The green econ­omy is a key el­e­ment in the coun­try’s ef­forts to rad­i­cally trans­form the econ­omy and cre­ate jobs, ar­gues Min­is­ter of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs Edna Molewa in her bud­get vote speech

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IF we are to re­alise a pros­per­ous Africa based on in­clu­sive and eq­ui­table growth and shared pros­per­ity, it is es­sen­tial that Africa’s unique nat­u­ral en­dow­ments: its en­vi­ron­ment, ecosys­tems, wildlife and wild lands are healthy, val­ued and pro­tected, as a foun­da­tion for sus­tain­able cli­mate re­silient economies and com­mu­ni­ties.

We in South Africa are guided by our Na­tional Devel­op­ment Plan (NDP).

We have the sci­en­tific, tech­no­log­i­cal and in­no­va­tive ca­pa­bil­i­ties and we are bol­stered by the en­er­gies of our cit­i­zens; catal­ysed through strate­gic part­ner­ships with the pri­vate sec­tor; and led by a strong state with a clear pol­icy and reg­u­la­tory regime.

Ev­ery day we wit­ness the neg­a­tive ef­fects of hu­mankind’s foot­print on our planet; as our com­mu­ni­ties find them­selves in­creas­ingly vul­ner­a­ble to the neg­a­tive ef­fects and im­pacts of cli­mate change; the pol­lu­tion of the air and drink­ing wa­ter, and the degra­da­tion of our land and nat­u­ral her­itage.

These chal­lenges ne­ces­si­tate Rad­i­cally Trans­for­ma­tive Solutions of creat­ing and fa­cil­i­tat­ing a green growth and devel­op­ment path­way that is in­clu­sive, just, sus­tain­able, low car­bon and cli­mate re­silient.

The depart­ment has a three-pronged strate­gic ap­proach to fa­cil­i­tate this long-term rad­i­cal trans­for­ma­tion.

Firstly, fa­cil­i­tat­ing and supporting the plan­ning and growth of eco­nomic ac­tiv­ity in new and ex­ist­ing green sec­tors and green­ing less sus­tain­able sec­tors, which in turn leads to greater in­vest­ment, cre­ates jobs, and en­hances our in­ter­na­tional eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness. I call this our Phak­isa Strate­gic Ap­proach.

Se­condly, pro­vid­ing an en­hanced, co­her­ent, ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive leg­isla­tive and reg­u­la­tory sys­tem to fa­cil­i­tate the shift to­wards sus­tain­able pro­duc­tion and con­sump­tion pat­terns in our econ­omy and so­ci­ety. This is our En­vi­ron­men­tal Jus­tice Strate­gic Ap­proach.

Thirdly, to pro­vide the sup­port and ser­vices for on the ground im­ple­men­ta­tion to fa­cil­i­tate and pro­mote scaled-up econ­omy-wide in­vest­ment, as we strive to re­alise our ob­jec­tives. This is our Econ­omy-Wide Ser­vice De­liv­ery Strate­gic Ap­proach.


Oceans Econ­omy

We have reg­is­tered sub­stan­tial progress in the past fi­nan­cial year, build­ing on our suc­cesses of last year.

We have to date un­locked a to­tal of R 17.7 bil­lion in in­vest­ment through the Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa: Oceans Econ­omy process in the five ini­tially iden­ti­fied ar­eas which is Off­shore Oil and Gas, Aqua­cul­ture, Marine Man­u­fac­tur­ing and Trans­port, Oceans Gov­er­nance and Tourism. Bio­di­ver­sity econ­omy

In 2016, jointly with the Depart­ment of Tourism, we co-hosted a Bio­di­ver­sity Econ­omy Op­er­a­tion Phak­isa De­liv­ery Lab to ac­cel­er­ate the eco­nomic growth and job creation op­por­tu­ni­ties in the biotech­nol­ogy and bio­di­ver­sity con­ser­va­tion sec­tors, in par­tic­u­lar through the eco­tourism and wildlife sec­tors.

