Modern, Growing, Successful Province

2019 DENC Budget Speech

Honourable Speaker Mme Newrene Klaaste
Deputy Speaker Rre Mangaliso Matika
Motlotlegi Tonakgolo, Dr. Zamani Saul
Members of the Executive Council     
The Chief Whip of the ruling party, Rre Neo Samuel Maneng
Honourable members of the provincial legislature
Burgermeesters en Raadslede van verskulennde munisipaliteite
Struggle Veterans of our glorious movement
Esteemed Traditional Leaders present    
Heads of Departments and Senior Government Officials
Representatives of Civil Society
Representatives of our key stakeholders and partners
Members of the Media
Comrades and Friends
People of the Northern Cape

Bagaetsho Dumelang,
It is an honour to table before this house today the last Budget Vote for the Department of Environment and Nature Conservation, which has recently been merged with the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development.

Madam Speaker, today’s presentation is inspired by the recent World Day to Combat Desertification event held in Warrenton.
At the event, primary school pupils were given the opportunity to debate around the issues related to Desertification, Land Degradation and the effects of Drought (DLDD) in our Province.

The topic itself, reminded me of the famous words by Fidel Castro while at the 1992 U.N. Rio Earth Summit; (I quote)
“Tomorrow will be too late to do what we should have done a long time ago. Let human life become more rational. Let us implement a just international economic order. Let us use all the science necessary for pollution-free, sustained development. Let us pay the ecological debt, and not the foreign debt. Let hunger disappear, and not mankind.” Close quote.

Our Children spoke at length about adult’s inaction to address the irreversible risks and dangers that Land Degradation pose to their future, echoing the sentiment of one of the most reliable, realistic and true leaders of our immediate past.

With its severe impacts on the poorest of the poor, the young people insisted that Land Degradation is a significant problem for the Northern Cape, threatening not only ecological integrity, but the well-being of our people.

Honourable Members, Desertification, Land Degradation and the effects of Drought occur when the economic and biological productivity of land is lost, primarily through human activities. This can happen when:

  • Fertile soils erode away;
  • Indigenous trees are removed;
  • Farm land is used for housing;
  • Soils become salty through poor irrigation,
  • Soils are degraded by acid pollution and heavy metal contamination.

The loss of productive land obviously affects farming and rural communities. As the land degrades, more fertiliser, machinery and supplementary feeds are needed and the cost of production increases.

Small-scale subsistence farmers are often unable to meet extra costs, whist commercial farming becomes impossible.

Hence, we are reminded by Mahatma Gandhi, when he said;
 “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” (Close code)

Madam Speaker, our Province is severely affected by the impacts of Land Degradation which in turn impact on food and water security.

Our children have made it clear that the extent and severity of Land Degradation, combined with negative effects of climate change, population growth and an ever-increasing demand for natural resources requires immediate and assertive action.

According to our Children, addressing Desertification would therefore contribute to eradicating poverty whilst ensuring food security for a growing population. 

Because we are a caring Government, that listens to its people, Government has agreed to a wide range of concrete commitments and targets for action to achieve more effective implementation of sustainable development objectives.

These commitments include poverty eradication, promotion of renewable energy and access to energy, management of the natural resource base, protection of biodiversity, and new measures for promoting sustainable development.

Madam Speaker, our Government has developed and reviewed the National Action Programme (NAP), which is a strategy to mitigate Desertification and Land Degradation in the country as well as to alleviate rural poverty.

As such, programmes for combating Land Degration in general and sustainable land management in particular are key to the country’s conservation and development agenda.

These programmes include; Working for Land, Working for Water, Working on Fire, Working for Wetlands, LandCare, Community Based Natural Resource Management, People and Parks, Desert Margins Programme and other national and trans-boundary initiatives.

The overall objective of these programmes is to optimise productivity and sustainability of natural resources so as to result in greater productivity, food security, job creation and better quality of life for all.

ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY PLANNING AND COORDINATION – IS ALLOCATED   R12, 243mil
Madam Speaker; the research topics that were covered during the financial year 2018/19 included continuation of vegetation monitoring to assess veld conditions; and the resource assessments to determine the carrying capacity of wildlife in all provincial nature reserves. 

The results of the studies informed a proper decision making in terms of game removal and better biodiversity management. 

For this financial year the department is continuing with the improvement of game farm management in the Province.

