Launch of the Department of Environment and Nature Conservation Website

ADDRESS BY MEC SYLVIA LUCAS, AT THE LAUNCH OF THE WEBSITE OF THE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENT AND NATURE CONSERVATION
14 SEPTEMBER 2010

Programme Director
My Colleague, MEC Mabilo
Executive Mayor, Patrick Everyday
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

Programme Director, The launch of the Department’s website today is more than a mere embracement of Information, Communication Technology (ICT). I have over years come to understand that information equals knowledge and that knowledge equals power. The realisation and the launch of this new website is a clear demonstration of the department’s commitment to provide a quality service to all its stakeholders.

To address our communication information and empowerment challenges, the Department identified the website as a critical component of our marketing communication mix to communicate with our clients, stakeholders and the public in general, provincially, nationally and internationally, to inform them of the latest information in our portfolio, our services and obligations, in order to empower them to share in a better work-life for all.

I am therefore indeed filled with joy this morning because of the potential this achievement has in assisting the Department to communicate better, and to serve our clients more effectively. It has become fashionable in our day and time to be able to refer people to one’s website and thus indicate that your organisation is part of the technologically advanced.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Northern Cape covers 27 percent of the land surface of South Africa, and that we are endowed with unique flora and fauna, some found nowhere else on earth. These natural gems must be preserved and protected for future generations. Spreading environmental awareness is a tool which must be engaged in our efforts to preserve and the digital medium must be exploited in our attempts.
The website brings with it the ability to exchange research amongst the scientific community. Once inter-active the public will be able to make permit applications on line, so saving much time, money and frustration.

It also contains a special section where the public can inter-act with the Member of the Executive Council (MEC) and I would urge users to make full use of this service. What‘s more is that it will also include a template of the MECs budget pronouncements and calendar of activities where the public can monitor the progress of our undertakings.
Other features of this website will include the MECs speeches; the departments’ plans and policies as well as links to sister departments and the Premier’s Office.

Programme Director, we are extremely glad to see so many of our eco-schools present here today for we plan to in future, involve the eco-schools and the enviro-clubs on this website by publishing their activities. Career opportunities will also be show-cased as well as which study bursaries are available.
The need to involve all sectors of the community in environmental affairs has never been greater. We will be giving each of the school representatives here today, a tree to plant at their schools in celebration of Arbor Month. The trees will also serve as a commitment from our side to in time plant trees at each of their schools. We in this department strongly believe that environmental education starts at school level and will do all in our power to firmly establish the love and appreciation for nature at this level. We are fully in agreement with the Portfolio Committee on Environment Affairs who want the number of schools taking part in the programme increased. In the end, however, school participation depends on the individual school and we can merely urge them to be involved.

Likewise, the involvement of the general public in environment affairs cannot be over-emphasized. We the adults are the custodians of this inheritance of our children and it is particularly relevant that today’s activities are taking part during heritage month.
So too it is significant that we are celebrating this occasion at the Flamingo Casino, which in many respects have led Kimberley’s business community in environmental matters. As we have heard they have used the waste generated from its restaurants to develop a vermi-culture centre, which produces organic compost for its gardens.

To the General Manager of this establishment, Mr Peter Guthrie, we wish to thank you for striving for a healthy and sustainable environment.
Programme Director, as I rode into Kimberley from Upington yesterday morning I was once again shocked at the state of littering of the area near the Kimberley landfill area or should I say Kimberley dump.

To say I was appalled is to put it mildly. Mister Mayor, I was somewhat relieved later when I was informed that high level discussions are taking place between province, the municipality and overseas donors to have this eyesore removed and replaced with an ultra-modern facility, which will place high priority on recycling. I believe Mister Mayor that you are personally involved and that if all negotiations are successful we can expect to have signed proposals and funding available soon.

Perhaps, I should remind this gathering that more than 100 tons of refuse is removed from the CBD weekly and cleaning ladies collect more than 1150 filled black bags in this period. The time has come to engage our collective minds on how to tackle this nagging problem.
The answer, I believe, is partnership. The department seeks partnership with the municipalities, local communities and the private sector in its operations at this level. That is the only way we are likely to achieve a clean and healthy environment at local level.We must be prepared to sacrifice by assisting in anti-litter initiatives and be involved in the greening of residential areas.

We must volunteer in the spirit of Letsema/Vukuzenzele (We must stand-up and be of assistance). We must be counted as environmental activists.
Kimberley boasts hundreds of brightly painted refuse bins in its CBD. Yet people still tend to throw their rubbish next to the bins or in the streets.
Our communities must take charge of their own areas. Let us form smaller committees in our municipal wards and tackle our own situations. Our clean environment is not the sole responsibility of the local authority.

A clean general atmosphere and clean water supply loses its shine, however, if the immediate surroundings constitute mounds of rotting garbage or litter blowing in the wind. It is shocking to note that many of us are guilty of littering and simply not caring.

The environment has for many years been at the bottom of the priority list of many people, yet it is the one and only source of our livelihood.

In this Heritage Month let me remind us all that we must work towards a society where all people have sufficient food, clean air and water, homes and green spaces in their neighborhood enabling them to live in spiritual, cultural and physical harmony with their natural surroundings.

Programme Director, ladies and gentlemen, in conclusion I wish to thank and congratulate everyone involved in bringing us together today to the launch of our website. We will continue to serve all our target audiences with the necessary information in order to empower them to share in a better work-life for all.

I now have the pleasure to officially launch the website of the Department of Environment and Nature Conservation.

Our website address is denc.ncpg.gov.za

I thank you.

Mail Us

Office of the Premier 
Private Bag X5016 
Kimberley 
8301

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