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Minister Edna Molewa tables Department of Environmental Affairs 2016/2017 Budget Vote Policy Statement

03 May 2016

 

Honourable Chairperson of the Session;
Honourable Deputy Minister, Ms Barbara Thomson, MP;
Honourable Acting Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee, Mr Silence Makhubele, MP;
Honourable Members of the Portfolio Committee;
Honourable Members of Parliament;
Distinguished Chairpersons and Chief Executives of Public Entities;
Distinguished guests;

Ladies and Gentlemen;

In December last year the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as encapsulated in the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) and Agenda 2063 of the African Union.

The declaration of the Sustainable Development Goals envisages among others, 'a world in which every country enjoys inclusive and sustainable economic growth, and decent work for all'.

It is also two weeks since world Leaders from 175 countries met in New York and signed the Paris Agreement to combat climate change. The Paris Agreement has its roots here in South Africa, on the African soil, where it's terms of negotiations were agreed to. It marks a new era in international cooperation to deal with one of the most pressing issues of our time.

Today we present the Budget Vote, programmes and priorities of the Department of Environmental Affairs, at a time when countries around the world are stepping up efforts to integrate sustainable development principles into their planning and governance processes.

The 17 SDGs and the Paris Agreement are all characterized by Aspiration, Ambition and Action but also chart a new course for Global Development.

As we strive towards realizing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the plan of action for People, Planet and Prosperity, we are confident that bolstered by this Budget, our Government will through the Department of Environmental Affairs continue to work towards promoting equitable, inclusive, sustained and environmentally sound economic growth.

Green low carbon and climate resilient economy

One of the key investments in growing the green economy is the development of sustainable economic infrastructure. In order to accelerate this development process, government launched the Strategic Infrastructure Programme (SIP).

As a contribution to this effort the Department is conducting Strategic Environmental Assessments with a view to pre-assess potential environmental impacts and on this basis to streamline and integrate environmental authorizations for these developments.

The SEA’s for wind and solar renewable energy development zones (REDZ) have been completed and gazetted these zones along with a streamlined and simplified planning, impact assessment and authorization procedure for renewable energy development applications in these zones.

In support of the renewable energy roll out we have also finalized the pre-assessment of the grid expansion corridors. A total of 137 renewable energy applications have already been authorized, representing an equivalent of 5719 Megawatts.

Recent legislative amendments have enabled us to timeously finalize a total of 35 SIPS applications. Of these, 34 were concluded within the legislated period, translating to a 97% efficiency rate.

This represents a significant investment in thehighly successful Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPP) that has so far attracted some R200 billion in investment since its launch.

Over and above work done in the clean energy space, a total of 1371 EIA applications were processed by all competent authorities during the last financial year. The National Department was responsible for 279 of these applications. Of these, 1286 were finalized within the legislated time frame. This translates to a 93.8 % efficiency rate across all competent authorities.  In the 2016/17 it is our plan to raise this to a 98% efficiency level.

SEA’s for the Square Kilometer Array and Shale Gas exploration are currently underway. This year will see the initiation of a SEA for the second phase of the Renewable Energy programme as well as for further grid expansion and gas pipeline development.

In a further effort to streamline the assessment and authorization process, we have also gazetted the Draft National Standard for Land based Abalone Aquaculture. In support of this sector and we will be publishing an Instrument Adoption regulations to enable the use of other more fit-for-purpose Environmental Impact Assessment and management instruments.

These regulations will also facilitate the use of Spatial Land Use Management Act instruments such as Spatial Development Frameworks (SDF) and Land Use Schemes (LUS). To this end, we are developing minimum environmental requirements for SDF’s and LUS’s in partnership with the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.

In 2012 we established the Green Fund with the objective of supporting our country’s transition to a green economy through the provision of a catalytic finance to facilitate and stimulate investment in green initiatives. A total budget allocation of R 1.1 billion has been made and the Board of the Fund has approved 31 investment projects, 16 research and development projects and 8 capacity building projects.

Over 1 600 direct job opportunities and at least 11 300 indirect job opportunities have been created. The majority of these job opportunities are created under the investment projects portfolio. More than 7 400 individuals have been directly trained and capacitated in the area of green skills.

As we all know, the final adoption of the Paris Climate Change in December 2015 represents a major step forward in international cooperation towards sustainable green, low carbon and climate resilient economies globally. During the Paris negotiating process South Africa played a key role as Chair of the Group of 77 plus China, representing 134 developing countries, and as lead negotiator for the Africa Group.

