THUMA MINA FOR SOUTH AFRICA’S SUS­TAIN­ABIL­ITY

Public Sector Manager - - Youth Special -

The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs’ bud­get for the 2018/2019 fi­nan­cial year is an af­fir­ma­tion of the com­mit­ment to meet­ing our coun­try’s de­vel­op­men­tal needs, trans­form­ing and grow­ing our econ­omy, creat­ing jobs and con­serv­ing our en­vi­ron­ment, says the Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Dr Edna Molewa.

This was sup­ported by Deputy En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Min­is­ter, Ms Bar­bara Thom­son, who added that con­ser­va­tion of the en­vi­ron­ment should play an im­por­tant role in work­ing to im­prove the lives of all South Africans.

“With­out the sus­tain­able use of our rich and abun­dant nat­u­ral re­sources, we will dec­i­mate our en­vi­ron­ment – an act that will be to the detri­ment of hu­mankind,” said Ms Thom­son.

The gov­ern­ment has pri­ori­tised at­tract­ing in­vest­ment into the South African econ­omy. From an en­vi­ron­men­tal per­spec­tive, the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs’ man­date is to fa­cil­i­tate an eco­nomic growth path that is eq­ui­table, in­clu­sive, sus­tain­able and en­vi­ron­men­tally sound.

THE BUD­GET VOTE

On 17 May 2018, Min­is­ter Molewa and Deputy Min­is­ter Thom­son de­liv­ered the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs’ Bud­get Vote speech in the Na­tional Assem­bly.

De­liv­er­ing her ad­dress, Dr Molewa said the en­vi­ron­men­tal sec­tor con­tin­ues to be a source and fa­cil­i­ta­tor of in­vest­ment, job cre­ation, en­trepreneur­ship and skills de­vel­op­ment – in line with the key ob­jec­tives of the Na­tional De­vel­op­ment Plan (NDP).

A three-pronged strate­gic ap­proach has been adopted to fa­cil­i­tate the gov­ern­ment’s long-term rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion goals. Th­ese in­clude the Phak­isa Strate­gic Ap­proach, the En­vi­ron­men­tal Jus­tice Strat­egy and an Econ­omy-wide Ser­vice De­liv­ery Strate­gic Ap­proach.

“Our ap­proach cen­tres on seiz­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties pre­sented by the tran­si­tion to a low car­bon econ­omy,” said the Min­is­ter. “All of our ac­tions have be­come all the more im­per­a­tive within the con­text of an ever-chang­ing cli­mate. The in­creas­ing fre­quency and in­ten­sity of ex­treme weather

events around South Africa – from flash flood­ing in some parts of the coun­try to dev­as­tat­ing drought in other parts – tells us that cli­mate change has long be­come a mea­sur­able re­al­ity.”

CLI­MATE CHANGE

South Africa’s sign­ing of the Paris Agree­ment to com­bat cli­mate change is an ac­knowl­edge­ment that this is a problem re­quir­ing a global ef­fort. The coun­try con­tin­ues to play an ac­tive role on the in­ter­na­tional stage by par­tic­i­pat­ing in a num­ber of key mul­ti­lat­eral en­vi­ron­men­tal agree­ments and their as­so­ci­ated ne­go­ti­a­tions.

In ad­di­tion to the fi­nalised Na­tional Cli­mate Change Adap­ta­tion Strat­egy, a draft Cli­mate Change Bill to pro­vide ef­fec­tive na­tional re­sponse for both mit­i­ga­tion and adap­ta­tion ac­tion has been de­vel­oped.

Phase One of the Green­house Gas Emis­sion Re­duc­tion Sys­tem is be­ing im­ple­mented, with car­bon bud­gets al­ready al­lo­cated to most of the sig­nif­i­cant emit­ters. The Depart­ment is work­ing to­wards Phase Two and is con­fi­dent that, once im­ple­mented, the sys­tem will sup­port the coun­try’s tran­si­tion to a low car­bon econ­omy.

Min­is­ter Molewa said as the coun­try pur­sues a path of sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment, a reg­u­la­tory sys­tem that is both stream­lined and ef­fec­tive is es­sen­tial, to make it eas­ier to do busi­ness in South Africa as well as to at­tract much­needed in­vest­ment.