The Bio­di­ver­sity Econ­omy im­ple­men­ta­tion plans tar­get the creation of 100 000 jobs, and sup­port for 4 000 new SMMEs by 2030. For this fi­nan­cial year, we are:

Pri­ori­tis­ing the iden­ti­fi­ca­tion of about 800 000 hectares of land for wildlife econ­omy ac­tiv­i­ties.

Es­tab­lish­ing 11 Na­tional Bio­di­ver­sity Econ­omy Nodes and pri­or­ity projects therein.

Have iden­ti­fied the top 25 plant species for cul­ti­va­tion to pro­vide em­ploy­ment and stim­u­late eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties across the bio-prospect­ing value chain.

In­vest­ing in con­ser­va­tion man­age­ment in­fra­struc­ture with a fo­cus on base in­fra­struc­ture such as fenc­ing and wa­ter retic­u­la­tion, through the depart­ment’s En­vi­ron­men­tal Pro­tec­tion In­fra­struc­ture Pro­gramme.

Es­tab­lish­ing eight pi­lot wildlife econ­omy projects for this fi­nan­cial year.

De­vel­op­ing sup­port in­ter­ven­tions for Bio­di­ver­sity Econ­omy projects im­ple­mented by na­tional and provin­cial en­ti­ties such as game do­na­tions, the pro­vi­sion of ve­teri­nary ser­vices and ca­pac­ity build­ing.

The re­cy­cling or cir­cu­lar econ­omy

The tran­si­tion to a cir­cu­lar ap­proach to sus­tain­able so­cio-eco­nomic growth and devel­op­ment is emerg­ing as a pri­or­ity on the in­ter­na­tional po­lit­i­cal agenda. The is­sue was a key pol­icy dis­cus­sion point at the re­cently con­cluded World Eco­nomic Fo­rum for Africa (WEF).

For South Africa, grow­ing the cir­cu­lar econ­omy and broad­en­ing ac­cess to the op­por­tu­ni­ties it presents is a fun­da­men­tal part of gov­ern­ment’s pro­gramme of rad­i­cal so­cio-eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

This firstly re­quires a rad­i­cal re­think of our per­cep­tion of waste; it is a re­source with value once it is re­cov­ered, re­duced, re-used and re­cy­cled; and pro­vides the op­por­tu­nity for ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion, enterprise devel­op­ment and in­no­va­tion.

Given the po­ten­tial to sig­nif­i­cantly scale up green econ­omy ini­tia­tives in this sec­tor, we are pre­par­ing to host a Chem­i­cals and Waste Phak­isa that will see the An­nual Waste Khoro for 2017 tak­ing the form of a Chem­i­cals and Waste Cir­cu­lar Econ­omy Lab Pro­gramme.

In tak­ing the in­dus­try waste man­age­ment plans for­ward, we are cur­rently eval­u­at­ing the in­puts re­ceived from var­i­ous sec­tors on In­dus­try Waste Man­age­ment Plans (IWMPs) for the Paper and Pack­ag­ing, Elec­tri­cal and Elec­tronic and Light­ing In­dus­tries. These will be pub­lished for im­ple­men­ta­tion this fi­nan­cial year.

Supporting broader in­te­grated Green Econ­omy devel­op­ment

At the re­cently con­vened WEF in Dur­ban, in­te­grat­ing cli­mate change and the SDGs into devel­op­ment plan­ning fea­tured high on the agenda.

To this end, we are im­ple­ment­ing phase one of our Green­house Gas Emis­sion Mit­i­ga­tion sys­tem to al­lo­cate car­bon bud­gets to com­pa­nies that are sig­nif­i­cant emit­ters of green­house gases.

We will fi­nalise South Africa’s Na­tional Cli­mate Change Adap­ta­tion Strat­egy, which sets out pro­grammes for re­spond­ing to ex­pected cli­mate change im­pacts on our econ­omy, so­ci­ety and en­vi­ron­ment.

No­tably, South Africa is in­creas­ingly be­com­ing a des­ti­na­tion for in­vest­ment in the green econ­omy, and more specif­i­cally as a top 10 re­new­able en­ergy in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion glob­ally.

