-17 has been allocated to SANParks for the purpose of combating rhino poaching. This is in addition to other financial assistance that SANParks has received and continues to receive from private sector organisations through its fundraising initiatives.
Our priority engagements with key African countries such as Mozambique will continue to receive high attention. An international agreement with the Mozambican authorities has been signed to strengthen the fight against rhino poaching. An implementation plan for the next five years is currently being jointly negotiated.
Further afield, our engagements with Far Eastern countries, including Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Hong Kong, which is part of the People's Republic of China, and the People's Republic of China itself, to address the demand for illegal trade in wildlife and wildlife products are beginning to bear fruit.
South Africa will host the 17th Conference of the Parties to Cites, Cop 17, and the process to prepare for this Cop has been initiated. The hosting of Cop 17 will provide South Africa with an opportunity to demonstrate its conservation successes, which are enormous, and to promote sustainable utilisation as an integral part of conservation and economic growth.
Considering the importance of some forms of legal international trade in wildlife products and the challenges posed by illegal wildlife trade, the Cop will present an opportunity to open rational discussions on potential solutions that will enable countries, communities and species to benefit from a sustainable use approach, including possible well-regulated trade regimes, while ensuring illegal activities are dealt with effectively and punitively.
The billion dollar illegal trade in fauna and flora, other than fisheries and timber, involves a wide range of species, including insects, reptiles, amphibians, fish and mammals, all of which are of high value to our national economy.
Last year Cabinet directed that we investigate the desirability and feasibility of the possibility of making a particular proposal at the 17th Conference of Parties to Cites in 2016. This proposal would be on the legalising of trade in rhino horn as a potential intervention to reduce the incidence of poaching.
The interministerial committee that has been appointed will first consider a report from the panel of experts appointed in January 2014. The panel will also engage with various stakeholders during the process. No decision has as yet been made on this issue, as work is ongoing. We are investigating. Let all South Africans participate. We would like to urge all stakeholders to work with us in ensuring that whatever position we adopt at Cites in 2016 is well researched, and that it adheres to sustainable utilisation principles. And, Minister Pandor, we once again call on you to help in regard to the research.
We also welcome the decision of the World Heritage Committee of Unesco to approve a reduced buffer zone for the Mapungubwe World Heritage Site. Our department will now move to the next stage of consultations, with a view to beginning to implement this buffer zone through national legislation.
The critical issue of mining, which has in the past led to a conflict between conservation and development, will now be addressed through the implementation of the Mining and Biodiversity Guideline which was published by our department and the Department of Mineral Resources last year.
This guideline also introduces an extremely important concept called biodiversity offsetting, aimed at restoring the environment and development balance. This tool is specifically designed to ensure that we leave subsequent generations with a biodiversity endowment of at least equal value.
However, biodiversity is not the only area where offsetting can happen. There are many areas, such as air quality, water quality and carbon, and we will be investigating all these areas. To this end, the department will be exploring the exciting concept of environmental offsetting, and we are looking forward to working with academia and nongovernmental organisations.
Invasive alien species are now recognised worldwide as among the greatest threats: to biological diversity and the ecological functioning of natural systems; to the productive potential of land and water; to the economy; and in terms of diseases.
Environmental biosecurity will complement the internationally commended Working for Water programme in preventing the introduction of potentially invasive species and managing those already in the country. This will prevent impacts and losses that can amount to hundreds of billions of rands, apart from the fact that Working for Water is the single biggest programme to create jobs for unemployed people in South Africa.
Last year we published the Green Paper on the National Environmental Management of the Ocean, which has since been developed into a White Paper and approved by Cabinet. This policy identified the fact that South Africa has not fully exploited the economic, commercial, industrial and large-scale livelihood opportunities presented by the sustainable use and management of the oceans surrounding our country. Therefore, we are co-ordinating a discussion among all relevant departments, public entities and stakeholders to examine and assess the socioeconomic opportunities of sustainable ocean use and management for South Africa, as a basis for developing a vibrant oceans economy.
Accordingly, the number of jobs linked to the ocean economy could rise to between 800 000 and 1 million, and possibly treble the current contribution of 316 000 jobs. We are developing a five to 10-year strategic plan to unlock growth in these sectors, and adapting a methodology used by Malaysia which is called Big Fast Results. South Africa has now coined the name, Operation Phakisa, to emphasise its critical role in fast-tracking delivery on the priorities included in the NDP. For those who do not know, "phakisa" means "hurry up." President Zuma will launch this programme in Durban this Saturday.
Let me conclude. We are working on national environmental interests through global sustainable development and, indeed, at an international level. We are working with SADC. This coming August heads of state will sign a protocol at the SADC level, but at all other levels of the environment, be it climate change or something else, we continue to represent our national interests.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all esteemed members. We look forward to working with the portfolio committee and its chair. I would like to thank all members of the portfolio committee and everyone in the legislature. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Thank you very much, hon Minister. Hon members, because those on the speakers' list do not have clocks, I will indicate when you have one minute left. Do not let it disturb you.
Mr J M MTHEMBU
The MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 187
Mr J M MTHEMBU: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister Edna Molewa, hon Deputy Minister Barbara Thomson, members of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, all who are here from the environmental sector, members of the media who are present here, and ladies and gentlemen, it is indeed a great pleasure to extend to all of you, on behalf of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, a warm welcome to this annual debate on the Budget Vote of the Department of Environmental Affairs.
I rise on this occasion on behalf of the ANC in support of this budget allocation to the department. I truly consider it an honour for me to stand before this august House to make my maiden speech on the Budget Vote of the department. In so doing, it would be inappropriate of me, as the chairperson of the committee, not to start this debate by thanking all members of my portfolio committee for the integrity, thoroughness and intellectual vigour that they displayed when participating in the activities of the committee, particularly in scrutinising the budget allocation to the department for the current year.
The most reassuring thing that we as South Africans have is that, despite our political differences, we have a shared understanding of what needs to be done to protect our environment and bequeath it in a form that future generations of South Africans will be proud of.
This is demonstrated by the current body of national policy and legal frameworks that the ANC has championed for the environmental sector. It is precisely in this context that I stand here, fully cognisant and proud that the organisation and movement that deployed me to this Parliament has always been, and still continues to be, a torchbearer, not only for political freedoms all over the world, but also for socioeconomic and environmental rights.
Throughout its inception the ANC never saw the political emancipation of the people of South Africa as divorced from the protection of the environment that they live in. This was amply demonstrated by the ANC in 1992, when the organisation released its seminal paper titled Ready to Govern: ANC Policy Guidelines for a Democratic South Africa. The guiding principles for the environmental sector in that document have since shaped and continue to define our thinking and practice, as a nation. That seminal document states:
The ANC believes that all citizens of South Africa at present and in future, have the right to a safe and healthy environment, and to a life of wellbeing.
It is this noble goal of the protection and conservation of the environment that has also found concrete expression in our Constitution, of which the ANC was a major sponsor. The Constitution states in section 24 that all South Africans have a constitutional right:
(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing; and
(b) to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations ...
The ANC has also, in all its conferences, including the last conference held in Mangaung in 2012, given enough, in fact ample, time to discuss ways and means of protecting and conserving the environment, and how best South Africa could adopt a development trajectory of a green economy, as it takes measures to mitigate and adapt to climate change impact exacerbated by greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. This came as a clear understanding by the ANC of the terrible consequences that the continued emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere would have on various sectors of the economy, including agriculture, and the resultant devastating effect on the most vulnerable in South Africa.
We are also holding this Budget Vote debate a day before we observe Nelson Mandela International Day. Madiba was the icon of our struggle for peace in the world, but, equally, a fierce proponent of the protection and conservation of the world environment. It is therefore appropriate to recall Madiba's famous, poetic statements on the birth of our democracy when he said:
I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. ... And I dream of the vast deserts, the forests, and all of the wilderness of our continent, wild places that we should protect as a precious heritage for our children and for our children's children. We must never forget that it is our duty to protect this environment.
So said Madiba.
Tomorrow all of us will be doing our bit to clean up our environment in honour of this wonderful human being, Madiba. I will also participate in this campaign of cleaning up our environment, as announced by President Jacob Zuma.
As we participate in cleaning up the environment we will, of course, all be wearing our boots, our overalls and our makarapa [hard hats]. [Interjections.] [Laughter.] That is because, when you do cleaning, you need this protective clothing. However, you don't when you are in Parliament! [Applause.] I hope that some members of this House will learn a bit from what Madiba taught us.
We are here today, firstly, to debate whether the financial allocation to this department for this financial year, 2014-15, is justifiable.