2018 marks the 20th an­niver­sary of the adop­tion of the En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact Assess­ment (EIA) as a tool to ad­vance sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. Since adop­tion, the pro­cesses linked to ob­tain­ing an EIA have been sim­pli­fied and ra­tio­nalised to al­low for greater reg­u­la­tory ef­fi­ciency as well as faster turn­around time. To ad­vance and fast­track en­vi­ron­men­tal au­tho­ri­sa­tions for key in­fra­struc­ture projects, the Depart­ment is con­tin­u­ing to un­der­take strate­gic en­vi­ron­men­tal assess­ments (SEAs) up­front.

Dr Molewa pointed out South Africa is one of the top in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tions glob­ally for re­new­able en­ergy and, over the past fi­nan­cial year, SEAs have been

con­ducted for re­new­able en­ergy, shale gas and elec­tric­ity grid in­fra­struc­ture. Work is also un­der­way on the Gas Pipe­line SEA. In the past fi­nan­cial year, in ex­cess of 53 828 megawatts of re­new­able en­ergy ap­pli­ca­tions, drawn from so­lar, wind, hy­dro, con­cen­trated so­lar and co-generation, were au­tho­rised.

Turn­ing to Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa, the Min­is­ter said the ini­tia­tive was launched in 2014 as a new ap­proach to en­able gov­ern­ment to im­ple­ment its poli­cies and pro­grammes bet­ter, faster and more ef­fec­tively; a model that al­lows the Depart­ment to in­te­grate its work for more ef­fec­tive out­comes. Since then, the Depart­ment has reg­is­tered no­table progress with re­gards to Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa Oceans Econ­omy, Chem­i­cals and Waste Phak­isa, and Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa Bio­di­ver­sity Economies.

THE MARINE EN­VI­RON­MENT

With re­gard to Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa Oceans Econ­omy, one of the high­lights has been the de­vel­op­ment of a Na­tional Guide­line To­wards the Es­tab­lish­ment of Coastal Man­age­ment Lines.

“This is in­tended to min­imise risks posed by short- and longterm coastal pro­cesses such as storm surges, ero­sion and sea-level rise,” said Dr Molewa.

A Na­tional Coastal Ac­cess Strat­egy is un­der de­vel­op­ment to pro­vide guid­ance around ac­cess for the pub­lic to closed-off beaches. In ad­di­tion, a re­view of the strate­gic plan on deal­ing with es­tu­ar­ies and a na­tional sta­tus quo assess­ment are be­ing con­ducted.

A Marine Spa­tial Plan­ning Frame­work had been fi­nalised and sub-re­gional Marine Spa­tial Man­age­ment Plans are be­ing de­vel­oped. The Marine Spa­tial Plan­ning Bill is in the process of be­ing ap­proved by Par­lia­ment and is ex­pected to be en­acted in the com­ing months.

“Marine pol­lu­tion is one of the big­gest chal­lenges we face to­day and threat­ens frag­ile ecosys­tems. South Africa has a num­ber of mea­sures in place to tackle this problem,” said the Min­is­ter.

In ad­di­tion, South Africa is among the coun­tries that have en­dorsed the United Na­tions En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­gramme’s Clean Seas Cam­paign, which aims to step up in­ter­na­tional, re­gional and na­tional ef­forts to com­bat marine lit­ter.

“In im­ple­ment­ing this cam­paign, the Depart­ment will be pilot­ing its Source to Sea ini­tia­tive to in­ves­ti­gate and com­bat in par­tic­u­lar plas­tic pol­lu­tion which threat­ens both fresh­wa­ter and marine ecosys­tems,” the Min­is­ter said.

Deputy Min­is­ter Thom­son said in her Bud­get Vote ad­dress that in the com­ing year, fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of coastal in­fra­struc­ture will be un­der­taken, in­clud­ing im­proved com­mu­nity ac­cess to the coast. Slip­ways or boat launch­ing sites will be con­structed to sup­port the newly per­mit­ted ar­eas for boat-based whale watch­ing and shark cage div­ing.

Ms Thom­son said new poli­cies on boat-based whale watch­ing and shark cage div­ing have been de­vel­oped to en­able par­tic­i­pa­tion by pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged peo­ple and change the sta­tus quo. “It seems that pre­vi­ous right­sh­old­ers be­lieve they have per­ma­nent right to ben­e­fit from boat-based whale watch­ing and shark cage div­ing ac­tiv­i­ties while ex­clud­ing the black and poor,” she said.

BIO­DI­VER­SITY

Ef­forts to im­ple­ment the Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa Bio­di­ver­sity Econ­omy have seen the de­vel­op­ment of a mul­ti­faceted ap­proach to the man­age­ment of the coun­try’s rich nat­u­ral her­itage – one that fo­cuses on an in­clu­sive value-chain ap­proach to the de­vel­op­ment of the bio­di­ver­sity econ­omy.