Two weeks ago South Africa joined 174 other countries as a proud signatory to the Paris Agreement. We have commenced domestic ratification processes to enable the entry into force of the agreement in 2020.

This new legal framework will guide international efforts to limit greenhouse gas emissions, and enable the transition to climate resilient societies and economies, particularly through the commitment by developed countries to provide financial, technology and capacity building support to developing countries in their effort to address the climate change challenge.

In the lead up to the Paris climate change negotiations, South Africa submitted its Intended Nationally Determined Contribution (INDC) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Our INDC is guided by the National Climate Change Response Policy and outlines our national goals for our adaptation effort, and it clearly outlines that South Africa will peak and plateau its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

In implementing our commitment, we are putting in place a greenhouse gas emission mitigation framework, which will include a range of measures aimed at achieving our overall national goals as reflected in our National Development Plan.

This year we begin the first voluntary 5-year cycle of implementing the greenhouse gas emission mitigation system, covering the period 2016 to 2020, with a mandatory system for the next 5-year phase. Key components of the system include a carbon budget for each company; submission of pollution prevention plans which will indicate how companies plan to achieve their carbon budgets; a reporting system to gather information on emissions from companies; and a variety of other measures to be applied to support and/or complement the carbon budget system.

These additional measures include the development of an efficient, lower-carbon public transport system; land restoration in critical catchments; a Sustainable Cities Programme; expansion of support for small independent power producers; and the sustainable energy acceleration Programme.

We have worked with the German Development Bank to mobilize over R115 million to support phase 2 of the non-motorized transport system in the three Metros. The rollout of public transport through the Bus Rapid Transport Systems in Gauteng has also gained traction.

We have mobilized some US$ 7.2 million from the Global Environment Facility (GEF), for unlocking Biodiversity benefits through development finance in critical catchments. The GEF is also financing the Sustainable Cities Programme to the value of US$ 9 million while the small Independent Power Producers are supported with an Equity Fund of US$ 15 million, all channeled through the DBSA. We have mobilized US$57.5 million from the Climate Investment Fund to support the expansion of the approved South African Sustainable Energy Acceleration Programme.

We are proud to announce that the DBSA has been accredited as an implementing Agency of the GEF and GCF while SANBI is accredited as an implementing Agency of the Adaptation Fund and in the process being accredited for GCF.

The recently concluded Climate Change Adaptation Strategy identifies priority interventions and harmonises key Water, Agriculture, Biodiversity, Health, Human Settlement, and Disaster Risk Reduction sectoral adaptation plans into a comprehensive National Adaptation Plan.

Waste

I want to turn now to one of the most important potentially emerging contributors to the generation of jobs in the green economy, the waste sector. 

Despite a total estimated value of R25 billion to the South African economy, the current rate of waste recycling has not been maximized.

I am pleased to say that we have established a sound and comprehensive regulatory platform to accelerate the waste recycling economy and waste beneficiation and thereby unlocking economic opportunities in the waste sector.

This month we will be convening a Special meeting (Waste Khoro) to consider progress attained since last year's Waste Summit, especially in  supporting our municipalities on sound waste management practices.

To encourage the scale-up of recycling enterprises in the waste sector, we launched the Recycling Enterprise Support Programme that will provide the initial capital setup costs for emerging entrepreneurs.

This year we aim to approve and begin the implementation of the three prioritised Industry Waste Management Plans (IWMPs), namely for the Paper and Packaging, Electrical and Electronic and Lighting Industries respectively.

In the first call for proposals we received over 200 creative and innovative proposals. We are working with the Departments of Small Business Development and Labour, Industrial Development Corporation (IDC), Public Investment Corporation (PIC) and other DFI's on various financing models to ensure massive scale-up, transformation and job creation.

In line with the Pricing Strategy for waste and the SARS Waste Tyre Levy collection system, these IWMPs will set in motion a new economic paradigm for the management of these waste streams in South Africa.

Plans have been put in place for the management and disbursement of funds through the Waste Management Bureau that will be fully operationalized this year.

The REDISA waste Tyre Management Plan launched in 2012 has been cited internationally as best practice for waste management.

As at February 2016, 226 small businesses and 3112 jobs were created through the REDISA Waste Tyre Management Plan. As at February 2016, some 20 935 tonnes of waste tyres were collected and 12 728 tonnes were processed. This being a new programme, and the first of its kind, the results remain remarkable. We are currently conducting an annual audit to strengthen this program.

