Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment delivers Budget Speech to National Council of Provinces

25 May 2021

Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy outlined a number of initiatives being implemented by the Department in collaboration with the provinces and the district and local municipalities to ensure environmental services reach all sectors of society.

Minister Creecy confirmed the country’s commitment to contributing its fair share to the global climate change effort, highlighting the role the Presidential Climate Change Coordinating Committee will play in overseeing co-ordination of necessary policies to meet a long-term net zero emissions target and advise on opportunities presented by the transition to a low-carbon development and the pathways to achieve it.

To achieve this, the Department had supported all district municipalities to develop climate change adaptation strategies through the ‘Let’s Respond Toolkit’. This would ensure climate change is mainstreamed into the Integrated Development Plans, or IDPs, of the 44 district municipalities.  Training on the Coastal Climate Change Vulnerability Index and Decision Support Tool in 3 coastal district Municipalities.

Minister Creecy said it was clear from the latest the State of Environment update, that South Africa’s air quality, particularly in the national priority areas, needs urgent and significant attention.

“Let me reiterate that this is a concurrent function and we will never succeed in improving air quality at community level without the hard work of all spheres of government,” said the Minister.

Air quality monitoring stations presently being operated, maintained and managed by the Department until 2022 will be handed to local governments once there has been capacitation and practical on-the-job training, coordinated with the support of the South African Weather Service and the National Association for Clean Air.

“As part of the Department’s zero tolerance on compliance and enforcement approach, we have taken a tough line with Eskom and Sasol, and issued several Compliance Notices.  In this regard, the department will not be issuing any exemptions to compliance with minimum emission standards, so all facilities will need to comply by 2025,” said the Minister.

A concerted effort was being made to ensure all sectors operating within the Priority Areas meet compliance and enforcement requirements related to air quality and emissions standards. The department would continue to support the development of Environmental Management Inspectorate capacity at the local authority level to deal with matters related to air quality.

The Minister said a drive has been launched to reposition the country’s protected areas for the New Deal for People with Nature.

‘The present state of protected areas in South Africa is marred by serious funding and capacity constraints, which leads to considerable fragmentation, duplication and inefficiency of management arrangements within the protected areas system,” said the Minister.  “In light of this, I have kick-started a process of investigating the rationalisation of protected areas by focusing on, amongst others, the reduction of fragmentation of functional responsibilities and the overlap of functions between different organs of state, improving conservation management and capacity of protected areas management agencies and enhancing cooperative governance in the management of protected areas”. 

Provinces and local government are key role players in this process.

The Biodiversity Economy is expected to create 110 000 new jobs by 2030 and contribute an additional R47 billion to GDP.

Through the National Wildlife Donation and Custodianship Policy Framework, which guides the review and implementation of Provincial Game Donation and Custodianship Policies, 15 000 head of game are expected to have been released as part of the wildlife transformation programme by the 2023/24 book year. 

The department is also supporting emerging game farmers with related infrastructure, such as game fencing, water, game capture and translocation costs to the tune of R810 million over the next three years.

A total of R251 has been committed to the development of the bioprospecting and biotrade programme in the next three years so communities can participate meaningfully in this industry.

Minister Creecy said the Integrated Coastal Management Act has placed an obligation on local government to facilitate access to beaches through public servitudes and made it an offence for anyone to prevent access to beaches.  Because local government has not been able to implement these provisions due to capacity challenges, the department has prioritised implementation with provinces and municipalities, to facilitate access incrementally along South Africa’s coastline. 

Apart from dealing with marine litter, the department supports municipalities to carry out their functions by funding waste management licences for unlicensed landfill sites. This process will enable Municipalities in 7 sites from various Municipalities in the Free State, North West, Mpumalanga and Eastern Cape to access funding from various funders to ensure that landfill sites comply with their waste management licences. This will be enhanced by providing training to improve the management of landfill sites.

Furthermore, the DFFE together with Provincial Departments of Environment, will be providing support in implementing projects and programmes in Districts across the country to realise an environment that is not harmful to health and to have the environment protected from the pollution that may arise from waste.  A key Programme in this regard is the Municipal Cleaning and Greening programme that would be implemented in all the municipalities.

The involvement of Local and Provincial Authorities is thus critical if we want to advance aquaculture in order to promote local and rural economic development.  We need to collectively explore local markets for fish and aquaculture products so that local jobs are created within the value chain. 

To access the Minister’s speech, click on:

View more

High-Level Panel report [review of regulations: wild animals]

Minister Barbara Creecy: Release of High-Level Panel report reviewing policies and regulations on hunting, trade, captive keeping, management and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinos

2 May 2021
I have today, 2 May 2021, released the report of the High-Level Panel that was appointed to review policies, regulatory measures, practices and policy positions that are related to hunting, trade, captive keeping, management and handling of elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros.
The appointment of the Panel through the hosting in August 2018, of a Colloquium on Captive Lion Breeding by the then Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs. This was attended by a range of national and international organisations who gave evidence to the Committee. According to the report of the Portfolio Committee, which was later adopted by Parliament, there was a predominant view that the captive lion breeding industry did not contribute to conservation and was doing damage to South Africa’s conservation and tourism reputation.
The Portfolio Committee, therefore, requested the department, as a matter of urgency, to initiate a policy and legislative review with a view to putting an end to this practice. Given that there were a number of other burning issues related to other iconic species such as rhino (escalating poaching, rhino horn trade), elephant (ivory trade), and leopard (threats such as illegal offtake of damage-causing leopards, poorly managed trophy hunting, trade-in leopard skin for religious and traditional use) the department decided to include these in the terms of reference of the Panel in order to get a holistic view of the pertinent issues.
I established the High Level Panel on 10 October 2019, in terms of S.3A of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 (NEMA). The Panel was chaired by Pamela Yako and comprised 25 members from a range of backgrounds and areas of expertise.

