Deputy Minister Makhotso Sotyu on commemorating Desertification and Drought Day

17 Jun 2021

The Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Ms Makhotso Sotyu has reiterated the urgency to invest in the land, enhance coherence and synergies to protect and restore natural ecosystems as part of the global recovery from Covid-19.

The Deputy Minister’s message comes as South Africa joins the international community in marking the Desertification and Drought Day (DDD) under the theme “Restoration. Land. Recovery– we build back better with healthy land,” today, 17 June 2021.

“Investing in healthy land as part of a green recovery is a smart economic decision, not just in terms of creating jobs and rebuilding livelihoods, but in terms of protecting economies against future crises caused by climate change and nature loss,” said Deputy Minister Sotyu.

South Africa’s landscape is composed of 91% of drylands making it susceptible to desertification, land degradation and drought. It is for this reason that the government is committed to the rehabilitation, conservation and restoration of degraded landscapes by implementing the post-economic recovery measures through the presidential stimulus package.

Evidence suggests that a green stimulus package could offer growth potential for the economy through investment in green projects and programmes; employment creation and co-benefit effects. These can be derived through the restoration of degraded ecosystems and conservation of the remaining intact ecosystems for the continued delivery of valuable services to livelihoods.

“It is important to take into account that, all ecosystems can be restored, rehabilitated or conserved. When it comes to the restoration of ecosystems, all actions and efforts at all levels matter. Degraded lands exacerbate drought, floods, water loss, extinctions, disease, conflicts and migration while restoring them is a most cost-effective solution,” said Deputy Minister Sotyu.

Land restoration offers multiple pathways towards a green recovery and achieving Sustainable Development Goals. Tools to create healthier and more resilient societies and economies already exist and include more responsible land governance, investments that protect and restore land, and coherent long-term policies and incentives.

As the foundation of all forms of life on earth, the land supports the provision of ecosystem goods and services such as food, water, energy, resilience to climate, and reduce vulnerability to the spread of zoonotic diseases. Despite all the benefits provided for by land, about 70% of global drylands are affected by desertification and land degradation. 

However, United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) offers new hope in the struggle against environmental problems. The Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating economic, social and environmental problems such as poverty, poor health, lack of food security, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, reduced resilience to climate change and migration, amongst others.


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Deputy Minister Makhotso Sotyu: Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Dept Budget Vote 2021/22 NCOP

25 May 2021

Address by the Deputy Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Hon. Ms Makhotso Sotyu (MP), during the NCOP policy debate on budget vote 32 for the DFFE 2021/2022  

South Africa has one of the most magnificent environments in the world.  Because of our rich variety of plants and animals, our country is ranked in the top three most biodiverse on Earth. 

This places on us, as lawmakers, business, civil society and citizens, an enormous responsibility to ensure that all of us work together to ensure our natural environment is protected, and that we are all able to live in harmony with nature. 

This means that the sustainable use of our natural resources in the development of our economy, and the upliftment of the lives of our people, should not be such that it destroys the environment we live in. 

Honourable Members,  

Land is the foundation of all life on Earth and an engine of economic growth.  

We can feed more people if we treat our soils with care and prevent land degradation. 

We recognise the role played by our trees in our environment and their contribution to the greening of our country.  

As part of the Government Greening Programme, the President has directed our Department to coordinate and facilitate the planting of two million trees annually, for the next five years.  

This makes our five-year target to be ten million trees. 

The trees to be planted over this period will include those that provide shade and fruit, and those that will green human settlements and assist in rehabilitating degraded areas. Planting trees and cleaning of the communities will be intertwined.   

The sourcing of trees from Community-Based Nurseries and Small and Medium Enterprises will stimulate Local Economic Development. 

We believe that the planting of these two million trees annually, would need us to look at this initiative in a broader context of greening that is aimed at also addressing issues of climate change, beautification of our surroundings and rehabilitation of degraded areas, amongst others. 

To ensure that two million trees are planted annually, commencing in the 2021/22 financial year, the Department will explore partnerships with Non-Government Organisations, Corporates, Municipalities, Sector Departments, and other public entities involved in the function of greening. 

It is envisaged that the planting of the two million trees is planted as part of greening low-cost income housing settlements. 

This will not only bring beauty into the households but also promote the importance of trees and benefits for the environment. 