Hazardous Waste and Landfill Management remains an area of focus for our Department, as this is inextricably linked to the health and wellbeing of surrounding communities.

We have finalized a Hazardous Waste Roadmap that deals with the import, storage, treatment and disposal of hazardous waste, including medical waste. In the past financial year we issued 53 Remediation Orders for contaminated sites, and by the end of this month we would have finally eradicated a backlog of 341 unlawful municipal landfill sites.

We have also partnered with the Department of Mineral Resources to address the environmental, health and safety issues around mine dumps in the development of a beneficiation plan for waste from these dumps, metal processing facilities near these dumps.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Whilst we acknowledge that we have come a long way, support, capacity and awareness around waste management at a municipal level remains an issue.

We are also working hard to bring our country's estimated 62 147 registered Waste Pickers, who are currently vulnerable workers, into the formal waste economy and ensure their safety and protection. Waste pickers help to   divert recyclables away from landfill.

This year we will continue to hand over tools of trade as in mechanized vehicles, as we did last year to some of the registered e-waste collectors. This we will do in order to alleviate the pain and inconvenience of them pushing the heavy manual trolleys and bags all day long.

I am delighted to announce that I will be launching the new initiative by the Coca Cola and Mpact Partnership, on the 10th of this month, in Germiston. This is the largest plastic bottle recycling plant in Africa, valued at R350m and creating 1000 jobs. This is indeed a real example of what is possible in the recycling economy

We also acknowledge the latest initiatives implemented by the DCLM of an Integrated Waste Management of a Landfill Site impended in KZN with new and high quality of technology that is a full-cycle dealing with waste and treatment of water.

Over the next three years, we will be working with the Departments of Science and Technology (DST), Labour, Small Business Development and Cooperatives, CSIR, Municipalities, NGO's and Waste Pickers and Cooperatives Associations to recognize and integrate waste pickers into the Municipal waste management system.

Later this month at the Waste Khoro, I will be launching South Africa's first fully integrated Waste App, named "CleanSweep." This is an exciting initiative that will provide instant access by all users to waste data and various links to disposal sites, recycling and awareness information as well as proactively combat illegal dumping.

Chemicals

The chemicals sector remains an important contributor to our economy. However, the unmanaged release of hazardous chemicals into the environment poses real risk.

To curb the illegal trafficking of the controlled and banned chemical substances, we have worked with SARS and trained 170 SARS and Industry Trade Advisory Committee on Chemicals (ITAC) Inspectors at the Durban, Port Elizabeth, East London, Cape Town, Johannesburg and Beit Bridge ports of entry.

During 2015/16 we hosted our first ever, Chemicals Management and Land Remediation Summit, to find solutions, best practice models, and enhance policy and legislation that will lead to the minimization of the adverse effects of chemicals on human health and the environment. A Platform for Action was developed and is currently being implemented.

South Africa continues to play a leading role in the negotiations and implementations of all Chemicals and Waste Multilateral Environmental Agreement that we are party to.

We have begun work in assessing the possible impact on South Africa of the Minamata Convention on Mercury and will complete this study by the end of the financial year.

On Asbestos Remediation, this year we commenced with addressing contaminated areas in Penge in the Limpopo province. We have completed further detailed analysis on these contaminated sites, utilizing global best practice and leading experts in the field. These efforts will be scaled up next year as more funds become available.

Air Quality

One of our important mandates is to ensure that air quality in our country is in line with internationally accepted standards. To this end, the National Ambient Air Quality Standards have been established, to ensure full industry compliance that simultaneously does not hinder sustainable economic growth.

As per our current analysis and findings, there is general compliance at a national level, with the exception of the Vaal (Zamdela and Sebokeng), Highveld (Emalahleni and Secunda) areas, as well as the emerging Waterberg-Bojanala area.

To address challenges in these areas, the Department is leading a Source Apportionment Study to assess different contributors to the air pollution levels. We have also initiated a Health Study in the Highveld Area to assess the impact of pollution on human health.

We have successfully established an innovation during the last financial year, namely, the South African Atmospheric Emission Licensing and Inventory Portal (SAAELIP) that is a one-stop web-based portal, to apply for licenses and report for compliance. This portal will go a long way in reducing the reporting burden on industries’ side and ensure the necessary information to assess and enforce compliance.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) continues to host the South African Air Quality Information System (SAAQIS) and has increased the number of stations reporting to the system, to 143. This includes both government and privately owned stations.

