Opening remarks by the Deputy Director General: Chemicals and Waste, Mr Mark Gordon at the Hydrochlorofluorocarbons Phaseout Management Plan (HPMP) Roadshow in Durban

14 June 2018


Representatives of United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO),

The South African Refrigeration and Air Conditioning (RAC) Sector,

Other stakeholders,

On behalf of the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Honourable Minister Molewa, it is my pleasure to welcome you to this 2018 Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) Phase-out Management Plan (HPMP) Roadshow. It is also my pleasure to join you today on this HPMP Roadshow here in Durban.

The South African Constitution provides a legal foundation for government to undertake all the necessary efforts to ensure that the environment is safe and clean for all. Furthermore, Chapter 5 of the South African National Development Plan (NDP) which has targets to be achieved by the year 2030, is dedicated to Environmental Sustainability which can be achieved through protecting & enhancing our environmental assets and natural resources.

South Africa is the most industrialised country within the African continent as a whole, and is also home to some of the continent’s advanced industries such as the automotive, mining, food distribution, leisure and hospitality, whereby the refrigeration and air conditioning sector are crucial for the success of these industries.

South Africa as a Party to the Montreal Protocol on Ozone depleting substances, continues, to strive towards meeting its obligations and where feasible, exceeding expectations by promoting and establishing good practices and methods towards environmental sound management of ODS through the promotion of Best Available Techniques (BAT) and Best Environmental Practises (BEP).  Such is made possible by the support and partnership that we have established, for example, with UNIDO, the South African RAC sector and my capable team.

To name some of the recent developments, as a country we have witnessed a smooth transition to safer alternatives within the local RAC industry, and we are also excited and eager to receive the machines that would assist our RAC industry to recover, reclaim, and recycle Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS). The delivery of these machines would be directly significantly assisting South Africa to implement one of the Chemicals and Waste Phakisa Initiatives on recovering, reclaiming and recycling ODSs.

For those who might not know what Phakisa is; Phakisa means to be fast in Setswana local language. Phakisa is a Presidential initiative in each sector, directed to come up with means of solving challenges faced by that particular sector, whilst contributing to GDP, and all this ought to be accomplished very fast, to be specific, a significant impact should be seen within a 5 year period.

For the Chemicals and Waste Sector, we have to solve our environmental challenges, contribute to GDP and do so very fast; so the timing of the donation from UNIDO could not be perfect, in delivering the machines for the RAC industry, and we are very grateful as a country.

At an institutionalised level, the Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) under the Montreal Protocol are well controlled through a partnerships that entails holding quarterly meetings amongst the relevant government departments and the industry, whereby a review of the consumption against annually allocated quotas is undertaken, and other challenges are resolved.

At a more strategic level, and when it comes to delivering on two of 2015’s most important sustainability milestones, the Paris Agreement and the SDG’s 2030 Agenda; the scale of the challenge is huge, so should all our commitment be, if we are serious about making a significant difference in terms of protecting our environment; in this particular regard, meeting our obligations within the Montreal Protocol, and supersede expectations where feasible.

It is essential and it always yields good results to promote shared responsibility and cooperative efforts in resolving environmental challenges, more so those that are a result of our human activities. UNIDO has always supported South African efforts, not just within the RAC sector, and as a country, South Africa, appreciates such a relationship and continued support.

As a country, we pride ourselves of the very good relationship and commitment we are having with UNIDO, our stakeholders within the RAC industry, in collectively working together to find a solution to the environmental challenges we are faced with.

While estimates show that a polluted environment due to man-made activities, contributes to more than one quarter of all diseases, it is also known that if such environmental challenges continue unabated, this is will be the tip of the iceberg as emerging economies are those that often have least developed capacities to manage the risks.

As a government, we hope our collective efforts on environmental sound management of ODSs, would also contribute to subsequently the reduction of cancer cases reported in South Africa, those particularly attributed to too much exposure to dangerous rays due to our positioning on the Southern Hemisphere and close proximity to the South Pole. 

The Roadshow allows government and the RAC industry to meet in an informal manner that promotes more and robust engagement, share valuable information that leads to better understanding of policy direction and also challenges faced by the industry, and hopefully, it will further strengthen the relationship between government and the RAC industry for even better cooperation henceforth.

In conclusion, I wish you a practical and successful roadshow.