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Minister Bomo Edna Molewa tables Environmental Affairs 2013/14 Budget Vote

National Assembly, Parliament, Cape Town, 28 May 2013

 

Honourable Chairperson of this session;
Honourable Ministers;
Honourable Deputy Minister, Rejoice Mabudafhasi, MP
Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
Distinguished Chairpersons and Chief Executives of Public Entities;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen;

Introduction

We deliver this budget vote for the Environment Portfolio while also preparing ourselves for the end of the second decade of our democracy.

 
 
Minister Edna Molewa deliver DEA's 2013/14 Budget Vote speech in Parliament.

Next year’s general elections will not only confirm our solid commitment to a democratic order, but they will happen in the year our democracy will be turning twenty.

Next month we will also celebrate World Environment Day, a day that allows us an opportunity to pause and reflect on the work done in our sector and how we are able to collaborate with other facets of our society.

We will also remind ourselves of the centrality of people, the economy and environmental preservation. This is what is called the three pillars of sustainable development, and part of the slogan we used during RIO plus 20, namely: planet, people and prosperity. None of these three can exist without the others.

The Basotho speaking people of our country tell us that “Noka e tlatswa ke dinokana” which means that the river is swelled by streams.

Our challenge as a nation which is a developing state is to find a healthy balance between the three pillars - economic growth, social development and environmental sustainability. In pursuit of South Africa's developmental pathway, a shared vision and common goal of sustainability has emerged as a strong driver of industry values as well as societal behaviour.

As a nation we adopted the National Development Plan, which maps out the vision of the country for the 20 years ahead. As the environment sector, we will implement related aspects of the priority areas in this Plan that deal with sustainable development.

Our rich environmental and natural resource-endowment such as productive land, clean and sufficient water, healthy air, beautiful landscapes, vibrant cities, towns, villages and cultures;  (the very foundation for our inclusive sustainable economic and social development) must not only benefit us today but also our children and grandchildren.

Without clean water, there is no life; without the protection of plant and animal life, there is no tourism, no benefit to rural communities through the development of sustainable utilisation projects, and no jobs.

Noka e tlatswa ke dinokana

Ecological Infrastructure

Our ecological infrastructure is nature’s equivalent of built infrastructure. It includes our mountain catchments, wetlands and coastal dunes, and is increasingly being recognised for its importance to service delivery in both the rural and urban contexts.

However, this has not always been recognised as such, largely because the goods and services provided by ecological infrastructure have to date been freely available in relative abundance. Land degradation and climate change, however, are rapidly undermining the world’s ecological infrastructure and its ability to support sustainable service delivery.

The National Development Plan reminds us of the escalating costs of maintaining built infrastructure in the face of increasing natural disasters, as well as the rising costs of delivering clean water to communities. This suggests that the value of biodiversity assets and ecological infrastructure now urgently needs to be understood by those sectors facilitating the implementation of this Plan. 

In support of this, the South African National Biodiversity Institute – SANBI - is spearheading an innovative programme of work on ecological infrastructure analysis, inclusive of costing of our natural capital. With this body of knowledge we will be empowered to make informed development-related decisions.

This will be particularly beneficial at a municipal level, but also in aid of water security and disaster risk management.  Investment in the management of our ecological infrastructure will secure and build natural capital in South Africa, and will provide a foundation for building climate resilient economies and create jobs.

We have now developed initiatives to support effective decision-making in programmes such as the Presidential Strategic Integrated Projects or SIP’s. We do this through the strategic information and decision-making support tools that have already been established, like the Biodiversity Geographical Information System amongst other innovations

True to our commitment in our Budget Speech last year, we celebrated the International Day for Biodiversity this year by launching the Biodiversity and Mining Guideline jointly with the mining sector.  