Biodiversity Management and Conservation

In the Biodiversity and Conservation space, we want to remind South Africans that we are the 3rd most mega bio-diverse country in the world, and well-positioned to capitalize on our unique and potential renewable natural resources.

We continue to drive the biodiversity economy through our national parks, heritage sites, botanical gardens and a vast network of public and private protected areas.During the past financial year, an excess of 1,9 million people visited our National Botanical Gardens, managed by the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI). This is 6% higher than the previous year. As announced last year, we have declared our country's 10th National Botanical Garden at Kwelera near East London.

Our human capital development programme, Groen Sebenza Project, which recruited young people from across the country into the green sector ended in December 2015 having achieved over 950 job opportunities and over 650 actual permanent jobs created. In 2015, 955 were hosted and developed. From these 624 were absorbed into employment.

Our vast network of national parks are also a source of income generation, tourism and job creation. Importantly, our twenty first century national park system, mostly located in the rural areas not only plays a leading role in the conservation of our natural heritage but it is also a significant driver of local economic development.

A number of community projects have been initiated in order to bring neighbouring communities into the wildlife economy. Within the next two months we will deliver through SANParks some animals to a property owned by the Khomani San community adjacent to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park as part of the implementation of this programme.

We are confident that this is a well- managed wildlife operation with mechanisms to ensure the flow of benefits to the community, and this donation represents part of an ongoing partnership to ensure progress on development in this area.

Communities adjacent to a number of other parks including Addo Elephant, Augrabies Falls and the Kruger National Park are also being engaged with a view to supporting the growth of a transformed wildlife economy.

A priority for South Africa is being able to grow a sustainable, inclusive and transformed biodiversity economy with communities. The Biodiversity Economy is largely anchored on three pillars, namely Bio-prospecting, Wildlife and Eco-tourism industries -- all having notable contribution to the country’s economy.

In July 2015, Cabinet approved the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES) setting out a number of strategic priorities required in order to develop the wildlife and bio-prospecting industries. We have begun to implement the NBES using the Operation Phakisa Delivery Model.

As a pillar of Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy launched by President Jacob Zuma in 2014, the DEA and Tourism Department are adding the marine and coastal tourism element. Other key elements being operationalised are in the area of bioprospecting and wildlife economy in the biodiversity Laboratories titled: "Biodiversity Lab: Growing the economic contribution of South Africa's biological resources."

One of the key elements of this socio-economic development programme, is to transform the wildlife economy industry, in which SANParks plays a key role.  

There have also been engagements with emerging game ranchers as part of a process towards developing custodianship or loan agreements with a view to supporting individual entrepreneurs in this sector.

At the same time, several initiatives are underway to boost ecotourism. The SANParks Public Private Partnership (PPP) programmeremains a key element of our overall Responsible Tourism Strategy.

Under this programme 40 PPPs are operating within a number of National Parks, creating a significant number of jobs.

With regard to broader ecosystem conservation, the Protected Area system is our main mechanism to conserve our rich biodiversity. Our protected areas are also key to eco-tourism. As at the end of the 2015/2016 financial year, the total Conservation Estate of South Africa was 14 300 113 hectares which equals to 11.73% of South Africa’s terrestrial surface.

Oceans and Coasts and Oceans Economy: Operation Phakisa

We continue to register progress in the Oceans space, and build on our successes catalyzed by Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy. These successes include:

  • Declaring 22 new Marine Protected Areas (MPA's). This will bring our ocean protection within the South African Exclusive Economic Zone (EZZ) to more than 5%
  • Gazetting the Marine Spatial Planning Bill (MSP) this year, aimed at integrating planning among all ocean sectors, protecting sensitive areas, and achieving certainty for investors
  • Launching the South African Marine Research and Exploration Forum, led by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to exploit the broader research opportunities presented by offshore oil and gas exploration.
  • Finalizing pre-emergency plans for the Offshore Oil industry
  • Releasing the first draft of the Aquaculture Bill, and the holding of stakeholder consultations in February this year. The Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) will report on the wider developments in the aquaculture space
  • A reduction in abalone poaching, working with other government departments and Rangers in the Marine Protection Services space and in the Bird Island Marine Protected Area (MPA).

In the interest of balancing and sustaining our country's development, we must ensure that we address the effects of humanity's footprint on our planet. We are daily witnessing the effects of some unsustainable development with the most important evidence in this regard being the changing climate.