Despite the obstacles placed in the way of the Panel’s work by the Covid 19 pandemic, it has gone about its task in a thorough and professional manner, and was able to put in place a comprehensive program of stakeholder consultations, during which all interested parties were given an opportunity to make written submissions and to present their case to the Panel.

The Panel even managed to conduct a series of face-to-face consultations in between the first and second waves of Covid-19 in 5 provinces with the leadership of those communities living adjacent to protected areas which carry the iconic species under consideration. It concluded its work on 15 December last year, and submitted a report of almost 600 pages to me a few days later. The report was subsequently presented in Cabinet and approved for release and implementation.
I wish to thank the Panel for the work that it has done in producing a comprehensive and credible report with a set of recommendations which address the difficult issues facing the sector.
I am greatly impressed by the depth of work undertaken, and the level of detail presented in the report. It contains a comprehensive situation analysis; a review of the extensive work of previous panels and processes; and it addresses a number of contextual issues necessary to advance coherence in policy, legislation, regulation and its implementation across spheres of government and management authorities.
Throughout the report, the focus is on  providing policy certainty and reducing bureaucracy and red tape. Perhaps most admirable that the panel recognised that resolution of the issues required a bigger-picture framing, a re-imagining if you will.
It is in this context that the Panel envisages “Secured, restored, and rewilded natural landscapes with thriving populations of elephant, lion, rhino, and leopard, as indicators for a vibrant, responsible, inclusive, transformed, and sustainable wildlife sector”.
This vision is aligned with the Strategic Plan 2024 of the Department, and the Impact Statement within that Strategy: “A prosperous and equitable society living in harmony with our natural resources”. Besides providing specific interventions to resolve key issues in the sector, the report also provides for a re-conceptualised wildlife sector, that will provide a new deal for people and wildlife in South Africa.  
The report contains a clear vision, with 18 goals and 60 recommendations. I must say it is remarkable that a group of people with different views on the management of these iconic species was able to achieve consensus on all recommendations, except those recommendations that deal with captive lion and rhino breeding. In terms of captive lion and captive rhino breeding, where there were majority and minority recommendations, and having applied my mind, we will be adopting the majority recommendations on these issues.
In adopting the report’s recommendations, it is important to indicate what the key outcomes for the country will include:

  • The development of a shared vision for the sector;
  • Improved policy and legislative coherence, which will provide certainty and a stable base for growth and development;
  • Better balancing our economic, social, cultural and natural heritage needs, including re-imagining the role of protected areas, both state and others, in contributing to ecologically sustainable rural development;
  • Placing communities living with wildlife at the centre of our thinking so we focus on enhancing human-wildlife co-existence, and transformative approaches to access and benefit sharing for communities living on the edges of protected areas;
  • A renewed focus on transforming the ownership and management of the commercial wildlife economy particularly in the eco-toursim and authentic hunting sectors;
  • The ending of certain inhumane and irresponsible practices that greatly harm the reputation of South Africa and the position of South Africa as a leader in conservation; and finally,
  • Contributing to ensuring Africa’s coherence and unity in relation to conservation; sustainable use and management of these species;

We will be taking forward the recommendations to develop a Policy on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable use and adopt a One Welfare approach for wildlife.
There are key recommendations to reposition and organise protected areas, simplify and make more effective legislative and administrative processes, as well as to improve cooperative governance. The Department will initiate processes to resolve these.
Transformation of the sector will be prioritised, in terms of improved inclusion of marginalised groups, especially communities living with or adjacent to these species, and in the role and influence of traditional leaders and healers in the wildlife sector.  
In terms of captive rhino, the Panel makes clear recommendations as to how partnership with private owners of rhino can lead to strong conservation outcomes for the species, while enhancing potential benefit streams. We have accepted that the country adopt the recommended positions on ivory and rhino horn trade, such that we will not be making proposals to CITES for further trade in these derivatives until certain conditions have been met.

On the rhino, these are based on the Commission of Enquiry’s report Option 3 as approved by Cabinet and the Rhino Action Plan and the development of a global consensus for legal international trade in rhino in the interest of rhino conservation.  As South Africa protects the largest component of the global rhino population, we intend to play a global leadership role in this.  For elephants,  although we hold a relatively small portion of the population, South Africa wants to play a key role to bring African consensus on ivory trade in the interest of ivory trade on elephants.
We will be initiating a participatory process, with recognition of the important role and contribution by private owners, including some major ecotourism-based rhino populations, to rhino conservation, to find win-win solutions to safeguard rhino conservation and broaden and deepen the bio-economy associated with rhino.

The Panel identified that the captive lion industry poses risks to the sustainability of wild lion conservation resulting from the negative impact on ecotourism which funds lion conservation and conservation more broadly, the negative impact on the authentic wild hunting industry, and the risk that trade in lion parts poses to stimulating poaching and the illegal trade. The panel recommends that South Africa does not captive breed lions, keep lions in captivity, or use captive lions or their derivatives commercially. I have requested the department to action this accordingly and ensure that the necessary consultation for implementation is conducted.
It is important to stress that the recommendations are not against the hunting industry. Preventing the hunting of captive lions is in the interests of the authentic wild hunting industry, and will boost the hunting economy and our international reputation, and the jobs that this creates.
Now that these recommendations are approved for implementation, they will result in a step-change, with the consequent benefits to our standing and reputation. Key to this is transforming the sector, reinvigorating the biodiversity economy through a focus on Big Five-based ecotourism and authentic hunting of wild specimens.  We will be partnering with the Department of Tourism to achieve this. In addition, mechanisms to improve benefit flows to restituted communities, as well as novel approaches to land-use planning, can enhance rural socio-economic development based on the wildlife economy.
The report provides specific direction as to how my Department can support the Department of Agriculture, Land Reform and Rural Development in ensuring the welfare and wellbeing of wildlife, which will enhance our reputation and stimulate tourism.
We will, therefore, be working closely with this Department and other departments in this regard. In relation to enhancing our international reputation, an engagement with SADC partners and the African range states of these species and the leadership of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation will be required. A multi-sectoral approach to implementing the recommendations is therefore imperative.
In summary, I believe that the report provides a platform for not only achieving policy clarity but also for the development of a New Deal for people and wildlife in South Africa. Implementation of the recommendations will greatly transform the practices within the wildlife industry, enhance conservation of our environment and these species, invigorate the rural economies, and empower traditional practices, leadership, and healers. Finally, implementing these recommendations will result in both protection and enhancement of South Africa’s international reputation, repositioning the country as an even more competitive destination of choice for ecotourism and responsible hunting.