Oceans and Coast

South Africa has not fully exploited the economic, commercial, industrial or large scale livelihood dependency on the oceans surrounding our country. Geographically, our country is  centrally positioned between the East and West trade routes. Opportunities for ship support industry and ports enjoy a healthy market. South Africa, however, has no large bulk commercial ships on its national ships register.

South Africa has an abundance of terrestrial natural and marine living resources, which makes us well placed to exploit the blue economy that our location provides. More recently countries that have invested in ocean research and engineering have appreciated the development advantage that can be accessed through oceans. In this regard, our Green Paper on policy for the National Environmental Management of the Oceans was submitted to Cabinet last year for approval to publish for comments. At present we are working on the comments received and we plan to re-submit to Cabinet for final approval.  

This policy was generally well-received with comments highlighting that the oceans have the potential for many new areas of investment and development and therefore the Departments need to work together in the management and sustainable use of the oceans environment. 

In March this year I led a South African delegation to a Ministerial segment of the Benguela Current Commission which culminated in the signing of the Benguela Current Convention in Benguela, Angola. The three countries making up the BCC – South Africa, Angola and Namibia – are committed to common regional goals, above national interests, to promote the long-term conservation, protection, rehabilitation, enhancement and sustainable use of the Benguela Current Large Marine Ecosystem. 

Noka e tlatswa ke dinokana

Working together we can do more for our environment.

Climate Change

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change’s CoP18 Conference was held in Doha, Qatar late last year. This secured the Durban legacy with an outcome that concluded the necessary provisions to give effect to a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol, including legal, operational, ambition and environmental integrity considerations.

The implication of these outcomes for South Africa is our continued active and strategic engagement in the full implementation of the Durban and Doha decisions. Particular among these is to facilitate the implementation of urgent Climate Action Now, as this process will inevitably inform the legal outcome being negotiated for the period beyond 2020.

This negotiation is focused on the further development and operationalisation of the Durban and Doha decisions in a manner that gives effect to the principles of the Convention, particularly common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities, as well as on-going political issues such as Equity to Sustainable Development, Intellectual Property Rights and Unilateral Trade Measures.

Key elements include institutional arrangements for finance and technology to enable meaningful mitigation and adaptation action by Developing Countries; pre-2020 mitigation ambition by all Developed Countries; elaborating the concept of comparable effort of mitigation commitments by developed countries not participating in the second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol; and operationalising the agreed transparency arrangements for mitigation by developed countries and developing countries.

Other CoP18 decisions included the completion of negotiations on a new Legal Outcome under the Convention by 2015, which is to come into effect from 2020. Careful analysis of the changing political landscape is needed to ensure that South Africa is well placed within a political alliance that would best serve our national interests. Due consideration of the impact that the broader Post-2015 Development Agenda process will have on the climate change process, as well as the prominent role that climate change will continue to play in all sustainable development debates, is also required.

Ladies and Gentlemen you will recall that South Africa has adopted a Climate Change Response Policy.  Implementation of this policy and our global commitment to Green House Gas emission reduction is progressing well and we will finalise our emission reduction objectives and carbon budget approach for each sector to enable the transition to a low carbon economy.

The policy implementation actions and activities include the analysis of mitigation potential in key economic sectors as the basis for the establishment of Desired Emission Reduction Outcomes or what is called DEROs, and defining the optimal mix of measures for achieving those DEROs, with greatest benefit and least cost to the economy. 

They also include developing a set of long term adaptation scenarios for key sectors, on the basis of a set of locally relevant climate scenarios that would inform an integrated approach to planning and implementation of South Africa’s adaptation response. In addition, it requires developing a national monitoring and evaluation system that tracks South Africa’s transition to a lower carbon and climate-resilient economy and society.

The South African Weather Service’s  collaborations with  organisations like the Water Research Commission has enabled SAWS  formulation of strategies aimed at ensuring that, as a weather-ready nation,   proactive  measures are invented aimed at reducing the vulnerability and exposure of rural communities to increased weather and climate disasters.