The department is conducting a research to develop a wildlife management model which intends to be a tool to determine the game species best suited for introduction or keeping on different properties or areas and further assist in the long-term management of these game species in fenced off areas.

Honourable Speaker, for this financial year 2019/20, about 22 out of 31 IDP’s were received from COGHSTA, 12 out of the 16 IDPs that were analyzed received an above average rating.

The Department is in the process of analyzing municipal Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) on the quantity and quality of environmental content.

Through the analysis and appraisal of Integrated Development Plans (IDP) of the Municipalities in the Province could not be completed due to capacity constraints, concerted efforts have been made to support municipalities to integrate environmental content into the IDP’s through air quality forum and other stakeholder engagements.

COMPLIANCE AND ENFORCEMENT- IS ALLOCATED R10,505million

Madam Speaker, in the last financial year, as part of the Departments Compliance Promotion initiatives, we committed to the implementation of a Sewage Monitoring Project in the Sol Plaatje local municipality.
However, due to the instability in the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality, the Project was only rolled out in February of this year.

About 12 Sewage Monitors were appointed for an 8 months period. The Project has been implemented in Galeshewe, Green Point, Beaconsfield, Roodepan, Ritchie, Delportshoop, Florianville, Pampierstad and Barkley West.

To date, 421 manholes have been inspected and were found to be overflowing. One of the outcomes of the monitoring process is the realisation that poor waste management practices are being implemented.

Sanitary pads, artificial hair pieces, used household fat and baby wipes are disposed of in toilets, thereby leading to continued drain blockages. We have realised that our communities need more awareness in the manner in which their waste must be managed.

Madam Speaker, appreciating the dire financial situation the Province finds itself in, in the previous financial year, an amount of R483 000 was raised in fines for the undertaking of illegal activities. To date, in this financial year, we have already raised fines in the tune of R 180 000 for the undertaking of illegal activities and we hope that we will be in a position to perform in such a way that the Provincial fiscus gets a much-needed boost.

In his maiden State of the Province Address, Premier Zamani Saul highlighted the protection of the environment as a priority. To this end, we will intensify our efforts in ensuring that our environment is adequately protected.

As part of the implementation of Operation Phakisa Oceans Economy, the Compliance and Enforcement Programme is a stakeholder in the Marine and Governance Lab.

In conjunction with the South African Police Services, the South African National, Department of Environment, Fisheries and Forestry, South African Revenue Services, Home Affairs, State Security Agency and other stake holders, we will be continuing with the undertaking of Operations along the Namakwa coastline.

Compliance and enforcement will seek to create and maintain an environment conducive to economic growth, including tourism initiatives. 

An amount of R 250 000 has been set aside for the above-mentioned efforts.

Madam Speaker, to date, one operation, from 17th to 19th June 2019 has been undertaken. It is important to inform this august house that no environmental infringements were picked up. The decline in non-compliances can be attributed to the coordinated efforts by all stakeholders involved in Operation Phakisa to make the concept a success.

Local developmental state remains the cornerstone of service delivery and in terms of Outcome 10, support to Local Municipalities is a strategic priority.

In support of the above, the Department is in the process of finalising the designation of 12 Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) from the Pixley ka Seme and ZF Mgcawu District Municipalities as Environmental Management Inspectors.

The designation will assist the EHPs to undertake compliance monitoring and enforcement activities to enforce environmental laws within their sphere of influence.

As part of its compliance monitoring initiatives, the Department will focus on poor air quality management in the Tsantsabane and Joe Morolong Local Municipalities.
The communities residing along those mining corridors have complained of excessive mining dust pollution, a situation which needs to be reined in before it gets out of hand.

Honourable Members, the Department will also be focusing on the monitoring of Alien and Invasive species and will additionally be monitoring facilities where predators (lions and crocodiles) are kept in captivity.

Madam Speaker, from the 09th to the 12th of September 2019, the Province will be hosting a gathering of compliance and enforcement officials from in and around the country and the African continent as a whole.

The 8th Annual Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Lekgotla, is to be held at the Mittah Seperepere Convention Centre, it is an annual event bringing together international, national, provincial and local officials who are involved in environmental compliance and enforcement to discuss topics of common interest, to develop capacity, to make recommendations and to develop strategies to tackle the challenges facing the environmental compliance and enforcement sector.

ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY MANAGEMENT- IS ALLOCATED R13 751mil
Environmental Impact Assessment:

Madam Speaker: The department commits itself to improve towards 100% of the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) received and finalized within the legislative timeframe.

The department will continue to engage with external stakeholders to ensure that an effective and efficient service is delivered to prevent any delays with regard to issuing of EIA’s.

Air Quality Management:
Madam Speaker: In the 2018/19 financial year, Department of Environment and Nature Conservation managed to achieve the following commitments as mentioned in the previous budget speech namely;

  • Two (2) continuous monitors were purchased for the province. One was placed in Springbok and the other one in Kimberley.
  • The province was once again the best performer in the country with regard to the industries and mining sector reporting their emissions within the legislative timeframe to the National Emissions Atmospheric Information System (NEAIS)
  • The province also hosted a very successful Air Quality Lekgotla, which came to the province for the first time.
  • All Air Emission licenses received were processed and finalized within the legislative timeframes.

Honourable Members, with regard to Air Quality Management the department will continue to expand the continuous monitoring network throughout the province.

This involves the purchasing of an additional two (2) continuous monitoring stations at a cost of R500 000.

The purpose of having this monitoring throughout the province is, firstly, to have scientifically correct information on what is the quality of the ambient air within the province.

Secondly, it also allows for other departments to do better planning with regard to the placing of industries and other developments. The monitors do monitor of Sulphur dioxide, Nitrogen Oxide, Ozone and Particular Matter (PM 2.5 and PM 10). Currently all monitoring is within the prescribed limits.

To ensure that all air pollution sources are managed effectively the department will continue to implement the Provincial Air Quality Management Plan so as to ensure the pollution standards are not exceeded.

Honourable Members, special attention will be given to the air quality in the Postmasburg and Joe Morolong areas has several complaints have been received from these areas.

The department will also continue to ensure that we remain a leader with regard to our mines and industries reporting their emissions to the National Emissions Atmospheric Information System within legislative timeframes.

The monitoring of indoor air quality of low-income communities will continue as it is important that our low income become less dependent on fossil fuels and more reliant on renewable fuels. This transition will also have a positive impact on the health of our communities.

Pollution and Waste Management:
Madam Speaker, the department was able to achieve the following commitments in the 2018/ 19 financial year;

The department assisted two BEE recyclers one in Upington and the other in Kimberley with four (4) skips each. The purpose of providing these skips was to increase the recyclers potential to collect more recyclable waste before it goes to landfill.

By doing this, it increases the income of the recycler making them a sustainable business.

The department also upgraded the Kenhardt landfill to bring it into compliance with the license’s conditions.

The department also hosted the first ever Provincial Greenest Town Competition, although only nine (9) municipalities participated. The winner was the Dawid Kruiper Municipality.

In the 2019/20 financial year the department will continue to support recycling initiatives, so that they remain sustainable, create jobs and assist in cleaning the environment.

The department has set aside an amount of R100 000 to support two recycling businesses within the province.

Honourable Members, one (1) landfill site, namely, Bergsig will be upgraded to comply with the license conditions of that particular site.

Should there be a saving from this project an additional site will be upgraded.

The upgrades will include the fencing of the site, construction of trenches, a guard house and training for all officials within the waste sector of that particular municipality.

The estimate cost of this project is R 200 000.

The greenest town competition will continue to be yearly competition for municipalities to participate in. The purpose of the competition is to determine which municipality has the best waste collection and disposal system and has implemented green technologies within their operational systems.

The prize money for the 2019/2020 financial year is as follows

  • 1 Prize is R150 000.00,
  • 2 Prize is R80 000 and
  • 3 Prize is R 50 000
  • The most improved municipality will receive an amount of R25 000

The department would like to encourage all municipalities to participate in this year’s competition.

The Department is looking at the possibility of establishing a secondary industry within the recycling sector. Currently an estimated eight (8) interlink trucks of recyclable waste is transported out of the province every week to another province thus creating jobs in that province.

If the province was to convert its own recyclable waste into a specific product, new jobs would be created and the local economy would be stimulated and several spin off opportunities would be created.

Honourable Members, the Department has no funding to remediate secondary asbestos contamination within the province.

Although the feasibility study was completed in May 2019 for the removal of asbestos roofs the department has to secure funding from treasury to implement this project.