As indicated in the report, there have been a range of processes over the years that have not been properly implemented, and have resulted in the compromised position that the sector is in. This time I intend that we will act differently. I have instructed the Department, to develop an implementation plan for the recommendations.
Work has already begun, on a draft Policy Position that covers the key policy implications of the recommendations, which will shortly be published for public participation. The Department is also initiating a process to develop a draft White Paper on Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use for consultation. The more administrative processes required by the recommendations are all being taken up by the Department, and I have emphasised to the Department the need for full consultation with both the public, as well as with colleagues in government.
Apart from releasing the report of the Panel today, we are also putting in place a programme of stakeholder feedback sessions to give feedback on the findings and recommendations to those stakeholders who made submissions and also to those with an interest in the Panel’s work. We will also conduct the required public participation processes in respect of the implementation of some of the Panel’s recommendations.
In order to assist me in the communication of the Panel’s recommendations and in the development of an implementation plan, I have extended the term of the Chairperson of the Panel, and a small number of other Panel members, largely the drafting team.

Let me conclude by thanking all those organisations and individuals who assisted the Panel in its work by making submissions and providing the much-needed information and analysis on the areas under review. Your time and effort have resulted in a substantial body of work that will guide us in policy implementation for many years to come.

I thank you.

View more

Environmental plan for construction of SKA published

Amendments to the Integrated Environmental Management Plan required to manage the impacts associated with the development of the first phase of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) in the Northern Cape, without further environmental approval required, have been published.

“The amendments are necessary, as the proposed construction camps would pose a risk to the optimal functioning of the Meerkat radio telescopes currently in operation,” the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment said.

The amendments include the acknowledgement of the declaration of portions of the SKA site as the Meerkat National Park; the increase in the size of the land core area; the development of a perimeter road along the boundary fence; and the development of a solar farm to contribute to the electricity needs of the facility.

The Adoption of Amended Chapter 2 and Chapter 5 of the Integrated Environmental Management Plan for Phase 1 of the Square Kilometre Array and Amendment to the Conditions of Exclusion were published by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy.

They were published in terms of the National Environmental Management Act in Government Gazette 44230 (Notice No. 250) on 25 March 2020.

“An amendment to the originally adopted plan was requested by the National Research Foundation, the organisation that is responsible for the development of the SKA.

To support the request for amendments, additional environmental assessments were undertaken and it was concluded that the activities would not impact negatively on the environment. 

It was therefore decided that the amendments to the original plan be approved.

View more

Name change for Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Department

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

The formation of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment is complete now that all the relevant officials have been transferred to the newly amalgamated department.

This follows the announcement of the sixth administration in 2019, were the forestry and fisheries functions were amalgamated into the Department of Environmental Affairs, which became know the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries.

The department said in a statement on Wednesday that the name of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) will change on 1 April 2021.

The DEFF will in future be known as the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE).

The substitution and designation of names for National Department and Office of the Premiers and heads thereof was published in Government Gazette 44229 (Notice No. 172) in terms of the Public Service Act on 5 March 2021.

View more

Minister Barbara Creecy launches South Africa’s Nationally Determined Contribution

30 Mar 2021

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Barbara Creecy, has launched the updated draft NDC for public consultation

The updated draft NDC, the cornerstone of South Africa’s climate change response, was approved by Cabinet on 24 March 2021 to be released for public comment. It is South Africa’s commitment in terms of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Paris Agreement to contribute to the global climate change effort. All Parties to the UNFCCC are updating their NDC’s in the run-up to the 26th international climate change conference to be held in Glasgow, Scotland, in November 2021. 

Under the Paris Agreement, all parties are required to deposit NDCs every five years.  South Africa deposited its first NDC with the UNFCCC in October 2015, committing to keeping national greenhouse gas emissions within a range from 389 Mt CO2-eq for 2025 and 2050. 

South Africa remains committed to addressing climate change based on science, equity and sustainable development. Similarly, the present updated NDC draft seeks to balance the three structural components of mitigation, adaptation and means of implementation/support requirements. 

The latest science from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change indicates that more urgent and rapid reductions in emissions are required by all countries.

The UNFCCC has found that the current global effort is not sufficient to avoid dangerous climate change, and all countries are in agreement that more needs to be done, faster. 

The updated mitigation NDC proposes a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) emissions target ranges up to 2030, with the 2025 target range allowing time to fully implement the national mitigation system, including those elements contained in the Climate Change Bill. It will also allow space for the implementation of IRP 2019 and other key policies and measures, as well as the national recovery from Covid_19.

The 2030 target range (398-440 Mt CO2 e q) is consistent with South Africa’s fair share, and also an ambitious improvement on our current NDC target. The upper range of the proposed 2030 target range represents a 28% reduction in GHG emissions from the 2015 NDC targets. 