Noka e tlatswa ke dinokana

Working together we can do more for our environment.

The development of a management strategy for environmental impact assessment on integrated permitting systemto address key concerns and constraints within the current environmental impact management system are well underway.  

We must acknowledge the good work done with the Department of Energy in processing all the applications for renewable energy. Up to 25 000 megawatts of wind and solar projects have been authorised for the various parts of the country to date. This is far more than the original quota for the first three rounds of the bidding programme. The quota that set by the Department of Energy was 3 750 megawatts.

Honourbale Members, we processed more than double the amount of EIA we normally process in a single year.

Presidential Strategic Integrated Projects (SIPS)

In order to facilitate and support accelerated implementation of the sustainable development initiatives, particularly the Strategic Infrastructure Programme, a streamlined environmental authorisation process has been introduced.  Other tools, such as Strategic Environment Assessments are being developed to further accelerate authorisations while ensuring sound environmental impact management in line with sustainable development principles.

We are part of this PICC and we are expected to provide regular feedback in terms of the processing of applications related to the SIPS. A number of projects have been identified through the review of Environmental Impact Assessment.  Among the projects listed are plans to develop and integrate rail, road and water infrastructure to not only unlock coal, platinum, palladium, chrome and other minerals in the northern parts of the country, but also plans to unlock the potential of the Eastern Cape and North West. We are looking particularly at renewable energy resources to beef up power transmission.  All projects will be subjected to rigorous feasibility assessments with only the most cost-effective projects being pursued.

It is crucial that the Department is equipped with the necessary capacity to help manage timeframe compliance, avoid costly errors, eliminate frustrations associated with the review of these projects and eradicate obstacles that give rise to perceptions that our Environmental Impact Assessments are responsible for delays in infrastructure development. 

We aim to provide an integrated, more streamlined process for major infrastructure projects throughout the assessment process. In line with this approach we are pro-actively engaging the respective Strategic Infrastructure Project Coordinators, in addition to our current initiatives with SOE’s and SOC’s, in order to provide support and guidance in terms the requisite EIA legislative requirements and the process to be followed.

Sustainable Development and Green Economy

In line with our commitments to the successful outcomes of the 2011 and 2012 Climate Change, Desertification, Biodiversity, Rio+20 Sustainable Development Summit meetings, where the international community firmly set Sustainable Development and a Green growth as an apex priority. We have also prioritised South Africa’s transition to a sustainable, job-creating, low-carbon and inclusive green economy.

We have begun the introduction of the Green Economy with the utilisation of our Green Funds which we announced last year. Through our Implementing Agency, the DBSA, funds have already been allocated through the first window to projects that proved to be sustainable and are mainly in the alternative energy sector.

The success of our efforts made thus far will be reflected in the 2012 South African Environmental Outlook Report to be published this year. The report will provide the analysis of our State of Environment covering South Africa’s land resources, ecosystems and biodiversity, inland water systems, oceans and coasts, energy, air quality, climate change and waste.

Early indications are that while we have made progress towards sustainably managing our environmental resources in the process of transitioning to a low-carbon green economy, many challenges still remain.

Early this year, we launched the zero emission pure electric Green Cars for the Nation as a national Pilot Programme. The Department had to demonstrate government commitment to the reduction of carbon emissions that are chiefly responsible for climate change.

The environmental challenges experienced in different regions of the world represent not only a significant and historic challenge to our generation, but also an opportunity for change. Next month we will also launch the South Africa Green Economy Modelling Report.

The report, commissioned by UNEP at our request, will be a useful contribution to supporting the vision and leadership of South Africa in paving the way towards a green and inclusive economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication in South Africa.

We will ensure that all interventions we develop and all studies we conduct are aligned with the National Development Plan’s target for job creation that is set at 11 million jobs by 2030.