By 2016, South Africa’s Re­new­able En­ergy In­de­pen­dent Power Pro­ducer Pro­cure­ment Pro­gramme had al­ready at­tracted over R200bn in in­vest­ment. The Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs sup­ported this pro­gramme with Strate­gic En­vi­ron­men­tal Assess­ments.

In the past year, the depart­ment fi­nalised au­tho­ri­sa­tions for 124 re­new­able en­ergy devel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions, amount­ing to a to­tal of some 55 000 megawatts of re­new­able en­ergy, as well as devel­op­ment ap­pli­ca­tions for some 43 Strate­gic In­fra­struc­ture Projects (SIPs).


The NDP states that pur­su­ing a sus­tain­able devel­op­ment tra­jec­tory re­quires an ef­fi­cient and ef­fec­tive reg­u­la­tory sys­tem that re­duces cost and in­creases the ease of do­ing busi­ness; while at the same time en­sur­ing the sus­tain­able use and pro­tec­tion of our nat­u­ral cap­i­tal and her­itage.

This must com­prise co­her­ent leg­is­la­tion; sup­ported by more ac­ces­si­ble, user friendly and ef­fi­cient de­ci­sion-mak­ing tools, as well as ef­fec­tive en­force­ment.

The re­cent ex­pe­ri­ence in de­vel­op­ing our “one en­vi­ron­ment sys­tem” in the min­ing and wa­ter sec­tors has in­di­cated many ar­eas for im­prov­ing and in­te­grat­ing our en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tory sys­tem.

We have con­ducted a com­pre­hen­sive review of our en­vi­ron­men­tal leg­is­la­tion with the aim of im­prov­ing pro­ce­dural ef­fi­ciency; re­duc­ing du­pli­ca­tion and frag­men­ta­tion, as well as stan­dar­d­is­ing, stream­lin­ing and align­ing leg­isla­tive re­quire­ments.

This com­pre­hen­sive reg­u­la­tory review process will also ad­dress any emerg­ing ar­eas of con­cern, gaps or in­ad­e­quate cov­er­age in our reg­u­la­tory sys­tem, among oth­ers, in­clud­ing:

In the cli­mate change area: The do­mes­tic mea­sures we need to take in terms of our fair con­tri­bu­tion to the global ef­fort to pur­sue ef­forts tolimit global warm­ing to 2 de­grees Cel­sius, and to pur­sue ef­forts to­wards 1.5 de­grees, as ob­li­gated by our rat­i­fi­ca­tion of the Paris Agree­ment to com­bat cli­mate change in Novem­ber 2016.

In the chem­i­cals area: We plan to phase down Hy­droflu­o­ro­car­bons (HFCs), in terms of obli­ga­tions in the 2016 Ki­gali Amend­ment to the 1986 Montreal Pro­to­col on Sub­stances that De­plete the Ozone Layer.

Based on a re­cently com­pleted study, we will man­age the pub­lic health and en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pacts of mer­cury pol­lu­tion, in terms of obli­ga­tions in the Mi­na­mata Con­ven­tion on Mer­cury that we signed in 2015.

We need to man­age the phase out, im­port and ex­port of hazardous chem­i­cals and waste, in terms of obli­ga­tions in the Basel, Rot­ter­dam and Stock­holm Con­ven­tions.

In the waste area: We need to man­age the detri­men­tal im­pacts of plas­tics and the phase-out of mi­cro-plas­tics in terms of UN Gen­eral As­sem­bly and UN En­vi­ron­men­tal As­sem­bly res­o­lu­tions, as well as the find­ings of a Plas­tic Ma­te­rial Study that we will con­duct this year in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the plas­tics in­dus­try, the South African Bureau of Stan­dards, the Na­tional Reg­u­la­tor for Com­pul­sory Spec­i­fi­ca­tions, the Na­tional Trea­sury and Depart­ment of Health.

We are con­sid­er­ing mea­sures that al­low for in­de­pen­dent oper­a­tors to run clean-up and pro­cess­ing op­er­a­tions in the dif­fer­ent waste man­age­ment sec­tors and their ap­point­ment through an open and com­pet­i­tive ten­der sys­tem.