Eskom recently released a call for proposals to repurpose Komati Power Station in Mpumalanga with photovoltaic panels and battery storage. Currently, the utility is conducting feasibility studies on repurposing other power stations scheduled for decommissioning including Hendrina, Grootvlei and Camden Coal Power Stations 

In February this year, the Presidential Climate Change Commission representing government, business, civil society and organised labour met for the first time to discuss how the country develops a just transition from our current high emission economy to a low carbon climate resilient economy and society. To do this we must ensure those who are currently dependent on the coal value chain do not carry the transition burden.

Accordingly, the Commission will advise government on ways to unlock new technology, new investment and above all new jobs as we meet our commitments in terms of the Paris Agreement.

The first South African adaptation communication in line with the Paris Agreement outlines five adaptation goals, articulates efforts to be implemented and associated costs for a time period of 2021 to 2030. The adaptation communication will enable support for key sectors that are affected by the impacts of climate change, including human settlements, agriculture, water and energy. It will also affirm the leadership role which South Africa has played in the international climate regime on adaptation.

The updated draft NDC also contains a section on South Africa’s support requirements as a developing country. This includes the costs of both mitigation and adaptation measures and defining the country’s goal for accessing international support.  

With regard to the support requirements for a developing country such as South Africa, the draft updated NDC addresses not only the cost of mitigation and adaptation measures but also outlines the international finance accessed thus far for climate change programmes. While South Africa has accessed about USD2 billion a year in 2018 and 2019, the draft updated NDC proposes access to four times the amount annually by 2030 to meet adaptation and mitigation needs.

South Africa’s updated NDC targets are aligned with planned policies and measures to provide opportunities for accessing large-scale international climate finance to fund low-carbon infrastructure, and also to fund the just transition.

The launch of the updated NDC is the start of a consultation process that will consist of a number of virtual consultations until the end of May 2021 with other government departments through the inter-governmental committee on climate change (IGCCC), broader stakeholders through the National Committee on Climate Change (NCCC) and a number of targeted virtual consultations with interest groups and representative formations including business, labor, civil society, the agricultural and energy sectors.

Direct consultation will be held with the provinces, while written inputs can be submitted to the Department by 30 April 2021.  

Following the integration of inputs from stakeholders, the updated NDC will be tabled with Cabinet for approval before being deposited with the UNFCCC ahead of COP26.

View more

Address by Minister Barbara Creecy during debate on the State of the Nation Address (SONA)

National Assembly, Parliament, Cape Town, 17 February 2021

I would like at the outset to acknowledge and applaud the role our President has played in these extremely challenging times and compliment him on the SONA address, which highlights the urgent need to defeat this coronavirus pandemic and build an economy for all sixty million South Africans.

Our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan prioritises the need to overcome abiding constraints and provide sustainable solutions to intractable problems of poverty, inequality and unemployment! Central to the plan’s objectives, in the words of our President: “to forge a new economy in a new global reality.”

Climate change is one of those new global realities. The 2021 Global Risks Report published in January this year under the auspices of the World Economic Forum, identified infectious diseases, livelihood crises and extreme weather events as the risks most likely to become critical threats to the world in the coming two years.

Zurich Insurance Group chief risk officer, Peter Giger quipped “there is no vaccine against climate risks, so post-pandemic recovery plans must focus on growth aligned with sustainable agendas”.

Climate change poses both risks and opportunities to our society and economy.  On the risk side extreme weather events including storms, droughts, and rising sea levels, are already part of our lived reality.

In the last week of January, more than 20 people died in Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Eswatini and South Africa, as a result of the destruction caused by tropical cyclone Eloise. We were reminded once again how vulnerable the developing world is to extreme weather events.

Nevertheless, due to the advanced early warning systems of our SA Weather Service, and the impressive coordinated response of our Disaster Management capability, at national, provincial and local government level, we were able to take advance measures to manage some of the worst impacts of the storm on both people and infrastructure.

This process was assisted by the implementation by all levels of government of adaptation strategies arising from the National Climate Change Adaptation Strategy that was approved by Cabinet last year.

What we now need is a better and more mainstream understanding of the climate transition risk our historical growth trajectory poses to the long-term sustainability of our economy and society.

Over the last year, in response to investor and societal pressure, nine of the world’s twelve largest economies, and many of our major trading partners, have already made net-zero carbon commitments.

These countries include China, the EU bloc, Japan, and Korea. Similar pronouncements are expected from the Biden Administration now that it has announced it will re-join the Paris Agreement.

Because our energy and production processes are highly carbon-intensive, our major trading partners, who have made net zero commitments, are likely to prioritise trade with other low carbon economies. This poses a risk of non -tariff trade barriers going forward.

Already there is increasing pressure from financial institutions who refuse to fund the development of new carbon-intensive assets.

In his address last week President Ramaphosa did not shy away from these challenges nor did he fail to indicate how we must address them.

In noting that Eskom, our largest greenhouse gas emitter has committed in principle to net-zero carbon emission by 2050, the President stressed the importance of the work of the Presidential Climate Change Commission that will meet for the first time this month.

This Commission must develop a clear plan to take us from an aspirational commitment to a low carbon, climate-resilient economy and society to the reality of new technology, new investment and above all new jobs. 

The Commission will provide the much-needed institutional mechanism to bring together government, civil society, business and labour to advise government on the just transition.

It will further leverage partnerships and collaboration across all relevant sectors to implement programmes that encapsulate the just transition in a coherent and coordinated manner.

In this regard, it is important to note, Honourable members, that yesterday Eskom announced it will shortly release a call for proposals to repower and repurpose Komati power station in Mpumalanga. Studies to facilitate similar initiatives are underway for Hendrina, Grootvlei and Camden.

Investment in the green economy and green technologies provides strategic advantages for our country: it opens access to new green financing opportunities; it offers the possibility of significant proven job creation; it has potential to localise production and services which will build small and medium enterprises and of course it enhances our long-term competitiveness while mitigating our transition risks.