Noka e tlatswa ke dinokana

Our green economy interventions must support this roadmap to ensure that our programmes positively contribute to this target and centrally position our sector as a hub of job creation, whilst not deviating from our mandate of protecting the integrity of our environment.

The sustainable use of indigenous biological resources is fundamental to the development of South Africa’s economy. The bioprospecting and the hunting industries particularly, are also integral to our contribution to sustainable development and green jobs in South Africa.

Recent estimates have placed the bio-prospecting industry’s contribution to the GDP at 2.1 billion Rands, which, if combined, places the contribution of the direct utilisation of indigenous biological resources at 8.3 billion Rands. In the previous financial year, the entire value chain of the hunting industry contributed some 6.2 billion Rands to the South African GDP.

We will embark on a dedicated programme to provide support to the hunting and bio-prospecting industries to promote South Africa as the destination of choice for hunting, and as one of the most resource-rich country to contribute to bio-prospecting.

Last year we undertook a concerted effort to build human capital in the biodiversity sector. Working with SANBI, through our programme Groen Sebenza, we have partnered with 33 organisations to create a cadre of 800 confident and competent people to work at all levels of government and in the private sector.

This launch will form part of our Youth Month celebrations as well as our celebration of Environment Month.

Wemust challenge the notion that there necessarily is a trade-off to be made between faster economic growth and the conservation of our environment. The myth that there is conflict between economic development and environmental health must be challenged and debunked.

Good environmental management coupled with integrated development planning will allow us to build a low carbon economy that supports resilient ecosystems and economies. Healthy and intact ecosystems give us more options for responding to climate change, alleviating poverty and building a green economy.

We are committed to improve the socio-economic benefits within the environmental sector, by creating 65 494 work opportunities which will yield 34 019 Full-Time Equivalents Jobs. The targeted designated groups arewomen, youth and people living with disabilities.

We have accessed a total amount of 2.39 billion Rands from the Expanded Public Works Programme for our Environmental Programmes in the new financial year, which will boost the job-creation objective of Government, and secure vital environmental benefits from the work to be done.

The jobs will not be created in isolation to the Department’s mandate; hence the Working for Water, Working on Fire and the Environmental Protection and Infrastructure programmes, through their various sub-programmes, will also deliver environmental outputs such as rehabilitating 105 wetlands, cleaning more than 2 100 kilometres of coastline, rehabilitation of estuaries and dunes, construction of boardwalks to facilitate access, planting trees, building of waste buy-back centres, removing invasive alien plants, provision of infrastructure to facilitate conservation and rehabilitating thousands of hectares of land this year. The jobs created will be coupled with skills development where-in 184 263 accredited training person days will be achieved.       

During this financial year, we aim to spend just over 1.13 billion Rands on the Working for Water and associated programmes, whilst Working on Fire will get 406 million Rands, and the Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programmes will get 817 million Rands.

Forestry South Africa calculated that the damage to the forestry industry through the major fires is worth about 3, 6 Billion Rands, but this could have doubled had it not been for the Working on Fire partnership.

We would like to improve our partnerships with the farming community to strengthen our ability to respond more efficiently. 

The biggest budget allocations are again going towards Eastern Cape and SANParks projects. I should mention that the SANParks budget includes the funding for the Eco-Furniture Factories.

Honourable members, as we prepare to celebrate Youth Month, I would like to re-emphasise our concern over the growing number of unemployed young people. As we begin the third decade of our democracy, the ability of our country to upscale a conducive environment for young South Africans to be absorbed into active economic participation, is of vital importance.

As part of our environmental sector contribution towards addressing the challenges of youth unemployment in the country, we have initiated two programmes which encourage better environmental management practices within our communities.

Firstly, the Youth Environmental Services (YES) Programme will benefit 2700 young people over the next three years. Upon exiting the programme these young people will be placed in either permanent employment or further training institutions. Honourable members, we will launch this programme next month as part of our celebration of Youth and Environment Month.