Secondly, we are also here to debate, arising out of the report of the portfolio committee, whether the strategic plans and the annual performance plans for this year of the department and the entities that report to it, are credible and implementable.
When the committee met with the department on 1 July 2014, we were fairly comfortable about undertaking this very important task, because we had already met with the department prior to that meeting to ascertain what mandate they carry and how they are taking that mandate forward.
We would again like to thank the director-general, who led the department in giving us working information on what this department is about, long before we interacted with them on their strategic plans. Thank you, director-general, and thank you to the department. The department came and was represented by the director-general, who led a contingent of executive managers, as well as senior leaders of the various entities reporting to the department, namely the SA National Parks, the SA Weather Service, iSimangaliso Wetland Park, and the SA National Biodiversity Institute.
Chairperson, at the outset we would like to say that we fully agree with the President of the Republic of South Africa, President Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, in his separating the Department of Environmental Affairs from what used to be the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs. We believe this separation will give the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, and her Deputy Minister, Barbara Thomson, ample opportunity and time to focus on environmental matters. Equally, we believe that the separation of the two areas of work will allow the incoming Minister of Water and Sanitation, the hon Minister Mokonyane, to give her undivided attention to addressing the water and sanitation needs of all South Africans.
Prior to 1994 environmental governance was an emerging discipline that was selectively applied and highly fragmented in its application. The right to a clean and healthy environment was not enshrined in a constitutional system, but was nevertheless selectively applied.
The past 20 years have seen a dramatic and sustained process of formation of environmental guiding principles, and institution building and restructuring, coupled with legislation and policy development. In these 20 years we have also seen domestic and international engagements, as alluded to by the Minister, all with the intention of addressing the historical legacy of inequality, international isolation, and fragmented structures of environmental governance.
The first decade of our democratic state entailed a paradigm shift in the regulatory framework and consultative approach to environmental management, culminating in the adoption of the National Environmental Management Act as the framework environmental legislation. This decade also involved a repositioning of the environmental sector as a strategic economic function within government, with a substantial increase in its budgetary allocation and the development of more detailed sectoral regulations, including amendments and additions to the National Environmental Management Act.
The second decade of our democracy saw the Department of Environmental Affairs consolidating the dramatic and revolutionary changes of the first decade and focusing on building implementation capacity, as well as supporting regulatory instruments. The last years of the second decade have seen progress in environmental governance, characterised by a performance-based approach to environmental management, with a focus on monitoring achievements and refining and streamlining environmental goals in the context of enhancing the movement towards a green economy for all sectors of our economy.
We can clearly state that South Africa has come a long way in ensuring that the constitutionally enshrined right to a clean and healthy environment is realised and protected. The collaboration and co-operation of all spheres of government and civil society have been central in getting the nation working towards a green, pro-jobs, pro-development future.
South Africa is redressing the previous environmental protection imbalances by implementing pro-poor, sustainable development programmes. It is in this context that all of us as South Africans must feel proud of the achievements of the past 20 years, particularly the efforts that have been put into protecting and conserving the environment, which have always been people-centric. The achievements of the past 20 years should be able to assist us with a solid foundation as we continue with our work of further reconstruction and development in the next decade of our lives.
In its first Environmental Performance Review of South Africa, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development in Europe, which is normally referred to as the OECD, praises the progress made with environmental reforms in our country. It says that the progress has been remarkable. Let me quote what this organisation has said:
Environmentally related taxes generate revenues on par with many OECD countries. Subsidies for fossil fuel consumption are much lower than in many other emerging market economies. A Green Economy Accord was launched in 2011 to promote partnerships with the private sector and others to green the (South African) economy. In some areas, such as biodiversity, South Africa has developed pioneering laws and policies that are more advanced (and superior) than in many OECD member countries. The human and financial resources allocated to the environment have been significantly strengthened, and an effective framework for enforcing environmental laws put in place.
Now we are not the only ones who are saying we have a good story to tell. It is also some wonderful people, who have done much research and who reside somewhere in a place called Europe. It is unfortunate that as South Africans we at times wait to hear from others before we can really pat ourselves on the back.
You will know as well as I do that in the democratic South Africa of today you cannot undertake any development of any nature unless an environmental impact assessment has been conducted – finish and klaar! Therefore, as a country we have been able to stitch into the DNA of our economic development the very necessary and important aspect of safeguarding the environment for future generations.
In the quest to take environmental governance further and implement the regulatory framework we have put in place, the department is structured so as to have the following programmes: Administration; Legal, Authorisations and Compliance; Oceans and Coasts; Climate Change and Air Quality Management; Biodiversity and Conservation; Environmental Programmes; and Chemicals and Waste Management.
Lest we all forget – and as we are just human beings, we are prone to forgetting – the department has, in the many years preceding this one, received unqualified audit reports from the Auditor-General. We are, nonetheless, quite aware that the annual report of the department for 2013-14 is still being audited, but we are quite confident that it will also receive a wonderful audit outcome from the Auditor-General.
Moreover, the department and its entities have in many years been able to spend over 95% of the budget allocations to the department. This fact alone convinces us that the department has the necessary human capacity and expertise to carry forward the mandate they have.
At present the department has 141 members in the senior management service, and 55 of these are women. This gives the structure of senior management in this department a 40% women's representation. That is good, but it can be better. We are also fully aware that there are 35 people with disabilities in the department, accounting for a 2,2% representation. We are therefore confident that when the department says it will be able to up women's representation to 50% in this financial year, that is credible and achievable. When it says it will be able to go up to 2,6% in relation to people with disabilities, that is achievable. It is also above the 2% that is legislated. Work well done!
The President of the Republic of South Africa – uNxamalala uMsholozi we ma! – ... [Laughter.] ... J G Zuma, in his second state of the nation address this year, implored us all as South Africans, government departments and every sector of the economy, to work towards the achievement of a 5% increase in our GDP in the next five years. I am confident that this department's plans to map out the potential of our blue or ocean economy, a new sector in our economic mix, will go a long way in following the guidance by the President. This blue economy will include marine transport and manufacturing, the repair of ships and oil rigs, and the building of boats and ships, and the possible offshore production of oil and gas, amongst others. It will go a long way towards making a significant contribution to an increase in our GDP.
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): You have one minute left.
Mr J M MTHEMBU: All right.
Kulungile. Ake siye kule ndaba manje ngoba siyabona ukuthi le nto isiyinkinga.
If I have not yet said so, let me say that we support this Budget Vote. [Interjections.]
We are informed that approximately 90% of global natural disasters are related to severe weather and climate events. It is in this regard that we applaud the significant role that the SA Weather Service continues to play in issuing weather warnings of severe weather events, of threats to our lives and of damage to the property of South Africans, and also to those beyond our borders.
Equally important is the vital role that the SA Weather Service has played over the years in adaptation strategies and applications that benefit various sectors in planning, decision-making and risk management, by monitoring and focusing services on all time scales. Thank you. [Time expired.] [Applause.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members, please assist me. You are conversing too loudly, especially those close to me. Please, let's try to keep the sound own, as I said before. I don't want to be coming back to you again and again, and saying, "Please keep quiet. Please speak softly." I'm saying it once.
Mr T Z HADEBE
Mr J M MTHEMBU
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 188
Mr T Z HADEBE: Hon Chairperson, hon Madam Minister, hon members and all protocol observed, I do not need to remind you of the mandate of the department, but I would like to quote what the chairperson of the portfolio committee quoted. That is section 24(a) and (b) of the Constitution, which says that all South Africans have a constitutional right:
(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
(b) to have the environment protected ...
We need to ask ourselves whenever we take action: What does this do to our environment?
In that regard, we welcome the move by the department on the gazetted Code of Practice for Air Dispersion Modelling. We hope that the department will effectively implement the content thereof. We also welcome the relocation by the department to their new eco-friendly building and we urge other Ministries to follow this example.
The National Development Plan charts the way for South Africans to utilise natural resources efficiently and effectively, for the benefit of all our citizens. Our children and future generations will not enjoy the said benefits, if we do not ensure a sustainable environment and a transition to a low-carbon economy.
In order for the department to be able to fulfil its constitutional mandate, there must be adequate funding. It is worrying to see that some of the programmes have inadequate funding or less money. Budget cuts in this manner will essentially result in deficiencies in the execution of these functions.
I would like to draw the hon Minister's attention to Programme 4: Climate Change and Air Quality. This function has been given R6,1 million less in this budget. The world has woken up to the threats that climate change presents. Has this department woken up to these and adequately budgeted for the impact of climate change? The devastating effects of climate change, like drought, food shortages and floods, are well documented. We cannot afford a slow response to the storm that lies ahead.