The green industries component included in our own Reconstruction and Recovery Plan highlights the diversification of South Africa’s energy sources; retrofitting public and private buildings to improve energy and water efficiency; revitalisation of eco-tourism, hard hit by travel bans; research and development in the agricultural space of drought-resistant crops and cultivation methods; support for small farmers in the forestry space; and building the circular economy in the waste management space.

Honourable members allow me to report to this house some of the significant achievements in the green economy space to date:

2018 research, conducted by the SA Biodiversity Institute, indicated that the biodiversity economy currently creates over 418 thousand jobs across the tourism, wildlife, biotrade, bioprospecting, and the fisheries and forestry sectors. 

To support rural communities adversely affected by the decline of tourism we have through the support of the Presidential Employment Stimulus created 50 000 work opportunities, almost ten thousand of which are in our national parks and involve infrastructure repairs and upgrades so that our facilities are in good shape when international tourism returns.

This year we will, through the Forestry Master Plan begin the re-capitalisation of our somewhat neglected state-owned forests. Our Department will partner with the private sector and communities in KZN, Eastern Cape, Limpopo and Mpumalanga. This initiative will result in the development of Owner Growers and co-operatives, a major transformation initiative in the forestry sector.

We are currently finalising consultation around our Section 18 Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes for the packaging, electronics and lighting sectors.

We estimate that once fully implemented these schemes will assist us to divert a hundred thousand tons of waste a year from landfills; provide secure employment to more than twenty thousand people and ensure more than seven billion rand in new investment.

Change too is coming in the manufacturing space, in July last year, Toyota announced it will start production on Africa’s first hybrid petrol-electric car at its prospection plant in Durban, as part of an R2.5-billion investment in a new production line.

The Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPPP) has by the end of June 2020, delivered capacity to produce 4200 MW of power. This capacity has already offset 50-million tonnes of carbon dioxide and saved us almost 60-million kilo-litres of water.

This programme has created 52 600 jobs, attracted R 210 billion in investment, pumped R1.2 billion in socio-economic development initiatives in local communities and promoted 33% ownership by historically disadvantaged South Africans. 

Electricity prices have dropped significantly over the four bid windows and are now below one rand per kilowatt hour. Allow me to take this opportunity to welcome the President’s announcement of two further Bid windows later this year.

As emphasised by President Ramaphosa, in his SONA address, South Africa remains committed to multilateralism and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement.

To this end, we will be undertaking a series of public consultations on revising our Nationally Determined Contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions before submitting the final document to the UNFCCC ahead of the 26th Conference of Parties scheduled to take place in Glasgow in November this year.

South Africa will continue to work with African countries, and other partners under the UNFCCC to ensure COP26 focuses on enhancing ambition on the three goals of the Paris Agreement, namely, mitigation, adaptation and finance.

I thank you

View more

Developing a roadmap for plastic waste management

Key role-players in the plastics manufacturing, collection and recycling industries, the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) and other interested parties recently participated in the 2020 Plastics Colloquium feedback session which was held virtually. This was the second Plastics Colloquium following the inaugural event that took place in Johannesburg a year ago and was jointly hosted by DEFF, the Consumer Goods Council of SA, Plastics|SA and the informal sector associations.

The objectives of the annual Plastics Colloquium are:

  • To create a platform for representatives of government, private sector and civil society to engage with one another in order to provide a more effective partnerships with the aim of enhancing plastic waste management
  • To promote discussions between these role-players on sustainable management of plastic waste in the country
  • To create a national platform where information can be exchanged on best practice with regards to plastic waste management
  • To identify key economic opportunities that could be realized from plastic waste and discuss ways in which the informal sector could be incorporated into plastic waste recycling
  • To deliberate mechanisms and technologies for the effective delivery of waste management services by municipalities and other service providers

Six working groups were each afforded an opportunity to present on the progress they have made against the priorities that were agreed to at the 2019 Plastics Colloquium.  Representatives of these working groups offered some insight into the success and challenges being faced with biodegradable and compostable plastics; product standards and certification; product design, development and innovation; integration of the informal waste economy; infrastructure (including SALGA activities); and consumer education and awareness.

“The 2020 Plastics Colloquium feedback session was an important step forward for everybody involved in the plastics value chain. It was hugely encouraging to hear about the impressive progress the various working groups have made this past year despite the huge disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic,” says Anton Hanekom, executive director of Plastics|SA.

Hanekom also applauded the clear commitment made by government and all the other stakeholders to work together to find workable and sustainable solutions to prevent plastic waste from ending up in the environment.

“Achieving our objective of zero plastics in the environment is not something that the plastics industry alone can achieve. Finding a solution to the plastics leaking into the environment and ending up in our rivers, streams, and oceans requires teamwork, focus, and dedicated effort from everybody involved.”

Anton Hanekom, executive director of Plastics|SA

Whilst he admits that much work still needs to be done before South Africa reaches the implementation phase, Hanekom added that it was encouraging that the various stakeholders and role players were each willing to take responsibility for a specific section of the plan.

The following were identified as key areas requiring attention during 2021:

  1. Developing a proper municipal collection system with the necessary infrastructure to deal with the waste collected in neighbourhoods, (i.e., landfills, incineration possibilities for plastics that are difficult to recycle, buy-back centres etc.)
  2. The role of reclaimers in the waste management process, with proper consideration and attention given to their relationship with regards to household waste collection and separation, expanded public work programmes and municipal public employment systems;
  3. The role of producers and formalizing them into EPR schemes in order to eliminate the “free riders” who do not financially contribute towards plastic waste collection and recycling the packaging that enters the local market. Where necessary, certain single-use plastics will need to be phased out and replaced with compostable plastics;
  4. Ongoing research by the CSIR to include the use of compostable plastics and waste-to-energy, in order to provide decisionmakers with a clear understanding of how the system works and ensuring that every decision taken in the future is evidence-based;
  5. Building on the work already done by Plastics|SA and the Consumer Goods Council of SA when it comes to educating and informing consumers about the consequences of littering, the importance of recycling and their role in creating a litter-free South Africa.