The Department of Human Settlement and the Municipalities are at the centre of the plan as they will have plans in terms of which areas will be getting new housing settlements. 

The Department will be refurbishing four (4) of its own nurseries this financial year to meet the demand of the Greening programme. The nurseries are:

  • Wolsely – Western Cape
  • Bloemhof – North West
  • Rusplaas – Limpopo
  • QwaQwa – Free State

The refurbishment of the nurseries will increase production and employment for the local communities. 

Honourable Members,  

The Forestry Masterplan is a formal implementation plan that has been endorsed by Labour, Industry and Government, to ensure for creation and sustainability of decent employment, long-term investment, and the transfer of skills and expertise to the next generation. 

The Masterplan document has identified six (6) focus areas:

Focus Area 1: Expansion of the primary resources, Maintenance and Protection

Focus Area 2: Transformation of the sector

Focus Area 3: Processing and value addition

Focus Area 4: Illegal timber and related criminal activities

Focus Area 5: Research Development and Innovation, Human Resource and Skills Development

Focus Area 6: Key inhibitors

With the Forestry Industry onboard, the Masterplan will ensure that Forestry becomes a transformed industry and represents all sectors of society. 

The Department has identified three (3) plantations, namely Ramputas in Limpopo, Lehanna and Makoba in the Eastern Cape, to be transferred to the local communities in this financial year. 

This is towards achieving Focus area 2: Transformation of the sector. This is but one example of how the Masterplan will be implemented. 

The reforestation of South Africa will also contribute significantly to a decline in greenhouse gas emissions, and see us meet part of our international climate change obligations.  


 As we adapt to, and mitigate, the effects of climate change, we will be working closely with entities such as the SA Weather Service, to ensure infrastructure meets the needs of communities and that the increase in extreme weather events does not cause loss of life.  

To secure our food, avoid flood and drought damage and the health of present and future generations, we need to make sure that we meet the Constitutional Right of all South Africans to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being.  

The one area we need to scale up is the levels of public awareness about climate change and how various communities could ready themselves to deal with it. 

We need to make sure that early warning information reaches affected communities timeously, in spite of the limited resources, we have ensured that repairs and maintenance of SAWS equipment is not compromised so that we can continue to provide the requisite services. 

In order to constantly improve this service to the general public, the SAWS has recently introduced a new early warning service, called an Impact-Based Severe Weather Warning Service to provide early warning information to affected communities timeously. 

SAWS is also working on reaching the most vulnerable through community outreach workshops, using the District Delivery Model approach. 

To address climate change, the Department and partners have implemented a number of interventions at municipal level. 

I will mention some examples:

  • In the Overberg and Amatole districts a project to support building climate resilience of coastal communities, ecosystems and small-scale fishers is being implemented by WWF-South Africa.  In this project, aquaculture farming is being supported, and a mobile APP has been developed that serves as an early-warning system for small-scale fishers in the selected areas. 
  • In the Vhembe district, Women for Climate Justice South Africa is implementing a project to build climate resilience and reduce vulnerability of smallholder mango farmers in Hebron and Mutale, and surrounding communities.  Climate-smart methods of mango farming are being practised and training provided to communities. The project is looking at alternative sources of livelihoods, diversifying away from the vulnerable mango farming sector. 
  • In Sekhukhune, sustainable land use management projects are being implemented by the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Reserve non-profit organisation. The project in the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere Region focuses largely on sustainable and climate-smart agriculture practices by employing rotational grazing in the Dinkwanyane and Phiring communities. The project also aims to facilitate access to markets for communities. 

Honourable Members, the Department, in partnership with the Government of Flanders is implementing adaptation projects associated with 3 different climate risks and typologies in the Amathole, Garden Route and uMzinyathi District Municipalities in the Eastern and Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal over the next three years.  

This address water security and drought issues affecting the communities, the risk of fires and flooding and lightning. 


It is of no use to always boast that Africa has a wealth in biodiversity and wildlife, when in the reality, the majority of Black Africans continue to be deprived from being game farmers and landowners. 

Our Department’s Biodiversity Economy Programme and South Africa’s Transfrontier Conservation Areas – or TFCAs – seek to empower communities so they can manage their own eco-tourism projects within the cross-border environments. 