At the meeting of the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on climate change in Malabo on 26 June this year, the meeting identified five key points in setting up plans for climate change in Africa. They are: climate finance and technology needs; adaptation; mitigation; participation; and institutional co-operation. At that meeting the hon Dr Dlamini-Zuma, who addressed the members, said and I quote:
... Africa is a region with the least capacity to deal with the challenges of adaptation which is why the issue of climate change is so alarming and calls for decisive action.
If this is a critical function for the whole of the African continent, then why is enough funding not made available?
A healthy environment is essential in order for citizens to seize opportunities to create sustainable livelihoods. Opportunities for new jobs in the green economy are numerous, provided that an enabling environment is created.
An effective response to climate change is required in order for South Africa to contribute to the global effort to stabilise the climate system and to make our country more resilient to climate change.
An effective response to climate change will also offer the opportunity for the development and introduction of new technologies, the stimulation of demand for new products, and the associated creation of jobs. A job-creating green economy can be stimulated by incentivising investment in the green economic sector, provided the leadership in the economy showcases best practice and supports research and innovation. The current budget creates no opportunities for this.
We also urgently need to address emissions caused by the Eskom coalfired power stations. The emissions at coal-fired power stations cause respiratory problems for many South Africans, particularly those with compromised immune systems. A degrading environment negatively impacts on the quality of life faced by communities surrounding these plants and negates attempts to alleviate their plight.
In a recent publication it is reported that the latest greenhouse gas inventory suggests that national emissions reached a record level of 579 256 gigagrams, which is equivalent to an increase of 24,9% in CO2 in 2010 compared to emissions levels in 2000. That is a whopping 25% increase over the past 10 years, despite warnings that all countries need to reduce emissions drastically to avoid dangerous alterations to the world climate patterns.
We need to be investing in research and unlocking data and information to better understand the projected impacts of climate change and better prepare our communities and infrastructure. The research will help us to find appropriate models of funding and will facilitate informed judgements concerning climate change and dealing with industrial pollution. It is all very well to monitor these levels, but we need to actually do something about them. The hon Minister must act and put the department's money where its mouth is.
With regard to the SA Weather Service, as we know, our country is heavily engaged with agriculture, and furthermore the economy is also dependent on weather patterns. The predictability of our weather is becoming less certain, especially with the effects of climate change. Therefore, the reduction of R20 million in the 2014-15 budget and a further cut of R20 million in the 2015-16 budget for the Saws do not make sense. Our farms, fishers, tourism industry, transport infrastructure, ports and airlines need accurate, First World weather reports if they are to function effectively, safely and productively. It is noted with concern that the department was underfunded in previous budget allocations and as a result, the SA Weather Service has struggled to fully implement its mandate. A further budget cut will only aggravate the situation.
Chair, I would also like to draw the hon Minister's attention to Programme 3: Oceans and Coasts, and, in particular, the poaching of our marine resources, such as abalone. The networks of the criminal syndicates are in a leisurely fashion combing the rocks for abalone and cleaning them out in order to meet the demand of the black market. This is driving the species to the edge of extinction on our shores.
They do this without fear of being caught, even in broad daylight. These poachers are lurking in many coastal villages and it was recently reported that poachers walked through the Betty's Bay Marine Protected Area and the endangered seabird breeding colony, disturbing the endangered breeding birds, and they entered the water in full view of the people. This is a clear indication that the criminals no longer fear the state.
I call on the hon Minister to budget for crackdowns on all poachers and any encroachment on our endangered protected areas.
South Africa is our country, this is our own environment, and we have to do everything in our power to protect, maintain and nurture our environment. What we do or fail to do in this Fifth Parliament will echo forever in eternity. Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr J A MNGXITAMA
Mr T Z HADEBE
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 189
Mr J A MNGXITAMA: Chair, the mandate of the department is framed in the Constitution as protecting the environment for today and for tomorrow. Sadly, this modest mandate cannot be fulfilled because the department, like all government departments, has chosen the path of putting profits before people.
Basically the department's logic has to do with saving capital. This government, the ANC government, has inserted our nation into the global system of capitalism in ways that will ensure the end of our planet as we know it. If we do not act radically, and fast enough, in this century alone 200 million Africans will perish as a result of the climate change impact. The current levels of greenhouse gas emissions will have only one outcome if we do not act – an ecological holocaust.
The simple truth is that the West, including the UN system, does not have answers to the ecological disaster facing us because it is married to the capitalist logic which wants more and more from nature and from people. [Interjections.]
In his state of the nation address President Zuma spoke at length about the new energy generation sources, all of which will contribute to global warming. The President further surrendered the prospects of a green economy to the whims of private capital.
We must remember that the ANC pocketed R50 million from its relationship with Hitachi, after creating an energy crisis that could have been resolved. [Interjections.] By the way, we can solve these immediate energy problems by doing a simple thing – stopping giving BHP Billiton energy for free. Why are we supporting a multinational company with our energy? [Applause.]
The EFF is very clear, therefore, that it cannot support this budget which is silent on our people who live in industrial areas with high toxicity. We say very clearly: No to nuclear energy! We must remember what happened in Japan to its economy and people. We say: No to shale gas fracking! We say: No to coal-based energy sources! [Interjections.]
We need a paradigm shift. We say: Yes to adaptation leading to 1 million climate jobs! We say: Yes to the demand that all polluters must pay their ecological and social debt. We say: Yes to the end of genetically modified organisms! We also say: No more emissions must be paid for! We further say: Yes to this government's stopping paying BHP Billiton with our money.
We are also saying that the South African government must support the class action of our people, ex-mineworkers who are suing those mining houses who have destroyed them – they are now sick and without any assistance! Let us support that. [Applause.]
Hon Mthembu, your rhinos are not going to be safe until our people are safe. [Applause.] We have to make sure that we move away from ...
An HON MEMBER: Chairperson, ...
Mr J A MNGXITAMA: ... the real prospect of continuing to see the carcasses of the rhino that we see. That is the future that awaits us.
In conclusion ... [Interjections.]
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon member, just hold on. I will add the minutes of your time that remain.
Mr J A MNGXITAMA: What are my minutes?
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): In fact, I will add your seconds.
Mr J A MNGXITAMA: Thank you!
The HOUSE CHAIRPERSON (Ms M G Boroto): Hon members of the public, let us not have to send our sergeants up there. I gave a ruling before we started. There is to be no public participation in the House debates. Thank you. The hon member may continue.
Mr J A MNGXITAMA: Thank you. The rhino is a perfect metaphor of the system that we are up against. Those driven by the profit motive will continue to chase the animal, steal its horn and leave it in great agony and dying. The horrid picture of the rotting carcass of a murdered rhino speaks to the collective future that we have. The rhino, like our planet, has no future outside the future that puts people first. We agree with Evo Morales: "either capitalism dies or Mother Earth dies." Thank you. [Applause.]
Mr N SINGH
Mr J A MNGXITAMA
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 189
Mr N SINGH: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister and hon colleagues, let me say at the outset that I do not serve on this portfolio committee but I have a deep and passionate interest in environmental matters, as I was the MEC responsible for environmental affairs in KwaZulu-Natal for at least eight years.
Let me further say that our environment sustains us and gives us life, shelter and commerce. Without it we are a barren wasteland of nothing, and yet we choose to relegate it far too often to the sidelines, viewing it more as an impediment to progress and less as an overarching provider of everything we hold dear. This perception must change. Our environment must become our primary concern and any legislation or regulation that does not promote sustainable growth must be amended or repealed.
To this end, Madam Minister, I welcome your announcement that the National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act was promulgated in June. However, we need to look at the regulations and the classifications of waste as contained in the Act, and that follow from the passing of the Act.
Ash, which is used by many of our citizens to make blocks, is regarded as a hazardous substance there, and yet it is of low risk. We urgently need this substance to be declassified; otherwise we will get companies writing to people – I have letters here – saying that they are at risk of the Green Scorpions prosecuting them if ash is not declassified for our people to use to make blocks. It is an international practice, it is done all over the world, there is less risk than with other substances, and we think this should be done sooner rather than later.
In this connection I would like to thank your Deputy Director-General Mr Mark Gordon and Mr Dlamini for interacting with our communities in Umkhomaas - the Mkhizes, the Moodleys, and the Shezis - to try to resolve this problem. However, I think your signature is required in this regard, Minister.
The second community matter that I wish to raise, Madam Minister, is one that affects the Durban South Basin. I think we all know that this is a notorious area for toxic pollution. There are many petrochemical industries situated there. The situation is not 100% right, but is satisfactory at the moment in regard to emissions.