The only asbestos project planned for the province this year is the remediation of a 10km piece of road in Prieska and will be funded by the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

The Department will establish a Provincial Asbestos Steering Committee between all sector departments so to coordinate asbestos activities within the province.

The National Department of Environment has chosen the Northern Cape Province to host the Waste Khoro and Asbestos Summit in September 2019. The Waste Khoro serves as a platform where all officials from all over the country, who are involved with waste management come together to discuss ways to improve waste management and to share best practices.

This platform also gives companies the opportunity to exhibit new technologies on the market for waste management and recycling initiatives.  The Waste Khoro is scheduled to take place from the 18th to the 20th September 2019 in Kimberley. 

The Premier’s Clean - Up Campaign which is planned for the 21st of September 2019 will take place in Kimberley as a fitting closure to the Waste Khoro.

The department encourages officials from other departments to attend this national event.

The department has also allocated an amount R 100 000 to implement the Good Green Deeds program as launched by the President earlier in the year.

This program will entail extensive awareness campaigns together with clean - ups and actions to address the sewerage spillages within the community throughout the province this financial year.

Climate Change Management
Madam Speaker; the department was able to achieve the following goals within the 2018/19 financial year with a very limited budget;

  • The department was able to implement an agriculture smart project in a community in the JTG district. This project included the construction of tunnels for sustainable utilization of water from the wetland.
  • Solar lamps were also purchased to be distributed to communities

The department is in the process of arranging a Climate Change Summit. 

The purpose of the summit is to bring the Provincial sixth administration on board with regard to the progress made in terms of climate change planning and projects already implemented.

Also, to inform the decision makers on what policy direction South Africa will be focusing on at the Conference of the Parties (COP) at the end of the year.

The Department will also implement a climate change project to adapt to the impacts of climate change on the poor and vulnerable people of the province. The budget available for this project is R 250 000.

The Department will continue with the Provincial Climate Change Forum which is held every quarter between sector departments, NGO’s and the business community.

The Department will also increase its role as a provincial member of the disaster management committee so as to give guidance on what mitigation measures can be taken to reduce the impact of natural disasters.

Madam Speaker, it is an honour to announce that National World Ozone Day celebration is also planned to be hosted in Kimberley on the 16th September 2019. All departments and stakeholder are invited to part of these celebrations.  

BIODIVERSITY MANAGEMENT IS ALLOCATED- IS ALLOCATED R36 093mil
Transformation of the Wildlife Industry

Madam Speaker, the Department intends to intensify its mandate in terms of transforming the wildlife industry to specifically include black women and youth in the Province.

The Department will identify 10 black women who have a passion for the wildlife industry and give them the required training to understand the operations of running a business and ensuring the sustainability within the wildlife industry. Professional hunting training will also be offered to PDI’s interested in this industry. The game donation policy will also be reviewed in this financial year to make it more realistic and sustainable for the beneficiaries and avoid possible manipulation and syndicates.

Departmental Nature Reserves

Honourable Members, in order to increase visitors to our reserves, the Department will continue to market the reserves in the national holiday destination magazines on a quarterly basis- the budget allocated for this activity is R200 000.

The revenue generated from the five reserves managed by the department was R 494 624. 00 in the last financial year and there is an expectation of a slight increase within the 2019/20 financial year.

The department is also going to make the reserves more accessible to the local communities so that they can know and understand the value of protecting the environment and also to stimulate an interest in the youth to pursue a career in the environmental management or nature conservation field.

Twelve-month learnership

Madam Speaker, the department is proud to announce that in conjunction with African Global skills Academy, that a CATHSSETA funded learnership program is to be rolled out for the next 12 months on our reserves for 30 youth living near some of our reserves. The purpose of this learnership is to train the youth about the importance of conservation and what working on a nature reserve entails. Each leaner will also receive the required protective clothing and a monthly stipend.

ENVIRONMENTAL EMPOWERMENT (EPWP) SERVICES- IS ALLOCATED R12 561mil

Madam Speaker, in the current financial year, the department will be creating 313 short term job opportunities utilising its R2 million EPWP incentive grants.

Through these job opportunities 82 full time equivalent will be realised. 