Minister Barbara Creecy set the 2021 Plastics Colloquium as the deadline by when she will be requiring the various working groups to present a possible system, governance model and financing of the plans.

“Plastic waste has huge value and can create much-needed wealth and opportunities for our country if it is managed correctly. The Minister acknowledged that the plastics sector is way ahead of many of the other sectors in our country. However, we cannot afford to slow down in our efforts to design a clear road map for ending plastic waste in the environment. To this end, we are working with retailers, brand owners, producers, raw material suppliers and recyclers to unite with us around one vision, one message and one campaign,” Hanekom concludes.

For more information, visit

View more

Keynote address | Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Sotyu | Ozone layer

Programme Director;

Ozone Secretariat;

Leaders in industry and role players;

Government Officials;

Distinguished guests;

Principals, Educators and Learners;

Members of the community;

Members of the media;

Ladies and Gentlemen

Good morning

I am pleased to be part of this remarkable celebration of the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer here today.

The world today is going through a challenging and unprecedented time due to the Covid-19 pandemic. People’s lives and economies have been affected in one way or the other.

Despite the odds we are determined to pull through this, however not as individuals but rather together as a collective.

This is why a number of organisations and businesses have become more innovative in how they carry out certain activities, such as us today holding the World Ozone Day 2020 celebrations on this virtual platform.

Today we celebrate 35 years of protecting the ozone layer. This comes after scientists decades ago discovered the hole in the ozone layer as a result of man-made chemicals.

The strength of unity was demonstrated by countries around the globe when they took action to phase-out and ultimately ban the potent ozone-depleting substances for the preservation of the environment and human health.

Our Constitution as a Nation complements the ambitions of both the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol in protecting the environment and human health.

The Montreal Protocol is widely heralded as a success story both in terms of achieving its direct aims in ozone-depleting substances phase-out targets and the resultant curbs in ozone depletion, and consequent environmental and health benefits.

In our endeavours to meet the obligations of the Montreal Protocol, South Africa has developed regulations to phase-out and manage ozone-depleting substances.

Measures are put in place to monitor and control the imports and exports thereof in the country such as import quotas and licensing system. In an effort of ensuring that we close the potential gaps in illegal trade, an amendment of the Regulations Regarding the Phasing-out and Management of Ozone Depleting Substances has been undertaken in consultation with yourselves.

This amendment also aims at addressing among others concerns raised by some of the stakeholders in respect to ease of identifying controlled substances, providing for import quotas and matters that pertain to refrigerant reclamation.

Our government is actively involved in activities locally and internationally that aim to protect the ozone layer and ultimately human health.

In order to prevent illegal trade we have trained customs officials, international trade administration commission and environmental inspectors in both sea port of entries and land borders respectively.

In partnership with United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) roadshows were undertaken to raise the awareness on protection of the ozone layer, and obligations of the Vienna Convention and its Montreal Protocol.

Our collaboration with industry and government has birthed the Chemicals Management Phakisa Initiatives aimed at impacting positively on both the environment and economy such as training of Refrigeration and Air-conditioning Technicians in the Informal Servicing Sector in the country by 2023.

Further to this development, we have allocated three refrigerant reclamation machines to two companies and Capricorn Vocational Training College in Polokwane, Limpopo towards the establishment of SMMEs in the Refrigeration and Air-conditioning sector.

We are extending our reach to learning institutions in order to develop and raise a generation of environmentalists. This can be attested to the past eight to nine years the work done in raising this similar awareness celebrations in schools in various provinces such as Eastern Cape, Limpopo, North West and others.

We can certainly appreciate this talent and creativity from early in the programme this morning.

Today as the whole world is celebrating 35 years of protecting the ozone layer under the theme “Ozone for life” we salute all of you that attended this event.

As a Party to the Montreal Protocol we started phasing out Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC) from an average baseline of 5140.20 Tonnes in 2009 and 2010.

In January 2016 refrigerant-141B used in the foam sector was banned successfully and companies in the sector transitioned to the technically and economically feasible alternatives and subsequently removed over 1000 tonnes of HCFC from the baseline.

The Foam sector was assisted by the South Africa funding from the Multilateral Fund Secretariat for the Implementation of the country HCFC Phase-out Management.

I am pleased to inform you that up to the end of December 2019 just over 50% of HCFCs baseline has been reduced as our contribution towards the protection of the ozone layer.

We are set to meet the complete phase-out of HCFCs earlier than the set target of 2040. In the meantime, the mission goes on and all of us must continue contributing.

We also have recently registered alternatives to Methybromide. The information gathered so far indicates that the trails are going well and Methylbromide use is soon to be a thing of the past in South Africa.

You all brought us to this memorable milestone. The power of collaboration and uniting towards a common cause has proven effective. It gives me pleasure to form part of this success story and the Ozone family.

I also want to highlight that South Africa participates and plays and important role in leading the Africa Group in international negotiations, and making sure that the needs of the continent in phasing out and managing ozone-depleting substances are met.

This year we are the President of the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment and have been privileged to Co-Chairing the Open Ended-Working Group Meeting in 2020.

We are hopeful that despite the very difficult circumstances we face the world over our contribution and leadership will help in guiding the ozone family to making important decisions.

It is my understanding that various Stakeholders met this morning as per our tradition during the year in order to forge a way forward in strengthening our efforts in managing and controlling these substances.

Today let us look forward to more decades of further strengthening our collaborations, partnerships, participation and making those positive contributions as industry, government, public and learning institutions towards the preservation of the ozone layer.

Now we have much work ahead of us in dealing with the global warming substances such as HFCs and implementing the Kigali Amendment. We look forward to your continued support as we take on this new challenge.