What the community is facing there at the moment is large-scale pollution of our rivers and streams. In the last few days thousands of fish have been killed in streams in the Durban South Basin. Community activist Dr Desmond de Sa has said that he has failed to get eThekwini Municipality and the provincial government to address this particular problem. Therefore, we would like to ask your department, Madam Minister, to intervene, so that we can save not only the fish, but also the livelihoods of people who rely on fish as protein.
The third issue that I would like to raise in my limited time is the question of rhino poaching. We say we have to save our rhinos. We have a responsibility, a responsibility not only to human beings, but also a responsibility to our wildlife. Whilst we understand that law enforcement officers are trying to do their best, this situation seems to be getting out of hand. Over 600 rhinos have been poached thus far this year, mainly in the Kruger National Park and in the parks of KwaZulu-Natal. I do not know why the Ugandan President had to say that if anybody is found poaching in a park, they should be shot. I know we cannot go that far, but certainly we need to take drastic measures.
Madam Minister, I also heard you talk about the question of DNA, and the hon Mthembu referred to this. I understand that we signed an MOU with Vietnam with regard to co-operation in regard to rhino poaching. However, to date I do not think they have sent any DNA samples of rhino horn and other products that they have found in their country back to South Africa so that this MOU can be put into effect.
The last item that I wish to raise in the one minute that you are now going to give me, Chair, is the question of lion hunting! [Laughter.] We need to ban canned lion hunting. It is becoming out of control in our country, and we are even allowing the exporting of products that we get from lions, eg skeletons and other products. We need to ensure that we do not support canned lion hunting. We cannot allow our country, its conservation and its wildlife to be destroyed by unscrupulous people who just want to make themselves rich. We need to ensure, and you need to ensure, Madam Minister, that something is done about it. Thank you very much. [Time expired.]
Mr M L SHELEMBE
Mr N SINGH
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 189
Mr M L SHELEMBE: The hon chairperson, hon Minister and hon Members of Parliament, the allocation of R5,6 billion to the Department of Environmental Affairs, which aims to give effect to the right of citizens to an environment that is not harmful to their health and to protect the environment for the benefit of present and future generations, is noted by the NFP. However, the cutting down of the budget on some subprogrammes in this department, we feel, may lead to serious consequences, as this may have a negative impact on the wellbeing of the citizens.
Hon Minister it is not acceptable that the department has, we believe, a number of vacancies which have remained unfilled because of the failure by the department to finalise recruitment processes, while there is a continuous outcry against rhino poaching in South African parks. Therefore, it is a must that these vacancies are filled with immediate effect in order to combat the rhino poaching in our parks.
The cutting of the budget for the Branch: Legal, Authorisation, Compliance and Enforcement will lead to noncompliance and weaken enforcement where criminal and administrative enforcement action in response to noncompliance is undertaken. The cutting of the budget of the legal and compliance section will put the environmental sector under further immense pressure because of pollution and natural resource degradation. This means that you have an obligation to ensure that such is prevented.
The NFP notes with appreciation the increase in the allocation to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority. However, their corporate strategic plan does not indicate clearly the jobs that will be created for the historically disadvantaged communities in uMkhanyakude District. It only emphasises the increase in revenue and visitor numbers to the park, while people are being evicted without compensation for their historical land and they cannot continue with their farming.
The Branch: Chemicals and Waste Management in the Department of Environmental Affairs is very important. So, to decrease the budget of the Chief Directorate: General Waste and Municipal Support, we feel, is a disaster, because municipalities are experiencing financial constraints which are due to the number of indigent people they have to look after. Some municipalities are failing to manage
their waste disposal sites, which leads to pollution and associated impacts, as well as environmental degradation.
Hon minister, while we appreciate your focus on expanding job creation through the Expanded Public Works Programme, when we consider their earnings, we notice that
they are far below the cost of living. The gap between the poor and the rich is not being closed.
Finally, we appreciate the unqualified audit opinion that the department has received, but we as the NFP ... [Interjections.] ... want to see a clean audit. That is what we want to see! Thank you very much. [Laughter.]
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Mr M L SHELEMBE
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 190
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Chair, hon Minister, Ms Edna Molewa, chairperson of the portfolio committee, Mr Jackson Mthembu, members of the portfolio committee, Members of Parliament, our entities that are here with us, our guests, and ladies and gentlemen, ...
... angibonge Sihlalo. Sihlalo, ngoba ngizoshaya ngolukaMageba, sengathi laba abasihumushelayo bangazibamba ziqine.
Lo Mnyango wethu wezeMvelo uye ubukeke sengathi uwumnyango okhetha iphela emasini. Kuyaphoqeka ukuba siqonde ukuthi lo mnyango usidinga sonke ngoba usithinta sonke. Konke okusizungezile kumayelana nalo mnyango; kungaba umhlaba esiphila kuwo, umoya, amanzi, inhlabathi uqobo, yilanga, izitshalo, izihlahla, utshani, umkhathi, amahlathi, izilwane, ulwandle, imifula, ekugcineni abantu uqobo.
Kubalulekile-ke ukuthi siqaphele ukuthi singazitholi sesicekela phansi wona umhlaba sibe siphila kuwo. Uma siwucekela phansi pho siyophila kuphi, futhi siyozinza kuphi? Bengithi angindlalele ngiphinde ngiqwashise.
Lolu suku lwanamuhla usuku lwethu singuMnyango wezeMvelo lapho sihlahla khona indlela esizohamba ngayo, ngamanye amazwi umkhombandlela. Ukusebenza kwethu kubandakanya ohulumeni bezifundazwe kanye nohulumeni basekhaya. Sinethemba ukuthi siyosebenzisana ngobuqotho ngoba phela inhloso yethu yinye, "ukududula izwekazi lethu liye phambili". Asisenakuphazamiseka ngoba abantu bangakithi, siyibonile imiphumela yokhetho. Sebekusho konke bakwenza konke, uKhongolose wanqenqeza phambili.
UNgqongqoshe uluthintile udaba olubalulekile kwlokhu esithi i-biodiversity. Yiyo phela abantu abasemakhaya abazikhusela ngayo. Bayazingela, bayadoba, bayatshala, bamba amakhubalo okuziphilisa, batheza izinkuni zokubasa nezokwakha izindawo zokufihla amakhanda. Kundingeka sikhumbule ukuthi abantu basemakhaya basadla imbuya ngothi, kodwa sithi kulabo esingakafiki kubo siyeza sizofika qathatha njengokufa. Bangalilahli ithemba.
Ake ngithinte kafuphi kwezolwandle, lokhu obekushiwo nguNgqongqoshe wami ngesiNguni sizothi yi-Operation Shesha. Ulwandle lungezinye zezibusiso esigidlabezwe ngalo ngumdali. Yebo ulwandle luhle, luyabukeka kodwa lo hulumeni uthi asingalibali ukubuka lo buhle kuphela. Lolu lwandle luphethe umnotho ongasukuma phansi. Thina nozakwethu besilibele ubuhle bolwandle, kanti onkabi bayavuna, bazitika bodwana.
Siyonithinta uma sezidumela ngasemantsumpeni ukuze nani nivune efeni laleli zwe njengoba sisho ku-Freedom Charter. Ngoba ulwandle lubalulekile, masiwanakekele amanzi alo, singawangcolisi. Izinga lokuhlanzeka kwalo libaluleke kakhulu. Siyakuqonda ukuthi lo mnotho wasolwandle esikhuluma ngawo ungahle uphakame noma uvuse izinsiba kwabanye abantu. Asazi-ke ngoba konke lokhu engikhulumayo kuzokwenzeka kuwona lo hulumeni oholwa "uMaphuma ephethe." Sithi ulwandle luphethe okungaphezulu kokulibuka "umnotho" phela.
Sihlalo, ngike ngaba nethuba lokuvakashela umkhumbi i-SA Agulhas II. Lona isikhondlakhondla somkhumbi esenza ucwaningo lwezesayensi olwandle, mina nawe ngehlo lemvelo esingeke sikwazi ukulwenza. Impela ngifunde engingakaze ngikucabange, lokhu kungenze ngakholwa ukuthi ngempela lo hulumeni kukhulu osukwenzile futhi kukhulu kuyeza. Sizinikele ukuthi sidlulele ngaphandle kwalokhu esithi I-exclusive economic zone.
Impela nakuba izwe lwethu kuyizwe elisathuthuka, kodwa hhayi linamandla kakhulu.