Already 120 Jobs were created during the 1st quarter of the financial year on a short- term period through the EPWP projects

Cleaning and Greening

Madam Speaker, Cleaning and Greening in the province remain
 a compulsory activity and at least 10 green initiatives will be launched. With the green initiative this year the directorate will distribute 1200 Solar lights in Lerato Park (Jerusalem and Kanana).

In June this year, the first phase was rolled-out with 250 shacks having received Solar Lights.

People and Parks Programme

Madam Speaker, an amount of R50 000 is earmarked for three People and Parks Projects in this financial year.

This programme will be expanded this year by integrating surrounding communities into the national parks and reserves.

Eco Schools

Honourable Members, Eco Schools is a voluntary programme that enables schools to systematically integrate environmental matters into school activities and curriculum.

The aim of the program is to reach about 100 schools this year.
On Monday, the department will celebrate Arbor week here in Kimberley. The whole month of September, the department will distribute more than 300 trees across the Province.

Youth Employment Programme (YEP)

The department has 10 youth Learners for this financial year. Through the People and Parks Programme and War on Poverty referrals, 10 more youth will be prioritised in our Nature Reserve, on short-term basis for skills development programme through the EPWP.

In persuasion of altering the three stubborn fault lines in the economy, together with the National Department of Environmental Affairs and through the Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme (EPIP) the Province will implement projects which amongst others will focus on biodiversity economy, working for the Coast, developing public parks, establishment and upgrades of eco schools, People and Parks, Working for Land and revamping recreational facilities.

These projects will be rolled out at the local level throughout the province to the value of over R300 million for the period 2019 to 2023.

Conclusion

Madam Speaker, the underpinnings of our economy and our social fabric are facing unprecedented threats from Climate Change, environmental degradation and the loss of our biodiversity.

So far, we have been consistent on our call, to all spheres of government, business, organised labour and civil society to come together in a joint action to combat climate change, environmental degradation and the loss of biodiversity.

However, we are hopeful that, regardless of the challenges we are faced with,  the second draft of the Climate Change Legislation, which aims to create a framework to implement a just transition to a climate-resilient and lower-carbon economy and society, is currently being discussed and debated at National Economic Development and Labour Council (NEDLAC). 

Upon adoption, it will be cascaded down to Provinces for implementation.

The bill acknowledges that anthropogenic Climate Change represents an urgent threat to human societies and the environment, and requires an effective, progressive and well-coordinated response.

It is further highlighting that anticipated domestic climate change impacts have the potential to undermine the country’s development goals, and that responses to climate change raise unique challenges which require a legislative framework for the implementation of the country’s national climate change response.

Our people are worried about the ripple effect brought by Climate Change on issues of energy security, job losses and retrenchments.

This means that, while we debate the Climate Change Legislation, as a matter of necessity, also discuss the objectives and the process of the transition itself and ensure that it takes place in an orderly way.

Regardless of all the challenges, we will continue to put our people at the centre of the strategic direction and operations, in the way services are delivered and continuously improved to enhance performance and impact.

So far, we are prioritising the protection and sustainable use of our water resources as well as supporting waste management initiatives that provide jobs for local communities.

Honourable Members; time is now to take the lead and put a stop to Climate Change, as the former secretary of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon, once said: (I quote)

“We are the first generation to be able to end poverty, and the last generation that can take steps to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Future generations will judge us harshly if we fail to uphold our moral and historical responsibilities.” Close quote

Madam Speaker, last but not least, the merger of the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development with Department of Environment and Nature Conservation is at an advanced stage.

Regular meetings are being held to ensure smooth transition in to merged Department. These meetings serve to monitor the timely implementation of the action plan as prescribed.

Finally, let me also take this opportunity to thank my family for their understanding and support because they know that this cause is for the betterment of the people and the organization that I served and continue to serve selflessly.

Allow me to express appreciation to the Acting Head of Department, Mr. Mandla Ndzilili and the team he leads for their dedication and effort.

Let me also thank my dedicated team in the Ministry, led by Head of Ministry Mr. Kabelo Mohibidu, for their hard work and commitment.

I will also like to thank the communication team for going an extra mile and translating the summary of the Budget Vote speech in four different languages, namely, Setswana, IsiXhosa, Afrikaans and English. Next year, we hope to do translation in our indigenous languages.  

I hereby table the 2019/20 budget of the Department Environment and Nature Conservation for the consideration of this house.

I thank you.

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