We are con­duct­ing a fea­si­bil­ity study into the op­tion of a land­fill dis­posal tax as a dis­in­cen­tive to land­fill, in con­junc­tion with Na­tional Trea­sury.

In the bio­di­ver­sity and con­ser­va­tion area: We are cur­rently im­ple­ment­ing the de­ci­sions taken at the 17th Con­fer­ence of Par­ties to the Con­ven­tion on In­ter­na­tional Trade in En­dan­gered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), hosted by South Africa in 2016, which in­clude:

Pro­vi­sions to strengthen ac­tions to com­bat il­licit wildlife traf­fick­ing, im­prove pro­tec­tion of en­tire groups of species, em­pow­er­ing youth and closer en­gage­ment with ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

Pro­vi­sions to man­age the in­ter­na­tional trade in hunting tro­phies and the trade in cy­cads.

The CITES list­ing of wild gin­ger and Tem­minck’s pan­golin.

The trans­fer of the Cape Moun­tain Ze­bra from Ap­pendix I to Ap­pendix II by CITES, which recog­nises a re­mark­able con­ser­va­tion suc­cess story – where a species has re­cov­ered from just less than 100 in­di­vid­ual an­i­mals in the 1990s to over 5 000 in 2016.

The de­ci­sion not to list South Africa’s ele­phant pop­u­la­tion in Ap­pendix I, that would have in­tro­duced a ban on the in­ter­na­tional com­mer­cial trade in wild ele­phant.

This is a vic­tory for sci­en­tific, ev­i­dence-based de­ci­sion mak­ing.

As I have al­ready men­tioned, the pur­pose of this com­pre­hen­sive leg­isla­tive review is to have more ac­ces­si­ble, user friendly and ef­fi­cient de­ci­sion-mak­ing tools.

To this end, the depart­ment is de­vel­op­ing the fol­low­ing:

A Con­sol­i­dated In­te­grated Per­mit­ting Sys­tem (CIPS) to pro­vide a sin­gle en­vi­ron­men­tal au­tho­ri­sa­tion and per­mit ap­pli­ca­tion and pro­cess­ing in­ter­face. This will en­able the is­su­ing of mul­ti­ple au­tho­ri­sa­tions such as En­vi­ron­men­tal Im­pact As­sess­ment (EIA), Waste Li­cence and an Air Emis­sion Licenses. This work is at an ad­vanced stage and will be­come op­er­a­tional this year.

An EIA Screen­ing Tool, in­te­grated with the CIPS that will pro­vide for an early fo­cus­ing of assess­ments and ac­cel­er­ate the as­sess­ment and au­tho­ri­sa­tion process.

A Spe­cial Needs and Skills Devel­op­ment Pro­gramme to pro­vide pro bono en­vi­ron­men­tal ser­vices for in­di­vid­u­als and or­gan­i­sa­tions who can­not af­ford to pay for the costs of an EIA.

A spe­cial ini­tia­tive in plas­tic de­sign to im­prove the re­cy­cling of plas­tic bags, work­ing with the SABS and Na­tional Reg­u­la­tor for Com­pul­sory Spec­i­fi­ca­tions (NRCS) to en­sure that the man­u­fac­tur­ers of plas­tic car­rier bags com­ply with reg­u­la­tory re­quire­ments.

A 5-year mon­i­tor­ing pro­gramme to in­ter­vene in sup­port of lo­cal gov­ern­ment in the man­age­ment of our na­tion­wide net­work of 42 air qual­ity mon­i­tor­ing sta­tions, as many sta­tions do not cur­rently meet the re­quired stan­dards of op­er­a­tion.

An air qual­ity off­set pro­gramme to be rolled out by in­dus­tries in the Vaal Tri­an­gle Air­shed and High­veld Pri­or­ity Ar­eas, in­formed by sci­en­tific stud­ies. In this re­gard, the source ap­por­tion­ment study of the Vaal Tri­an­gle Air­shed Pri­or­ity Area is cur­rently un­der way as a ba­sis to review of the Air Qual­ity Man­age­ment Plan of the pri­or­ity area.