Our commitment to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica is evidenced by the commissioning of the Sanae IV base in Antarctica in 1997 and the new Marion Island and Prince Edward Island base in 2011 by this very government. These bases are serviced by our state-of-the-art polar research and supply vessel, the SA Agulhas II, dedicated to Miriam Makeba ... [Applause.] ... and commissioned by this government in 2012. Our presence in the Southern Ocean and Antarctica enables us to better understand, among others, the process and impacts of climate change.
Ngiyathemba ukuthi umhlonishwa uMngxitama ungilalele kahle.
This is a huge achievement by this government.
Umthethosisekelo waleli zwe lethu uyagcizelela ukuthi kubalulekile ukuthi siyihloniphe imvelo, ukuze thina nesizukulwane sethu sikwazi ukuzuza inthuthuko ezimele, eqhubekayo nezinzile.
On the wildlife economy, we have more than 10 000 game farms across the country. The wildlife economy is currently valued at R8 billion and is growing at an annual rate of 20,3% in turnover. The wildlife industry attracts a large number of international visitors each year and creates more than 100 000 jobs across the country.
Nakhona la kule ngxenye yomnotho abantu bethu basahambela kude, kumele sibasondeze.
Another interesting programme is the Working for Wetlands programme. This programme was set up in the year 2000 to champion the protection, rehabilitation and sustainable use of South Africa's wetlands through co-operative governance and partnership. This programme has a strong involvement with civil society. It is labour-intensive and contributes to skills development, which contributes to the Expanded Public Works Programme.
Nakhona la ngiyacabanga ukuthi umhlonishwa uMngxitama ungilalele ukuthi ngithini.
There are about ... [Interjections.]
Mr J A MNGXITAMA: Can I ask a question, Chair? May I ask a question, Chair?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms L M Maseko): Hon ...
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: There are about 14 EPWP ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms L M Maseko): Hon Deputy Minister, please hold on. Hon Mngxitama, to uphold the decorum of this House, you must stand up if you want to ask a question or put a point of order.
Mr J A MNGXITAMA: May I ask a question, Chair? Will the speaker on the floor be so kind as to allow me to ask a question?
IPHINI LIKANGQONGQOSHE WEZEMVELO: Hon Mgnxitama, anginaso ngempela isikhathi sabantu abafana nawe. [Ubuwelewele.]
Mnu J A MNGXITAMA: Ngibuza ukuthi abantu bahola malini abasebenzela umphakathi?
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms L M Maseko): Order, hon Mngxitama!
IPHINI LIKANGQONGQOSHE WEZEMVELO: Sengathi sinenkinga la.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms L M Maseko): Hon member, you do not do that. I am sorry, hon Deputy Minister. [Interjections.]
IPHINI LIKANGQONGQOSHE WEZEMVELO: Ukhuzwayo.
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms L M Maseko): Let me deal with this one, ...
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: There are ... [Interjections.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms L M Maseko): ... Hon Deputy Minister. Hon Mngxitama, you do not behave like that in the House. When you have ...
Mr J A MNGXITAMA: [Inaudible.]
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms L M Maseko): Do not respond to me – I am making a ruling. You are not going to use your microphone when you have not been given an opportunity to do so. Thank you. Sorry, hon Deputy Minister. Please continue.
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Thank you, Chair. There are about 14 programmes in the EPWP, including the Working for Water programme which will also ensure that over 750 000 ha of land are cleared of invasive alien plants. The Working for Wetlands programme will rehabilitate 115 wetlands across the country. The Working for Land programme will ensure that over 30 000 ha of land are rehabilitated, and the Working for the Coast programme will ensure that conservation work is done along 2 113 km of the coastline.
All these programmes are among the most successful initiatives of the government, as referred to by the President in his state of the nation address. The returns on investment are extremely high, and this also exemplifies the government's commitment to sustainable development. A budget of R2,83 billion has been allocated to these EPWP-aligned programmes for this financial year.
Angikhumbuze abahlonishwa abakule Ndlu ukuthi balikhumbule usuku olumenyezelwe nguMongameli la ehlabe khona ikhwelo wathi masihambe siye ngasezindaweni zethu siyosusa imfucuza ezindaweni esihlala kuzona nasemadolobheni ethu. Ngibonga kakhulu. [Ihlombe.]
Ms J M MALULEKE
The DEPUTY MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 191
Mme J M MALULEKE:
Ke a leboga Modulasetulo. Ke kopa go tshimolola ka go amogela mme wa rona e leng Modulasetulo wa bomme kwa Bokone Bophirima, Motlatsammusakgotla wa Bokone Bophirima, eleng Mme Jane Manganyi. [Legofi.]
Ba re ausi o siela ngwana letsele, ena o ntshietse Komiti ya Tikologo. Ke itumelela go nna teng ga gago, mme. O se makale fa ke bua ka Setswana, ke lapisitswe ke batho ba ba botsang gore a go na le boMaluluke kwa Bokone Bophirima, ke ka fao ke tla tswelela ke bua Setswana.
Rona batho ba ba ileng ba reetsa fa go opelwa sefela se se reng: Kenang botlhe sebaka se sa le teng, re a itumela gonne re ne ra tsena mo mokgathlong wa ANC, e bile gompieno re kgona go bona moputso wa go ikamanya le mokgatlho ono.
Mme Tona, Tonakgolo o tlhola a re go na le borramaparego le bommamaparego. Re ne re makala gore o raya jang, mme re a bona gompieno gore o raya bomang; ba teng ebile go thata mo Ntlong e. Ba re ga ba tshegetse Tekanyetsokabo e eleng ka ga matshelo a batho. Rona re le ANC re tshegetsa Tekanyetsokabo e gore matshelo a batho a tswelelepele. [Legofi.]
Dilo tse dintle ga di nke di bonwa ke batho. Ga ke batle go bua ka tlhotlhomiso tse di dirwang kwa ntle ga naga, ke batla go bua ka tlhotlhomiso e e dirilweng ke nna. Mo nakong e fetileng, re ne re rutiwa ka dithuto tsa bodumedi, re sa itse sepe ka tsa tikologo. Gompieno fa ke apesa ngwana jeresi o kgona go mpotsa gore a ga ke a bona maemo a bosa a bo a mpolelela gore kwa ntle go a fisa. Se, ke se sengwe se se tlisitsweng ke puso ya ANC. Ke mosola o re o boneng go tswa go ANC.
Motlotlegi Tona se sengwe gape ke gore, fa re ne re gola, re ne re besa dikgong jaaka Maaforika, jaanong seo ga re tlhole re se dira gonne o re rutile go tlhokomela tikologo ya rona. Ke kgale ke sa bone le mosi kwa Mathibestad, seo se a itumedisa.
Chairperson, hon Minister, and hon members, prior to 1994 environmental governance was an emerging discipline that was selectively applied and highly fragmented in its application. The right to a clean and healthy environment was not enshrined in the Constitution, although it was selectively applied. The ANC-led government has come a long way, ensuring that the constitutionally entrenched right to a clean environment is realised and protected.
Gompieno re kgona go bua ka tikologo, maloba re ne re sa itse gore mewa e kgotlhelang loabi ke eng. Fa re ne re tla mo kopanong ya komiti lwa ntlha le Mogenerala, o ne a mpotsa fa ke itse ka tsa tikologo, ka mo araba ka gore ke tshogile, bogolo fa Tona a ne a bua ka mewa e kgotlhelang loabi.
Gompieno re a tlhaloganya gore ke eng se se neng se baka gore pula e se ke ya na fa re lema kwa Mathibestad. Ka jalo re ikemiseditse go ruta batho ba rona gore ba tlogele go fisa bojang, gore pula e kgone go na. Se, ke patlisiso e rona re e dirileng fa re se na go utlwa ka mewa e kgotlhelang loabi tse Tona a neng a bua ka tsone. A ke tsene mo go se ke se romilweng ke ANC.
The focus of my speech in this debate is in the context of a response to measures put in place to mitigate the effects of climate change as a country.
The danger posed by climate change to South Africa will remain a cause for concern to all of us. This is so, because our development as a country hinges on the use of our natural resources. For us as a country to survive, we need to develop a good relationship with our environment, by using the least of what we have in a constructive way.
It is in this spirit, then, that South Africa concluded a number of agreements to reduce the damage that can be caused when there is no co-ordinated approach by the entire world to adhering to prescribed policies and principles, as well as resolutions that will help reduce the danger.
Jaaka Maaforika, ga re a tshwanela go diega go diragatsa ditumelano tseno. Fa re tsiboga ka bonako mabapi le ntlha e, re tla thusega mo go lwantsheng malwetse a re nang le ona jaaka bolwetse jwa letlalo. Re itse sentle gore fa go fisa thata, re kgona go tsenwa ke kankere ka ntlha ya mogote o o feteletseng.