To enable the country to build an effective response to climate change, the role of the South African Weather Service (SAWS) has been invaluable. The SAWS has expanded its service and product delivery to support adaptation to climate change, and its researchers continue to do sterling work in the fields of agro and hydro meteorology.

Significant enhancements have been made to the SAWS long range forecasting systems through the addition of two new Global Climate Models (GCM's). These models were consistent in their projections of the drought that has gripped our country.

In November last year, SAWS launched an online rainfall management application known as HydroNet. This application gives the user easy access to information on water availabity, monitors rainfall information in real-time, and provides rainfall predictions.

This is just one of the many useful tools produced by SAWS that can assist decision-makers  on critical decisions around the country's development, especially as this relates to human health, public safety, and food and water security.

Rhino poaching

I would like to turn now to the rhino poaching situation.

By the end of 2015, rhino poaching figures had relatively stabilized. We attribute this preliminary success to the Integrated Strategic Management Approach involving the various relevant government departments, our private sector partners and stakeholders, the local and international donor community, as well as South Africans from all walks of life.

In this regard, I would like to recognize in particular, the hard work done by all our people and Rangers on the ground.  We also thank the hardworking officials in the criminal justice system - from investigators, to prosecutors to magistrates for an increase in the number of arrests and successful convictions for rhino poaching.

Cooperation with neighboring countries continues to play a role in the implementation of the Integrated Strategic Management of Rhinoceros, approved by Cabinet in 2014.

We have enhanced cooperation with Mozambique, and have interacted at the highest level through two Presidential visits as well as at ministerial level.

As part of the Integrated Strategic Management approach, during 2016, we plan to conduct anti-poaching awareness campaigns in a number of East Asian countries.

Cabinet had appointed an Inter-Ministerial Committee to provide guidance relating to the possibility of proposing a legal, regulated, commercial international trade in rhino horn to the Convention on International trade in Endangered Species (CITES) COP17.

Flowing from a Committee of Inquiry Report, considered by the Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) that was further tabled and ratified by Cabinet in April 2016, a decision was made as follows;

To implement the following minimum requirements that will create an environment conducive for rhino conservation in South Africa and effectively address rhino poaching and the illegal trade in rhino horn, namely:

  • The adoption and implementation of the National Integrated Strategy to Combat Wildlife Trafficking;
  • Community empowerment, including the development, adoption and implementation of a Community Empowerment Plan;
  • Biological management, including the adoption of an African rhino range States African Rhino Conservation Action Plan;
  • Responsive legislative provisions that are effectively implemented and enforced, including incentives to rhino owners to support continued investment in the conservation of rhino; and
  • Demand management, including information gathering to enhance our knowledge about demand for rhino horn and identifying the most effective interventions to manage demand.

Based on the Cabinet decision, South Africa will not be applying for the opening of a legal, international commercial trade in rhino horn at this coming CITES 17th Conference of the Parties to the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES COP17) which will be hosted in South Africa from 24 September to 5 October 2016.

COP17 will be preceded by a high-level Ministerial meeting on 23rd September 2016 to discuss the role of CITES in advancing Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development and the SDG's, especially as this relates to conservation.

This important event will afford our country an opportunity to showcase its rich biodiversity and sustainable use management practices which has resulted in South Africa being one of the most successful conservation countries today.

In addition, South Africa will demonstrate its commitment in the utilization of its natural resources in contributing to socio-economic development of poor and rural communities as part of the development agenda of government.

To ensure Africa’s unity at the upcoming CoP17, the Africa Group preparatory meeting will take place prior to the Conference.

A total of R15.2m has been allocated to enhance South Africa’s legacy programme of the 17th CoP to CITES and beyond. This includes the establishment the Youth and Conservation Programme that will ensure the mobilization and formal integration of the youth in conservation and the biodiversity economy initiatives.

Conclusion

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Twenty years ago, the late former President Nelson Mandela signed into law the Constitution of the new South Africa: laying the foundations for a democratic and open society in which government is based on the will of the people, and in which every citizen is equally protected by law.

Our National Development Plan (NDP) revolves around citizens being active in development, led by a capable and developmental state.

As we mark twenty years since our Constitution was signed into law, and with it, the explicit recognition of the rights of current and future generations to a clean environment - we are optimistic as ever.

Energized by this strong legal and regulatory regime that puts the environment at the cornerstone of development, let us continue to work together to realize the vision of a cleaner, greener South Africa.

I thank you!

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