Secondly, we will also, as we committed in our Speech last year, be launching the Youth Jobs in Waste Programme, in June.

This project is expected to create 330 job opportunities in waste in the Free State and 326 in the North West. The project, once rolled out nationally, is intended to provide 3 577 young people with job opportunities in waste management and related entrepreneurship.

In addition to these youth employment initiatives, is the introduction of Environmental Monitors to deal with environmental threats in protected areas, including the scourge of rhino-poaching nationally. Through this programme, 1 000 young people will be employed to strengthen the fight against rhino poaching and other environmental challenges.

Compliance

To ensure compliance with our environmental laws, there has been further expansion of the Green Scorpions’ capacity at local authority level since the first protocol was signed with the Limpopo provincial government in February 2012.

Since then most provinces have made progress in relation to signing these protocols with the relevant local authorities.  To date 48 Environmental Management Inspectors have been designated in different local authorities across the country and it is anticipated that in the next few months this number will increase considerably following the various training initiatives that are being undertaken. There will however need to be focused efforts in Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and the Free State where implementation protocols have not yet been signed with any of the local authorities.

I am encouraged that the Department has been given tremendous support by our partners in fighting environmental crime. On behalf of the Department, I would like to thank the SAPS, SANDF, the Department of Justice, to mention but a few. In particular, the Courts that are sending a strong message to those who violate environmental laws shall not do so with impunity.

The Department is also in the process of developing a comprehensive compliance and enforcement strategy that will provide us with a gap analysis enabling us to use our limited resources in the most effective way that ensures compliance with our legislation.

The National Waste Management Strategy continues to contribute to the creation of varied industries that are deliberately structured to deliver sustainable livelihoods.  At present three District Municipalities in the Northern Cape, two in Gauteng and two in Mpumalanga are being assisted with the development of the Integrated Waste Management Plans to ensure that the planning around provision and management of waste complies with the requirements of the Waste Act. We will assist a further five municipalities this year.

The successful integration of the Water Use and Waste Licences for waste disposal facilities is an example of a successful integration of licences.

We will continue with the project of reducing the number of unlicensed waste disposal sites. In this financial year, the Department will finalise the norms and standards for remediation of contaminated land, storage of waste, flaring of landfill gas, and waste classification and management regulations.

All these tools will contribute in easing regulatory requirements for our stakeholders and promote the implementation of the waste management hierarchy as required by the National Waste Management Strategy

War against Rhino Poaching

Honourable Members, this year the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act is 9 years old.

As we mark the 9th anniversary of NEMBA, we are conducting an in-depth review to assess its impact at national and local government level. In the process, we will consider to include and additional chapter on the sustainable utilisation of indigenous biological resources.

The aim of these legislative amendments is to intensify the biodiversity sustainable development policy of South Africa through coordination and strengthening of existing industries within the biodiversity sphere. In addition, the amendment of legislation seeks to ensure increased contribution of biodiversity economic development initiatives to the rural economy through creating new industries for sustainable livelihoods in the context of new entrants to the biodiversity economy.

The Department will also be looking at some legislative amendments to tighten regulatory gaps in the National Environmental Management Act.

The National Environmental Management Laws First Amendment Bill that aimed at strengthening the regulatory and enforcement provisions to prevent abuse of the hunting permitting system is at an advanced stage in the Parliamentary process.

Once promulgated, the Bill will make provision that a person who is involved in an illegal restricted activity, but who does not physically carry out the restricted activity can also be found guilty of an offence.

Presently, professional hunters, hunting outfitters and trainers only register in individual provinces and if they are non-compliant in one province, they can apply to operate or continue to operate in another province.

To address this loophole, the Bill compels the national registration of professional hunters, hunting outfitters and trainers involved in the hunting industry. In this way, action can be taken against those who facilitate the carrying out of illegal restricted activities by their clients.

The Bill further prescribes that all specimens in transit through the country must be accompanied by the necessary documentation. This important provision will assist in addressing the movement of illegal specimens.