Excessive rain leads to skin diseases such as skin rashes and skin cancer, as well as stroke and malaria. There is a call for a co-ordinated response in order to minimise the impact of climate change on the communities of the world.
In his address at the official opening of the United Nations conference in Durban on a UN Climate Change Regime, Cop 17, hon President Jacob Zuma said the following and I quote:
As we begin the high level segment, we need to rebuild trust and to reassure one another of honest intent and commitment to find solutions for the problems caused by climate change.
Furthermore, in December 2009 President Jacob Zuma announced that South Africa would implement mitigation actions that would result in a 34% and a 42% deviation below its "business as usual" emission growth trajectory by 2020 and 2025 respectively. With financial technology and capacity building support, South Africa's greenhouse emissions will peak between 2020 and 2025.
The National Climate Change Response Policy embodies South Africa's commitment to a fair contribution to establishing our own greenhouse concentration in the atmosphere and the protection of our country and its people from the impact of inevitable climate change. South Africa is committed to reducing carbon emissions to below its anticipated emission growth trajectory. Preparatory work and research to set emission reduction objectives and measure these reductions in key sectors are under way.
In addition, South Africa is vulnerable to the impact of climate change and it is therefore committed to strengthening its social and economic resilience to the effects of climate change. We assure South Africans that the process to curb this is under way and South Africans do not have to worry about that.
Re tla go sala morago, Tona, re thusane go diragatsa gore Aforika Borwa e nne tulo e e bolokegileng.
Rightfully, our President moved from the premise that acknowledges the common threat faced by humanity, as caused by the ever-changing climatic conditions. It is time we reinforced our approach in fighting the causal effects of this scourge.
It is the sole responsibility of the department to make sure that we conform to the resolutions adopted in Durban as a means of responding to the need to reduce the global threat to the environment. Accordingly, our budget needs to be responsive to the implementation of the following set of resolutions as per directive of the Durban summit on a UN Climate Change Regime.
Ke lantlha ke dumela se DA e se buang. [It's the first time I agree with the DA.]
South Africa has in place strategies to address issues that have been identified as priorities for dealing with climate change in South Africa and, among others, we have the following: integration of climate change response in government. This approach cuts across government departments and they are thus required to work together in a co-ordinated manner. This synergy ensures ...
The TEMPORARY CHAIRPERSON (Ms L M Maseko): You've got one minute, hon member.
Mme J M MALULEKE:
Ke timetse jaanong. [I am lost now.]
Regarding inventories of greenhouse gases and air pollutants, through the initiatives of the department, as well as several organisations, including local government and others, there has been an undertaking to develop long-term projects that use modern technology to monitor air quality instrumentation. This clearly indicates that there is a need for adequate funding for the department in order to achieve this mammoth task. We are, however, confident that the Minister's track record and resilience will assist the department in realising the objectives as skeletally expressed in South Africa's response to climate change.
The ANC supports the Budget Vote.
Dr B H HOLOMISA
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 192
Dr B H HOLOMISA: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister and hon members, the UDM supports Budget Vote 30. [Applause.]
Qhwabani kakhulu apho ngaphesheya.
I have limited speaking time and I will dedicate this speech to Madiba, the environmentalist. In celebrating the first birthday of Madiba since he is no longer here, we can't but remember his passionate love and care for nature and the environment, and its relation to humankind and the people of South Africa in particular.
I am reminded of one of the questions this icon asked me directly when he returned from one of his early village walks in Qunu during the early 90s. He asked me, "Bantu, what happened to all the birds that used to inhabit this place, with their harmonious sounds and their beautiful singing, which made many enjoy the tranquillity and nature of the village?" In response to Madiba, I said that due to the high levels of poverty in the area local people had been forced to fell trees for use as wood fuel.
Certainly there is a direct relationship between poverty and the environment and, unfortunately, it is not always a good one. The concern in Madiba's question exposed us to the need to give immediate attention to the preservation of our environment. For example, the afforestation programmes will one day make it possible to have the pleasure of walking through a forest and listening to the beautiful sounds of nature, as Madiba wished.
To realise his wish, the UDM suggests that as part of the much talked about cultural liberation route, which it is proposed should start at Pietermaritzburg, perhaps what should be considered is establishing what could be called Madiba or Nelson Mandela forests. Such forests would go a long way towards responding to the challenges of climate change, biodiversity management, combating desertification, heritage conservation, and facilitating sustainable economic growth and job creation.
Given the current questionable infrastructure development map of our country, this proposal would present an opportunity for equitable reconstruction of our country.
Finally, I have a word for the chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, Baba Mthembu – we welcome you to this portfolio committee. Please make sure that City Press covers your well articulated speech this afternoon!
Ungayithethi ke laa nto yakho mhlekazi ithi; "Don't buy City Press! Don't buy." [Kwahlekwa.] Ndiyabulela.
Ms J STEENKAMP
Dr B H HOLOMISA
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 192
Ms J STEENKAMP: Chairperson, Theodore Roosevelt once said:
To waste, to destroy our natural resources, to skin and exhaust the land instead of using it so as to increase its usefulness, will result in undermining in the days of our children the very prosperity which we ought by right to hand down to them amplified and developed.
To ensure the future of our children's children's children, we need to ensure that we protect and preserve our natural resources.
By 2030 South Africa's transition to an environmentally sustainable, climate change-resilient economy and just society should be well under way, according to the NDP.
The current budget lacks any reflection of this. To ensure the protection and preservation of our environment, we need funds to do more research, we need greater investment in the green economy, and we need to allocate funds to continue with projects such as Working on Fire. I am deeply concerned about budget cuts made, specifically in regard to environmental programmes and chemical waste management.
Regarding environmental programmes, the emergence of small, medium and micro enterprises in areas such as waste management contributes to reducing unemployment, poverty and income inequality.
In committee a great deal of lip service is paid to fostering a green economy, yet the budget was cut by almost R15 million. Why do environmental protection and infrastructure programmes get a budget cut of almost R75 million? What is the likely impact of these reductions, both in the short term and over the long term? How will the reduction in the Green Fund affect projects and help innovate the critical transition to a greener economy?
Opportunities do exist for significant job creation in the recycling sector. Through improved regulations and partnerships between producers and municipalities, small businesses that focus on the collection and recycling of discarded goods such as glass, paper and cardboard can flourish. The current budget fails to take a pragmatic approach to achieving the strategic objectives of improved socioeconomic benefit in the environment sector.
On chemicals and waste management, the NDP states that a revolution in social values is under way, and that our culture of conspicuous consumption is being supplanted by social and environmental responsibility. But how, hon Minister, can we give effect to this when this budget fails to create an enabling environment which supports the need to recycle everything from e-waste to industrial waste? The only thing government seems to be recycling is bad politicians!
How can we say municipalities need more help, but then we cut the general waste and municipal support budget by almost R5 million? In a developing world such as ours, where there are so many harmful chemicals we use on a daily basis, why would we cut the budget for chemical waste management by almost R1 million? What justifies these reductions, and how can a budget cut take place when there are so many capacity constraints specifically within local government?
Furthermore, why are the department's seven branches not working together harmoniously? Waste gets dumped at landfill sites. Very little of that waste is recycled and then most of it is set alight, causing massive pollution. How does that make sense? Why has the department introduced regulations on air quality management, only to allow air pollution from burning landfills?
We welcome the results of these measurements. The poor air quality results will no doubt correlate with the poor decisions which inform this budget.
Why don't we just start working together to create jobs? Why don't we incentivise recycling from the local level upwards? It doesn't help if we buy different dustbins and different plastic bags, and recycle in our homes, our businesses and even here, but when the municipal waste collection trucks come to our houses or businesses, they just chuck everything in there together, all deurmekaar [mixed-up]! What is that? That is not recycling – definitely not! Government must create a sustainable environment to recycle.
I will leave you with the following ancient American Indian proverb: "We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children." [Applause.]
Mr T J BONHOMME
Ms J STEENKAMP
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 193
Mr T J BONHOMME: Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, colleagues, friends and comrades, members of the audience, and esteemed officials, I greet you.
Despite the many challenges facing the waste sector in South Africa, it is heartening to note that the department has established an enabling legislative framework to address and deal with them, as well as promote a recycling economy which contributes to much needed job creation in our country.
The sector has definitely moved away from the conventional end-of-pipe pollution control system, by adopting full cycle accounting, based on the waste hierarchy approach of reduce, reuse, recycle and waste diversion away from the landfill site. This has been further reinforced through an integrated approach, by the adoption of integrated waste management plans for municipalities, ensuring that local government prioritises waste management in their integrated development plans.