A Na­tional Bio­di­ver­sity Off­set Pol­icy, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the De­part­ments of Min­eral Re­sources and Wa­ter and San­i­ta­tion, to en­sure that sig­nif­i­cant resid­ual im­pacts of devel­op­ment, par­tic­u­larly in the min­ing sec­tor are reme­died.

A na­tional guide­line to­wards the Es­tab­lish­ment of Coastal Man­age­ment Lines to pro­tect coastal pub­lic prop­erty, coastal pro­tec­tion zones and in­fra­struc­ture.

Ef­fec­tive en­force­ment is an im­por­tant com­po­nent of a just en­vi­ron­men­tal reg­u­la­tory sys­tem.

In this re­gard, in the last fi­nan­cial year, all com­pe­tent au­thor­i­ties pro­cessed 1 266 EIAs at a 96% ef­fi­ciency rate. Of these EIAs, only a few were chal­lenged in court with less than 0.5% found against the gov­ern­ment.

While the poach­ing of South Africa’s rhino re­mains of con­cern, we are see­ing a slow but steady de­cline in poach­ing num­bers. This is thanks to the In­te­grated Strate­gic Man­age­ment of Rhinoceros ap­proach ap­proved by cab­i­net in 2014.

This ef­fort has been sup­ple­mented by a Rhino Con­ser­va­tion Lab in 2016 to en­hance col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween gov­ern­ment, the pri­vate sec­tor and NGOs.

We have pub­lished draft reg­u­la­tions to en­sure the high­est lev­els of co-or­di­na­tion on all mat­ters per­tain­ing to rhino, the pos­ses­sion of rhino horn, and its ex­port for non­com­mer­cial pur­poses. This in­cludes strength­en­ing the pro­cesses around the is­suance of per­mits.

These mea­sures are par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant in the con­text of the North Gaut­eng High Court’s 2016 or­der set­ting aside the mora­to­rium on the do­mes­tic trade in rhino horn and the Con­sti­tu­tional Court’s or­der not to grant leave to ap­peal against the judg­ment.


The Na­tional Green Fund con­tin­ues to sup­port in­vest­ment projects, re­search and devel­op­ment and ca­pac­ity devel­op­ment ini­tia­tives across the green econ­omy.

The gov­ern­ment has to date al­lo­cated R1.2bn to the Fund, creat­ing ap­prox­i­mately 6 620 di­rect jobs.

One such project be­ing sup­ported by the Fund is the con­struc­tion of the flag­ship Ham­mars­dale Waste Ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion cen­tre in KwaZulu-Natal, that will max­imise waste di­ver­sion from land­fill through in­no­va­tive re­cy­cling tech­nolo­gies.

Phase 1 of this project, that is be­ing run by a non-profit called USE-IT, will lead to the creation of 153 per­ma­nent jobs, as well as 80 con­struc­tion jobs. Since its in­cep­tion, USEIT has cre­ated 2 400 jobs from waste ben­e­fi­ci­a­tion and has won a num­ber of na­tional and in­ter­na­tional awards.

How­ever, the onus to cre­ate green jobs can­not be on gov­ern­ment alone. Forg­ing part­ner­ships and in­cen­tivis­ing pri­vate sec­tor in­vest­ment, both do­mes­ti­cally and in­ter­na­tion­ally, is key.

South Africa is a mem­ber of the Part­ner­ship for Ac­tion on Green Econ­omy (PAGE), that seeks to put sus­tain­abil­ity at the heart of eco­nomic poli­cies and prac­tices.

We are also a mem­ber of the Switch Africa Green part­ner­ship that is im­ple­ment­ing in­no­va­tive pi­lot re­new­able en­ergy projects.

In Fe­bru­ary this year, SANParks con­vened its first ever Tourism In­vest­ment Sum­mit to ex­plore pub­licpri­vate part­ner­ships to de­velop in­fra­struc­ture in our na­tional parks. The event was a re­sound­ing suc­cess.

In­ter­na­tion­ally, we will con­tinue to en­hance our co-op­er­a­tive en­gage­ment in the United Na­tions En­vi­ron­ment As­sem­bly (UNEA), the Global En­vi­ron­ment Fa­cil­ity (GEF) and the Green Cli­mate Fund (GCF) where we serve on the board and have co-chaired the board for two terms.