“In line with the Pres­i­dent’s in­vest­ment drive, we will be launch­ing the Bio­di­ver­sity Econ­omy In­vest­ment Cat­a­logue, which pro­files in­vest­ment-ready bio­di­ver­sity econ­omy projects,” Dr Molewa. “Our plans for the 2018/2019 fi­nan­cial year in­clude in­creas­ing the sup­ply

of indige­nous species by adding at least 500 hectares of land to be cul­ti­vated with high-value species. This will be com­ple­mented by on­go­ing im­ple­men­ta­tion of a game do­na­tion and cus­to­di­an­ship pol­icy frame­work.”

The Deputy Min­is­ter said the en­vi­ron­men­tal sec­tor is ide­ally placed to in­crease the own­er­ship per­cent­age of black women, youth and com­mu­ni­ties in the econ­omy by iden­ti­fy­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties as­so­ci­ated with the sus­tain­able use of the coun­try’s di­verse range of nat­u­ral re­sources or bio­di­ver­sity.

“We recog­nise bio­di­ver­sity as a ba­sis for trans­for­ma­tion and sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment. The Depart­ment has com­menced with plans to trans­form two sub-sec­tors of the bio­di­ver­sity econ­omy, that is: the wildlife and bio­prospect­ing sec­tors within the am­bit of the Na­tional Bio­di­ver­sity Econ­omy Strat­egy (NBES) and im­ple­men­ta­tion plan,” she said.

“We are work­ing together with other stake­hold­ers within the sec­tor to iden­tify 10 mil­lion hectares of suit­able land for par­tic­i­pa­tion of pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties as own­ers of sus­tain­able wildlife-based busi­ness ven­tures.”

Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa Chem­i­cals and Waste have also ad­dressed en­vi­ron­men­tal jus­tice mat­ters such as air qual­ity.

THE CIR­CU­LAR ECON­OMY

The Min­is­ter em­pha­sised that the waste sec­tor re­mains the most im­por­tant emerg­ing con­trib­u­tor to the generation of jobs in the green econ­omy. “In this sec­tor we are work­ing to for­malise the waste pick­ers. We are also ad­vanc­ing our ef­forts to im­ple­ment a cir­cu­lar econ­omy ap­proach, which sees the de­cou­pling of ma­te­rial and the de­vel­op­ment of re­source ef­fi­ciency from eco­nomic growth, while deal­ing with waste­ful pat­terns of pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion,” she said. Dr Molewa pointed out that the Re­cy­cling En­ter­prise Sup­port Pro­gramme (RESP) pro­vides de­vel­op­men­tal fund­ing for projects in the form of start-up grants. Th­ese projects are either start-up or pre-ex­ist­ing en­ter­prises es­tab­lish­ing buy-back cen­tres, ma­te­rial re­cov­ery fa­cil­i­ties, con­struc­tion and de­mol­ish­ing so­lu­tions, and plas­tic pal­leti­sa­tion plants in line with the Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa ini­tia­tives. This has been al­lo­cated a bud­get of R194 mil­lion over a three-year pe­riod. The Na­tional Waste Man­age­ment Strat­egy (NWMS) is be­ing reviewed for the third time to in­clude the gov­ern­ment’s com­mit­ments to waste min­imi­sa­tion and the fur­ther de­vel­op­ment of the cir­cu­lar econ­omy. The re­view will also con­sider the ca­pac­ity or re­source im­pli­ca­tions for the im­ple­men­ta­tion of waste man­age­ment func­tions. Dr Molewa said a plas­tic ma­te­rial study has been un­der­taken in col­lab­o­ra­tion with in­dus­try, the South African Bureau of Stan­dards, the Na­tional Reg­u­la­tor for Com­pul­sory Spec­i­fi­ca­tions, the Na­tional Trea­sury and the Depart­ment of Health. “We are con­sult­ing with the cos­met­ics in­dus­try to phase out the use of mi­crobeads in cos­met­ics,” she said, adding that the Depart­ment, together with the Depart­ment of Trade and In­dus­try, its agen­cies and Na­tional Trea­sury, “will also be re­view­ing the im­pact of the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the plas­tic bag poli­cies”. The Depart­ment is con­tin­u­ing to work with the pack­ag­ing sec­tor (pa­per, glass, plas­tic and metal) to in­crease the cur­rent 58 per­cent of waste di­verted from land­fills.