It is heartening to note that a new regulatory environment has been created, which will generate revenue and wealth from waste which will be used to fund and incentivise recycling industries, job creation, and other economic opportunities and enterprises in the waste sector. By apportioning an appropriate value to waste, more waste can be diverted from landfill sites to recycling, reuse and energy recovery, bringing us closer to achieving significantly less waste dumped in landfill sites.
The fact that harmful chemicals are still being used in society has always been a concern to me. It is pleasing to note that substantial progress has been made in chemical safety and management through the banning and phasing out of chemicals that harm the environment and atmosphere, for example, ozone-depleting substances such as hydrofluorocarbons.
The department have undoubtedly taken up their responsibility as good citizens in the international effort to phase out harmful chemicals by implementing the provisions of several multilateral environmental agreements that we have acceded to. The new regulations phasing out these chemicals are a demonstration of our commitment to the international community in the fight against climate change, and to ensuring a safe society.
Training and awareness-raising will always be an area where resources must be invested in building an environment-conscious citizenry that will take responsibility for maintaining a clean environment. I note that the department has been providing support to municipalities in the development of guidelines and integrated development plans, as well as in training councillors and officials. Given the challenges at local government, this support will have to be bolstered by additional resources to enable better waste management at source.
The department must be applauded for the turnaround achieved in licensing the unlicensed landfill sites across the country, and for bringing them into compliance. This will ensure that these waste sites are better managed and controlled. The basic waste collection rates have also increased over the years, which is pleasing to note. Enforcement of bylaws and more vigilant compliance and monitoring at local government level will certainly assist in keeping our cities and towns clean with the help of a more informed and more responsible citizenship.
Overall the regulatory, institutional and economic reforms adopted by the department for managing the waste sector are commendable.
Education in combating waste management problems starts right in your home, with training your children to be conscious of the protection of our environment and the challenges it is faced with. This is the very same way in which a child is taught about nonracism and equality. Teach a child from a young age and the teaching remains with them for life. You will note that the way a child grows up to be strict in his or her life depends on how they spend the early years of their lives. If they are brought up in that manner, they will grow up to be respectable, decent and honourable, with the knowledge and understanding that the environment is vital to our people.
There are key challenges, with the absence of large-scale recycling infrastructure to enable waste separation, waste diversion, recycling and recovery. Lack of policy and a regulatory framework to promote the waste management hierarchy results in a limited economic potential of the waste management sector, which has a possible turnover of approximately R50 billion per annum, and outdated waste management infrastructure with declining levels of capital investment and maintenance.
Overall the portfolio committee was well pleased with the effort that the department put into formulating its strategic plan, the annual performance plan, the indicators and the relevant performance targets for the 2014-15 financial year. The committee considered them realistic and achievable, despite budgetary constraints.
The committee is also acutely aware of the capability of the department to use the allocations made to it to fully implement its strategic plan and annual performance plan, and to attain the indicators and targets that it has set itself, as clearly shown by the department's ability to spend about 99% of its budget in successive financial years.
All this was done in line with the 2012 Polokwane declaration on waste management. The ANC is committed to ensuring that our people have a better life with a clean and safe environment.
I must say that I have found the committee to which I have been allocated, the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs, is very pleasing, satisfying and enriching. I think all the colleagues on it are working well as a team. This committee is going to do well in the interests of South Africa and bettering the lives of all our people. Thank you. [Applause.]
Ms T STANDER
Mr T J BONHOMME
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 193
Ms T STANDER: Thank you, Chairperson. Good afternoon, hon Minister, hon members, director-general and your team, and ladies and gentlemen. I would like to quote from the film, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen:
Fate rarely calls upon us at a time of our choosing.
The budget prioritises South Africa's many needs within the constraints of limited resources. This is obvious. What is not obvious is why our environment is continuously underprioritised by this government. President Zuma said the word "environment" exactly once in his state of the nation address, hon Mthembu, and in reference to a different Ministry.
Our natural infrastructure is the infrastructure upon which our country is built, yet this department is plagued by political doublespeak: talk versus budget.
We welcome Cabinet-approved budget cuts on subsistence and travel, but not the Minister's violation of this by sending a delegation of 18 to Nairobi. Our Parliamentary Questions in this regard still remain unanswered.
We encourage all efforts to implement measures to redress the imbalances of the past, and so we are disappointed that negligent political oversight allowed 20 years to pass before general workers in SANParks were included in the medical aid policy, costing the department R155 million this year.
Enforcement and compliance are essential responsibilities, but budget cuts have reduced the department's already low strategic target for environmental authorisation inspections from 135 to 115.
A budget to increase the capacity of the department responsible for considering environmental impact assessments is needed. The DA always advocates for lean government administration, but employing and training more people would reduce opportunities for corruption and speed up business development, the perfect enabling environment for job creation.
We call upon the hon Molewa to take her rightful place as the competent authority for mining licences. As a custodian of the environment, it is baffling how she can be junior to the Minister responsible for mining on issues directly affecting the environment.
During and out of committee I have interacted with many of the department's team, and I am encouraged by their competence and genuine commitment to this cause. However, I am not confident that this budget gives them the resources they need to fully deliver on their mandate.
We need to adopt a coherent macro spatial planning approach that considers the carrying capacity of land and clusters land use. We also need to move toward implementing a natural accounting system. Both strategies would improve environmental planning, guide business planning, and lay a foundation for the transition to a green economy and greener jobs.
We believe that this department has had great success. An example of this is the Working on Fire programme, and we greet those representatives in the gallery today, but more must be done.
Hon Minister, despite the genuine concerns and the efforts to end the slaughter of our rhino and the poaching of its horn, we are losing the war. Moreover, despite hundreds of millions of rands contributed by South Africans, another thousand rhino will be slain this year. The pro versus anti trade debate is polarising this country and detracting from what should be our main focus: saving the rhino. It is illegal to trade in rhino horn – qha! [that's it!] No matter what proposals are made for the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species in 2016, these do not release us from our responsibility for taking radical action now.
We need to communicate an unambiguous position that South Africa will not tolerate a tacit invasion - a quiet war on our natural resources. Are we not a sovereign, democratic nation founded on the supremacy of the rule of law? Are we not proud of what we have? Or, instead, are we happy to see foreign syndicates overpower our Defence Force, our game rangers and our police? Diplomacy is important, but there is no place for timid acquiescence now.
The National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure, Natjoints, is ineffective. It either needs an overhaul, or should be replaced with a more effective structure. We have to share intelligence, formulate a single strategy, and co-ordinate the efforts of all stakeholders if we are going to win the war for the natural kingdom.
The gap between the number of arrests and the number of convictions is too wide and, worryingly, supports suggestions that corruption is at play. We call on the department to take a zero tolerance approach to poaching, and for minimum sentences to be increased to 10 years for level 1 poachers.
We call for more funding to stop the carnage. R100 million, as mentioned today, is less than the single international donation received last year, hon Minister. Private owners are spending about R200 million per year of their own money, and risking their lives for these animals daily. We are in a state of war, hon Minister, and we are losing because your department is failing to make a real, tangible difference.
In 2010, despite all the naysayers, we successfully pulled off the Soccer World Cup – because we had a united message, the resources and the political will. We need to do that again, but this time with a focus on our rhino. Get that right and we can tackle the rest of wildlife crime.
We need our President, hon Ministers and, indeed, all South Africans to say with one voice: "Don't touch me on my rhino!"
An HON MEMBER: Yes! [Applause.]
Ms T STANDER: Over 4 000 organisations globally are fundraising to save the rhino, with only about 160 registered with the Department of Social Development. We have no idea how much of this money is actually spent on rhino-saving efforts. We ask that the department publicise a list of registered organisations so that the public can make informed choices when making donations.
Treasury needs to treasure our rhino and show us the money for the departments to implement the recommendations above.
"Fate rarely calls upon us at a time of our choosing." Will South Africa be able to address this crisis before it is too late? Will we conserve our shared heritage, our inheritance? These are questions our choices of today will answer.
We call for a review of this budget during the medium-term budget review. Ndiyabulela. (I thank you.)
Mr S P MABILO
Ms T STANDER
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 194
Mr S P MABILO: Hon Chairperson, hon Minister, hon Deputy Minister, hon members of the House and distinguished guests, as a point of emphasis, the right of all South Africans –
(a) to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
(b) to have the (natural) environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, ... –
is enshrined in section 24 of our Constitution.