In closing, I would like to thank the Executive Secretary of the Ozone Secretariat, Ms Tina Birmpili who has graced us with her presence today.

I would further like to thank her for the service she rendered to the Parties to the Protocol and the support she has tirelessly rendered to South Africa among others on our Methyl Bromide Critical Use Nominations for the past four to five years.

She is leaving the Ozone Secretariat to join the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification. Tina, you will always be part of the Ozone family and we look forward to working with you in combating desertification.

Thank you for all that you have done for us, and the world. We wish you well and keep up the good work. I would like to extend my gratitude to all of you for the partnerships, participation and contribution in various national activities that contribute to efforts in phasing out ozone-depleting substances as led by the Department.

I Thank you all.

View more

Keynote address | Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries |Waste

Programme director

SALGA representatives

Officials from National, Provincial Departments and Local government

Waste Management Officers

Ladies and Gentlemen

It gives me great pleasure to deliver this keynote address at this Waste Khoro 2020 event hosted as a virtual conference. This event was originally planned to be hosted in North-West Province, and I suppose following our President’s announcements last night, it will not be too long before we can once again work together face to face.

As we all know, we meet today during a challenging and difficult time. As a result of the pandemic there has been minimal economic activity, jobs have been lost, industries and businesses have downsized or closed. Across the world governments are working on economic recovery strategies.

For many countries, placing their economies on a more sustainable growth path is central. Our country understands green industries can open new possibilities for development and create much-needed jobs. The waste management sector has strong potential to innovate and improve socio-economic conditions and contribute to sustainable development and resource use.

Regionally, South Africa is a founding member of the African Circular Economy Alliance which started when UNEP, South Africa, Rwanda and Nigeria agreed to take the outcomes of the African Ministerial Conference on Environment (AMCEN) forward in partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF).

This innovative programme was launched in Germany in 2017, at UNFCCC COP 23. The Alliance is open to all African Countries and we have joined hands with other states to facilitate, promote and support the transition towards a circular economy on our continent. The recent AMCEN Bureau have instructed the Alliance to ramp up the implementation of Circular economy in Africa.

We also participate in the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment (AMCEN), of which I am the current President. The AMCEN Bureau together with the African Union proposed an “African Green Stimulus Programme” that will contribute meaningfully towards the broader African Post-Covid-19 Response Programme. Improving waste management by means of adopting principles of a circular economy is one of the focus areas.

Here at home, we have aligned policy and strategy with the circular economy concept. I am pleased to share with you today, that last week, Cabinet approved the National Waste Management Strategy 2020.

The National Waste Management Strategy 2020 is aimed at promoting the waste hierarchy and circular economy principles, while achieving both socio-economic benefits and the reduction of negative environmental impacts. Key to this are the three Pillars of the National Waste Management Strategy which are: promoting waste minimisation, efficient and effective waste services and awareness raising, compliance monitoring and enforcement.

The 2019 Khoro reflected on the progress made during the first decade of the Waste Act implementation and agreed on resolutions. The National Waste Management Strategy 2020 builds on the successes and lessons from the implementation of that 2011 strategy.

The NWMS provides government policy and strategic interventions for the waste sector and is aligned and responsive to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of Agenda 2030 adopted by all United Nations (UN) member States. It is also aligned and consistent with South Africa’s National Development Plan (NDP): Vision 2030 which is our country’s specific response to, and integration of the SDGs into our overall socio-economic development plans.

Significant strategic shifts from the 2011 strategy made in the NWMS 2020 include:

·        Addressing the role waste pickers and the informal sector in the circular economy;

·        Promoting approaches to the design of products and packaging that reduce waste or encourage reuse, repair and preparation for recycling, support markets for source separated recyclables;

·        Investigating potential regulatory or economic interventions to increase participation rates in residential separation at source programmes;

·        Investing in the economies associated with transporting of recyclables to waste processing facilities;

·        Addressing the skills gap within the sector; and

·        Engagement with the National Treasury regarding the operational expenditures for municipalities associated with implementing the NWMS and Waste Act.

With regards to compliance promotion at local government level, we have seen that implementation of the NWMS 2011 showed a lack of monitoring and evaluation of municipal waste management. This needs to be addressed with a collective effort to bring the necessary change, and we must call out poor performance and non-compliance, and ensure that corrective action is taken where needed.

We have seen sterling collaboration between DEFF, National Treasury and COGTA on the change of MIG policy to fund the yellow fleet.

But more needs to be done to support municipalities to comply with landfill infrastructure standards, improve the number of households that have weekly waste collection ; and actively promote waste diversion from landfilling. 

In this regard all of you gathered here today have an important role to play. We need to set attainable targets, we need to enhance training, we need to battle noncompliance, and consequences for noncompliance and we need to work across all levels of government to support resource mobilisation and actively build partnerships with the private sector.

Central to the promoting private sector collaboration is the concept of extended producer responsibility. This year our Department embarked on an extensive consultation process to initiate extended producer responsibility schemes with the private sector for the following products:

·        –     Paper and Packaging;

·        –     Electrical and Electronic Equipment; and

·        –     Lighting.

This gives effect to Section 18 of the National Environmental Management Waste Act, 2008 and also supports the approach to the management of waste enshrined in the 2020 National Waste Management Strategy. 

The introduction of recyclate content targets for specific products is an important mechanism to stimulate the demand for waste resources.

In this regard, the Department has also taken strides by ensuring product design changes that embrace circularity for the manufacturing of plastic carrier bags. We have received extensive comments on the amendments of the plastic carrier bags Regulations, and I am pleased that we are moving in the right direction to prevent and manage plastic pollution.

Other initiatives that we hope will promote the circular economy include the exclusion regulations that recognise material that can be used for beneficiation purposes without requiring a waste licence. Our Department has approved 48 applications for the beneficial use of several waste materials, thus unblocking obstacles and promoting the full implementation of the waste management hierarchy.