Besides strengthening the regulatory and enforcement provisions in the hunting industry, the Bill also allows the Minister to limit the number of permits that can be issued in order to protect a species; and provides for an issuing authority to suspend, defer or refuse a permit.

The diversity of life we find in South Africa’s natural heritage is as rich and wondrous as our many languages, cultures and peoples. Our expansive landscapes, and the species that we find in them, share the same ancient historic roots as every South African.

In March this year, we were part of the 2 000 delegates from 178 countries at the 16th Conference of Parties of the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) in Thailand.

It was there that we successfully offered to host the 17th CITES CoP in 2016. Planning towards the hosting of this important meeting will start this year and, more importantly, strategic engagements will take place to prepare for the CoP to ensure successful negotiations on matters relating to sustainable utilisation, including the adoption of a decision-making mechanism for trade in ivory and a potential proposal for trade in rhino horn.

Honourable Members, as you may know, South Africa is the third most mega bio-diverse country in the world.  Managing such diverse people, culture, landscape, biological resources and economy requires a fine balance.

Rationalisation of the fragmented legislation relating to protected areas is progressing at national level. The final aspect of the National Parks Act, 1976 has been repealed. The schedule of national parks is now published in terms of the National Environmental Management: Protected Areas Act, 2003. In addition, a review of the legislation relating to world heritage sites and marine protected areas has been initiated.

We are working with provinces to improve the management effectiveness of South Africa’s state-run protected areas is a concern. Provincial management authorities have reported successful interventions increasing the national average to 30% effective by the end of 2012, still way below target. The challenge remains filling vacant posts and inadequate operational budgets. In this regard, MINTECH has been directed to work on a national as well as norms and standards finalisation.

On the international front, we are intensifying the collaborative law enforcement effort to combat this increasing scourge of rhino poaching as well as international cooperation with recipient and transit countries such as Vietnam, Thailand and China. To date we have signed Memorandums of Understanding with Vietnam and China and we aim to sign similar agreements with Mozambique and other Asian countries.

The reality of rhino poaching, particularly in the Kruger National Park (KNP), continues to be a major challenge for the country, especially when considering prevalent financial constraints. This situation is fuelled by a thriving black market trade in rhino horn.

For this reason, the fight against rhino poaching continues to receive attention from my department and its public entities such as SANParks. To this end, the current rhino poaching challenge in the country has been elevated to the National Joints Security Committee where a National Joints Operational Instruction Strategy has been forwarded to all security structures for immediate implementation.

Furthermore, an amount of 75 million Rands has been allocated to SANParks for the purpose of combating this on-going poaching in the period of 2013/14 to 2015/16.

I am convinced that working together with our national security agencies, we should be able to strengthen the borders of the country to counter the avalanche of rhino poaching incursions from neighbouring countries.

The scourge of rhino poaching cannot be dealt with, without considering the worldwide increase in trans-boundary wildlife crimes. 

During the past year the various national consultations with stakeholders by the Rhino Issue Manager process on the issues of rhino conservation, safety and security and rhino economics were held with a draft report from the RIM process presented to the Cabinet in February this year.

Prior to our departure to the CITES CoP we launched an international discussion on the future of South Africa’s rhino population, particularly the issue of legal trade in rhino horn, or not. Should such a proposal be adopted and the Government opt to table a proposal to CITES for the legalisation of the rhino horn trade as a jjkjmeans of addressing poaching, South Africa will recommend that this happen under very strictly controlled conditions.

Noka e tlatswa ke dinokana

I would like to thank the Deputy Minister, Ms Rejoice Mabudafhasi, the boards and staff of the public entities under the department, the Director General, Ms Nosipho Ngcaba and her team for the commitment they continue to show in the attainment of our strategic objectives.

I would also like to thank the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Advocate Johnny de Lange and the committee members for their support, guidance and robust engagements.

Thank you