It is also the mission of this department to provide leadership in environmental management, conservation and protection, with the aim of sustainability for the benefit of all South Africans and the global community. It is our considered view that the department is equal to this task, as shown through their master plan and also their strategic plan.
The oceans and coasts of our country remain a national asset that belongs to all South Africans. Oceans and coasts throughout the world have historically been among the most heavily exploited areas because of their rich resources. In coastal countries today, an estimated half of the total population live in the coastal zones, and it is therefore very important that we take note of this asset of the oceans and coasts.
During the time of the apartheid regime, ocean and coast management efforts did not recognise the value of coastal ecosystems as a cornerstone for development. This management was also resource-centred rather than people-centred, and attempted to control coastal resources, rather than promote their sustainable use, with a lack of recognition of the diversity of our coasts.
During the dawn of democracy in our country we saw the emergence of the White Paper for Sustainable Coastal Development in South Africa in the year 2000. The purpose of this paper was to promote an integrated approach to the management of our coast, and redress the fragmented and unco-ordinated manner in which our marine and coastal environment had been managed, which benefitted only a few privileged. This White Paper gave birth to the National Environmental Management: Integrated Coastal Management Act which was promulgated in 2008, and which has assisted this government to move away from a fragmented to a co-ordinated and integrated approach to coastal management.
As our country was being welcomed into the global family we had to adhere to global approaches, like the 1992 Rio Earth Summit programme of action, called Agenda 21, which emphasised the integrated management and sustainable development of coastal areas, and urged governments to develop policies that enabled stakeholder involvement. This approach was echoed by the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development, which took place in Johannesburg. It called for countries to promote an integrated, multidisciplinary and multisectoral approach to coastal and ocean management at a national level.
Marine protected areas in our country, including the offshore Prince Edward Island, also go a long way in sustainable development. We must remember that the marine protected areas have to promote and conserve the marine environment and marine biodiversity, by providing a sanctuary for species, and against the impact of fishing exploration.
It is clear that as a country we have now begun to realise and understand the economic value of our ocean and coastal areas. Last year the Department of Environmental Affairs co-ordinated a study to analyse the economic potential of South Africa's oceans. This work demonstrated that the economic potential of South Africa's marine resources could be optimised further. Overall, South Africa's oceans could generate an estimated GDP contribution of up to R177 billion by the year 2033, through government interventions to unlock the value of certain sectors in the oceans and coastal sphere.
During the state of the nation address the President of our Republic, President Jacob Zuma, announced Operation Phakisa, which the Minister referred to. This operation is the government's intervention to come up with implementable plans to unlock the economic potential of the ocean and coastal sector. The President of the Republic, as also mentioned by the Minister, will officially launch Operation Phakisa on Saturday, 19 July, which is this coming Saturday.
An HON MEMBER: Invite them.
Mr S P MABILO: You are all invited. [Laughter.] The number of jobs linked to the ocean economy could rise to one million, more than double the level in 2010.
Today South Africa is one of the emerging world powers in Brics. These emerging world powers are at different places in their relationship with their oceans and coasts. In the light of this the main maritime benefits for South Africa from its partnership with Brics countries are obvious. It will benefit from an older and developed marine economy across the South Atlantic Ocean in Brazil; another one across the Indian Ocean in India; a substantial and highly sophisticated polar marine industry in Russia; and a relatively new but fast-growing and public-sector driven maritime economy in China. So, we are properly located in Brics.
Hon members, this ocean economy is underpinned by the White Paper on the National Environmental Management of the Ocean, which was approved by the Cabinet last December. The principles enshrined in this ocean economy policy are from the National Development Plan, which encourages the valuing of our oceans for the benefit of all our people.
Furthermore, with regard to the Blue Economy, our region is now emerging as an oil and gas hub, given the massive gas finds along Africa's Indian Ocean coast. The Atlantic seabed has long been a vital supply of these hydrocarbons. It is only in this way that we can build our ocean-dependent, trade-based economies into engines for growth and development, in order to eliminate poverty, unemployment and inequality.
In conclusion, before I sit down, I want to give two free lectures. The first is to the hon Mngxitama. No amount of hot air, cheap political shots or sloganeering will address the fundamental challenges that we are confronted with as a country with regard to the protection of the environment. [Applause.] [Interjections.]
Secondly, we say this to the hon Steenkamp. We don't need your cheap lectures in relation to the task, and the far-fetched solutions that you are suggesting. What we are saying is that as a government we are equal to the task and to ensuring matters for the future. I say to her: Let us give you a clear directive, that the protection of the environment for future generations is a collective responsibility ... [Interjections.] ... and you cannot play party politics with it. We are saying that this government is offering pragmatic, realistic and objective solutions to the current challenges. [Interjections.]
As the ANC, we support this Budget Vote. Thank you very much. [Applause.]
The MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS
Mr S P MABILO
EPC – OLD ASSEMBLY CHAMBER
Thursday, 17 July 2014 Take: 195
The MINISTER OF ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS: Hon Chair, I would like to start by expressing my appreciation for all inputs made by hon members in the debate.
Then, earlier on I forgot to welcome our former chairperson and the present Deputy Speaker of the North West Provincial Legislature; they were both members of this portfolio committee. I want to suggest that one day they should be brought in here just to provide a bit of an education to some of our hon members on the other side. [Laughter.]
I am saying this because I don't know what to respond to, especially as regards the hon member from the EFF. I have written here, "I don't know", because I honestly don't know what he was saying. [Interjections.]
As for hon Steenkamp, I think you have a long way to go, even though there is potential, ma'am. You have a long way to go in regard to understanding the kinds of things that we are talking about. [Interjections.] I have only three minutes in which to respond, so please sit down. [Interjections.]
Let me respond to the very positive inputs made by some members. Hon Holomisa, your suggestion about Madiba is most welcome indeed, and I think we will have to work together on that. There is a thought regarding the legacy of Madiba within the heritage issue – a world heritage site or even a national heritage site. So, we can work on those issues and include them there.
In response to the issues raised by hon Singh, there is an issue that we are already working on which needs intervention, and that is the declassification of waste; so, we will have to revert to you in relation to that. With regard to the DNA sampling, certainly there is a lot happening. I want to indicate, as I have already said in my speech, that there is a lot of work that is beginning to be done with Vietnam and China, particularly in Hong Kong. By the way, there is a consignment that was found there by the authorities, and they have alerted us in South Africa. So, there is great work that is being done there.
Why did I say there is still a long way to go for hon Steenkamp in regard to the issues that she raised? It is because it took quite a while for those of us who were not acquainted with the portfolio of the Department of Environment Affairs to understand a lot of the work that is being done in curbing rhino poaching. I have now learnt a lot, so I have a lot to teach you and those on that side.
It is indeed necessary that when we as South Africans stand up to speak, we must remember that there is a lot that is happening and we must contribute to what government is doing. Government's putting a lot of effort into this; we haven't spoken here today about even a quarter of what government is doing. It is important to realise that.
Yes, we have a proposal that we will submit to that corps. It will be well researched, as I said, and it will be well thought through. There will be consultation and there will certainly be contributions from South Africans, as there always have been. There will be those who say, "We think this is what you should do," and we will listen. But we will find it difficult to listen to those who say, "You are not doing this and that, but you are doing that and this." That is a problem. So let us learn to handle this.
On the issue of the recycling economy, I think many members from the ANC made good contributions; we welcome and appreciate their inputs. The issues we are dealing with are environmental matters that started to become more important in 1994 only - chairperson, you were so right.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development report does state that South Africa has indeed moved a whole long way. By the way, there are hon members from the other side who, from their inheritance and movement away from their original parties, have come from not doing anything about these issues, so we have made strides.
The OECD report also points out the kind of things that you are saying. Ours is to be focused and move forward. Ours is to ensure that, and I agree with you, the environmental impact assessments that are being done must enable development. I said this is the reason why we actually integrated the systems to make a coherent system - read about it again - to ensure that mining authorisations are done now under the National Environment Management Act and no longer under Environmental Management Programme Report. So, we are moving in that direction and it is of our own accord; we were not taught by the DA to do the things that we are doing.
With regard to the Eskom emissions issue, we stated, hon member of the DA, that there is a greenhouse gas inventory that we drew up, together with South Africans, in order to understand the amounts of the gases that there are out there. Right now, even as we say we are facing not so good a picture, it is still not beyond what we have actually calculated it to be at this point in time, given our mitigation scenario. We are not so worried because we know that, given the actions that we said we would take of allocations of the desired emission reduction outcomes, the industries allocated will take action. Indeed, we are certain that there will be reduction at least by 2020. Thank you very much for supporting the budget. [Time expired.] [Applause]
The House adjourned at 16:12.
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