SUS­TAIN­ABLE DE­VEL­OP­MENT

Ms Thom­son said in or­der to ad­dress cli­mate chan­g­ere­lated ef­fects, the Depart­ment has rolled out a num­ber of en­vi­ron­men­tal pro­grammes. In the 2017/2018 fi­nan­cial year, th­ese pro­grammes re­sulted in the cre­ation of 71 948 work op­por­tu­ni­ties and 28 243 full­time equiv­a­lents (FTEs). More than 60% of the pro­gramme par­tic­i­pants were young peo­ple and women. A to­tal of 140 wet­lands have been re­ha­bil­i­tated as part of the Work­ing for Wa­ter ef­fort to achieve the goal of land degra­da­tion neu­tral­ity in South Africa, 56 660 hectares of land have been placed un­der rehabilitation and/or restora­tion, and ini­tial treat­ment has been pro­vided to

171 198 hectares of land in­vaded by in­va­sive alien plants. The Depart­ment has been un­der­tak­ing fol­low-up treat­ment on 601 944 hectares of land.

THE YOUTH AND THE EN­VI­RON­MENT

The Deputy Min­is­ter em­pha­sised the im­por­tance of pro­grammes be­ing un­der­taken by the Depart­ment and its en­ti­ties, in­clud­ing the South African Na­tional Bio­di­ver­sity In­sti­tute (SANBI), to ed­u­cate the youth about the en­vi­ron­ment. The Depart­ment’s Youth Em­ploy­ment Pro­gramme is be­ing im­ple­mented in part­ner­ship with mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties wherein young peo­ple are placed at lo­cal gov­ern­ment to ful­fil en­vi­ron­men­tal func­tions like waste man­age­ment, airqual­ity mon­i­tor­ing, green­ing of schools and main­te­nance of recre­ational parks. Youth em­ployed in this pro­gramme will be trained and men­tored to en­able them to con­trib­ute to the much-needed pro­vi­sion of ba­sic ser­vices.

A mass train­ing pro­gramme for youth is also un­der­way to im­prove their skills with ac­cred­ited en­vi­ron­men­tal train­ing cour­ses and sup­port pro­grammes tar­get­ing

15 000 can­di­dates.

Ms Thom­son said civil so­ci­ety and busi­ness should come on board to pro­tect all peo­ple against a chang­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

“Our fo­cus on the youth will be scaled up to through ed­u­ca­tion and skills de­vel­op­ment. Th­ese are the mem­bers of our so­ci­ety that will guide the way we live in fu­ture. We are work­ing with mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, prov­inces, pub­lic en­ti­ties, sci­ence coun­cils and stake­hold­ers in the en­vi­ron­men­tal sec­tor to make this pos­si­ble,” said Ms Thom­son.

KEEP SOUTH AFRICA CLEAN

Min­is­ter Molewa said in re­sponse to the Pres­i­den­tial Thuma Mina ini­tia­tive, the Depart­ment will be launch­ing the Keep South Africa Clean cam­paign to mo­bilise ev­ery cit­i­zen to be­come en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious.

“We want to see a South Africa free of lit­ter and il­le­gal dump­ing. The main pur­pose of this cam­paign is to change at­ti­tudes and be­hav­iour to­wards waste – and en­able peo­ple to take re­spon­si­bil­ity for keep­ing their com­mu­ni­ties clean,” she said. “Con­serv­ing the en­vi­ron­ment is not the re­spon­si­bil­ity of gov­ern­ment alone: we all need to play our part.”

The Min­is­ter en­cour­aged all sec­tors of so­ci­ety to join hands to Keep South Africa Clean.

Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs, Mrs Edna Molewa cleaning the streets of Khayelit­sha dur­ing one of the clean-up cam­paigns by the Depart­ment. Im­age by Tshego Letshwiti.

Min­is­ter Molewa do­nated 10 ze­bras and 20 har­te­beest to launch the Dou­ble Drift Wildlife Econ­omy Project on 07 March 2018 in the Eastern Cape. The project em­pha­sises the need for trans­for­ma­tion of the bio­di­ver­sity econ­omy sec­tor, mak­ing it in­clu­sive of pre­vi­ously dis­ad­van­taged com­mu­ni­ties. Im­age by Veron­ica Mahlaba

The waste sec­tor re­mains the most im­por­tant emerg­ing con­trib­u­tor to the generation of jobs in the green econ­omy.

South Africa has a num­ber of mea­sures in place to tackle marine pol­lu­tion, and was among the coun­tries to have en­dorsed the UN En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­gramme’s Clean Seas Cam­paign. Im­age by Paul Sigutya.

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