Two of our in­sti­tu­tions, the Devel­op­ment Bank of South Africa and the South African Na­tional Bio­di­ver­sity In­sti­tute have been ac­cred­ited as im­ple­ment­ing agen­cies for both the GEF and GCF and are now able to process fi­nance ap­pli­ca­tions for cli­mate change adap­ta­tion and re­silience.

We con­tinue our co-op­er­a­tive en­gage­ment in Mul­ti­lat­eral En­vi­ron­men­tal Agree­ment bod­ies to ad­vance the en­vi­ron­ment, cli­mate change and sus­tain­able devel­op­ment agenda.

We con­tinue our co-op­er­a­tive en­gage­ment within the African Union and SADC; fos­ter­ing bi­lat­eral re­la­tions with key African coun­tries; and strength­en­ing South-South Co-op­er­a­tion within key emerg­ing de­vel­op­ing mar­kets such as BRICS.

Our co-op­er­a­tive en­gage­ment in re­search in Antarc­tica con­tin­ues, in col­lab­o­ra­tion with the De­part­ments of Science and Tech­nol­ogy and In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions and Co-op­er­a­tion. This en­ables us to bet­ter un­der­stand global weather sys­tems, the shift­ing lo­ca­tion of marine re­sources, and the im­pacts of global warm­ing on our oceans.

In the bio­di­ver­sity and con­ser­va­tion sec­tor, our net­work of na­tional parks and pro­tected ar­eas pro­vide the base in­fra­struc­ture for a grow­ing eco-tourism and wildlife use sec­tor.

In the last fi­nan­cial year, South African Na­tional Parks (SANParks) re­ceived 6.7 mil­lion visi­tors into its 19 parks gen­er­at­ing ap­prox­i­mately R2.6bn.

The pro­tected area ex­pan­sion ini­tia­tive builds up the base eco­log­i­cal in­fra­struc­ture supporting this grow­ing wildlife econ­omy over time.

Last year, a to­tal of 3 874 hectares were added to our na­tional parks and plans are un­der way to ac­quire 3 569 hectares next year.

In sup­port of grow­ing the eco-tourism and wildlife use sec­tor, South Africa has submitted ap­pli­ca­tions to UNESCO for them to con­sider des­ig­nat­ing the Gar­den Route as a Bio­sphere Re­serve, as well as list­ing the Khomani Cul­tural Land­scape and the Bar­ber­ton Makhon­jwa Moun­tains on the World Her­itage List, in June 2017 and Oc­to­ber 2018 re­spec­tively.

These in­ter­na­tional des­ig­na­tions will boost lo­cal eco-tourism devel­op­ment and pro­vide job creation op­por­tu­ni­ties for ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.

In sup­port of devel­op­ment of poor coastal com­mu­ni­ties, reg­u­la­tions re-zon­ing Tsit­sikamma Marine Pro­tected Area (MPA) to al­low for con­trolled fish­ing in three ‘take’ zones com­pris­ing 20% of the MPA coast­line have been gazetted.

Aided by some of the great­est tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vances wit­nessed in hu­man his­tory, African coun­tries have the op­por­tu­nity to leapfrog to new lev­els of low-car­bon, green, in­clu­sive, cli­mate change re­silient devel­op­ment. Let us har­ness the po­ten­tial of the sus­tain­able devel­op­ment agenda as we strive to re­alise Agenda 2063 of the AU.

The DEA re­mains com­mit­ted to the con­ser­va­tion of our nat­u­ral en­vi­ron­ment, the pro­tec­tion of pub­lic and en­vi­ron­men­tal jus­tice and health and pro­mot­ing in­clu­sive growth that cre­ates jobs and grows our econ­omy.

Ul­ti­mately, it is the ac­tions of each and ev­ery one of us that count the most. In the words of the late Kenyan en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist Wan­gari Mathai: “All of us have a God in us, and that God is the spirit that unites all Life, ev­ery­thing that is on this Planet.”

‘Ul­ti­mately it is the ac­tions of each and ev­ery one of us that count the most’

This page is in part­ner­ship with the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­men­tal Af­fairs


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