Central to the success of the circular economy concept is demand stimulation. Government has considerable spending power and we must take the lead in advancing green and sustainable procurement.  We are already in discussion with our sister departments on utilising alternative building materials consisting of repurposed ash, construction and demolition waste and well as organic waste. New building standards in this regard can improve circularity.

The Chemicals and Waste Economy Phakisa identified several waste initiatives and priorities.  This led to the development of detailed action plans and business cases for 20 initiatives. 

In implementing some of the initiatives from the Chemicals and Waste Phakisa relating to the Exclusion Regulations, the Department has now approved 48 applications for the beneficial use of several waste materials thus unblocking obstacles and promoting the full implementation of the waste management hierarchy.

Fellow delegates, the Waste Act makes provision for the designation of Waste Management Officers (WMOs) at all levels of government for the purpose of coordinating matters pertaining to waste management in South Africa. 

Currently we have municipal, provincial and national Waste Management Officers designated.  This event is one of the established mechanisms to coordinate the efforts of WMOs and is a platform for all WMOs, waste management practitioners and other related officials from the three spheres of government to share experiences and discuss challenges, possible solutions and opportunities with a goal of improving waste management in the country.

The policy objectives of our government are clear. It is now up to you to join forces across all levels of government to make their implementation a reality.  I wish you well in your deliberations and know that you will have fruitful discussions.

I thank you.

View more

Response to Parliamentary questions by the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

Ref: O2/1/5/2
(For written reply)
DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04 September 2020
Mr C F B Smit (Limpopo: DA) to ask the Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment:
(1) Whether there were any requests and/or demands to her Department or the Waste Bureau to buy and/or hire the equipment and/or machinery that was previously purchased with state funds and utilised by the Waste Bureau following the closure of the Recycling and Development Initiative of South Africa (REDISA); if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) how much was requested by REDISA for the equipment and/or machinery and (b) what are the further relevant details;
(2) whether her Department has paid the amount that was requested by REDISA; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details; and
(3) whether any other amounts were paid to REDISA regarding this matter; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) how much in each case, (b) for what and (c) what are the further relevant details?

    (1) (a) Upon the withdrawal of the REDISA Waste Tyre Management Plan, the provisional liquidators permitted the Waste Bureau to utilise their equipment/machinery in order to ensure that the waste tyre operations could continue. The equipment was purchased by REDISA utilising monies collected from the tyre industry. However, when the final liquidation orders against
    REDISA and Kusaga Taka were set aside by the Supreme Court of Appeal, REDISA, on 21 November 2019, demanded payment of the following:
    o Compensation for the use of REDISA’s equipment by the Waste Bureau in the amount of R6 795 091.00 per month, from 1 October 2017 to date;
    o Compensation for damage to REDISA’s equipment by the Waste Bureau in the amount of R16 749 012.80; and
    o Compensation for services allegedly rendered in an amount of R363 171 005.18.
    (b) A technical opinion was obtained from the Department’s auditors to determine the fair market value for the use of the equipment for the period of its use and the legal implications of the various claims as well as the litigation and costs attached to this matter were considered and advice was taken in this regard as well. The onus of proof with regard to the alleged damages rested with REDISA, however no proof in this regard was not provided. The claim regarding compensation for services that were allegedly rendered was disputed.
    (2) The total amount claimed by REDISA was not paid. The costs outlined in (a) below, exclusive of the alleged costs, claims and legal costs indicated in (b) to (e) hereunder, amounted to approximately R583 772 747.98 (five hundred and eighty-three million, seven hundred and seventy-two thousand, seven hundred and forty-seven Rand and ninety-eight cents).
    Without an acknowledgment of any liability in respect of any of any of the claims, a settlement with REDISA and Kusaga Taka Consulting (Pty) was entered into, in terms of which an all-inclusive total amount of R45 000 000.00 (forty-five million Rand) was paid to REDISA in full and final settlement of ALL of the following:
    (a) REDISA’s demands for payment of the following:
    (i) Compensation for the use of REDISA’s equipment by the Waste Management Bureau in the amount of R6 795 091.00 per month, from 1 October 2017 to 30 March 2020;
    (ii) Compensation for damage to REDISA’s equipment by the Waste Management Bureau in the amount of R16 749 012.80; and
    (iii) Compensation for services in the amount of R363 171 005.18.
    (b) All litigation that was pending at the time, namely:
    (i) Case number 70444/2016 in the Gauteng Division of the High Court, in which REDISA claimed relief to the effect that the National Pricing Strategy for Waste Management should be reviewed and set aside;
    (ii) Case number 97731/2016 in the Gauteng Division of the High Court, in which REDISA sought relief to the effect that regulation 14 of the Amendment Regulations and regulation 9(1)(jA) of the amended Waste Tyre Regulations, should be reviewed and set aside; and
    (iii) Case number 3634/2019 in the Western Cape Division of the High Court, in which REDISA sought relief to the effect that the withdrawal of the approval of the REDISA Plan be reviewed and set aside; that the REDISA Plan immediately be re-instated to operate indefinitely, subject to resubmission for approval at five-year intervals; and that a determination within 10 days had to be made as to whether or not to extend approval of a revised plan.
    (c) The costs granted to REDISA and Kusaga Taka by the Supreme Court of Appeal on the discharge of the provisional liquidation orders of REDISA and Kusaga Taka.
    (d) The costs incidental to REDISA’s removal of its equipment from the Waste Bureau depots.
    (e) Any other claim that REDISA and Kusaga Taka, at the time, may have had, irrespective of whether such claim may be for costs, or was premised on any other legal basis.
    (3) Since the abovementioned settlement was entered into, no further payments were made to REDISA.
    DATE: 23 SEPTEMBER 2020

View more