South Africa’s protected areas are not only important for biodiversity conservation, but also for eco-tourism and the development of the rural economy.  

The reviewed National Protected Areas Expansion Strategy aims to achieve cost effective protected areas expansion for improved ecosystem representation, ecological sustainability and resilience to climate change, while safeguarding more than 418 000 biodiversity-based jobs.  

As we recover from the severe impacts of this pandemic, we must not only address the short-term economic pain it has caused on our economy, but we must take the opportunity to ensure a more sustainable, just, and equitable society. 

Our recovery must improve the environment upon which our livelihood and well-being depend and must also tackle climate change and ensure social equity.

 The big investments in infrastructure must be measured against these values. 

While all of the measures are meant to ensure that we rebuild and restore the organisation and place it firmly on a green recovery trajectory, there are other important priorities that will be implemented over the MTEF period. 

This includes the implementation of a transformation programme while working on an organisation-wide culture change programme, which will entrench the need to work closely with communities. 

Jobs will continue to be created through the EPWP and Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme Extended Public Infrastructure Programme (EPIP) programmes. 

These jobs, albeit temporary, contribute to not only income generation, but also benefit the environment in areas of alien and invasive plant clearing and bush and veld fire management. 

Environment benefits arise from cleaning of coastal ecosystems, rehabilitation of wetlands and degraded landscapes, as well as waste management.

Some of these programmes result in the creation of new industries, for example furniture making and provision of recycling business opportunities. 

Through the EPWP programmes, SANParks will create over 23 000 FTE opportunities, 29 000 jobs for youth, 24 000 for women and 1 000 for people with disabilities. More than 2 000 SMMEs will be contracted to perform a variety of services.  These would include, with 400 of those contracted to exempted and qualifying micro enterprises. 

With regard to Park Expansion, SANParks, in partnership with WWF-SA, is undertaking a process to establish a new national park in the North East Grasslands of the Eastern Cape. 

It is important to stress that, partnerships will ensure ownership remains with communities. Meaningful economic development will be prioritised for these communities. 

This will allow SANParks to establish the basis of the national park and enable placement of staff and other resources in the region to be able to expand and support the national park without incurring the potentially prohibitive costs associated with the operational management of a larger area. 

Honourable Members,  

The protection of our environment is of the utmost importance.  This is an area that holds enormous wealth in terms of jobs and economic development with millions of people relying on nature for their livelihoods. 

The Department is supporting municipalities to include environmental priorities in Local Economic Development Plans, Disaster Management Plans and Integrated Development Plans 

Project specific interventions will include assistance with the upgrading and refurbishment of landfill sites and issuing of landfill site licenses, applications by municipalities to MIG for waste fleet funding, as well as assisting with funding and resources for waste cooperatives and waste pickers. 

Additional aid will be given in relation to the monitoring of atmospheric emissions and air quality, the management of municipal open spaces, and designation of wetlands of significance. 

Support will also be given to develop capacity and environmental education strategies to improve the competency of municipal personnel and improve environmental performance. 

The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment annually participates in the IDP analysis sessions to assess the environmental sector governance in all 278 municipal IDPs across the country. 

Honourable Members, 

South Africa is a water-stressed country, but is also a country that boast almost 300 estuaries. 

Provinces will soon become the Responsible Management Authorities for these important water bodies, which means you will have the responsibility of developing and implementing Estuarine Management Plans for the estuaries within your jurisdictions. 

While the Department has a legal mandate to manage 6 estuaries, the rest fall within the mandate of the provinces. You are, therefore, urged to enter into Agreements with willing municipalities to take over the functions of the many estuaries.

At local level you are best placed to effectively manage the estuaries. Among the plans that have already been developed, a number of challenges stand out and will require commitment and dedication and strong co-ordination of all activities to be successfully addressed.  

These include poor infrastructure in waste water treatment works which affect the effective management of estuaries. 

This infrastructure, which is managed by municipalities, is poorly maintained overloaded, causing overflows and spills.  

In conclusion, 

We do not need to be reminded that climate change is intricately linked to almost all facets of our society, particularly socio-economic progression as resources such as water, feedstock in form of food, fibre, and biodiversity.  

These areas are at the base of many sectors of the economy, which in turn affect human development aspirations of the country.  Coastal settlements directly exposed to extreme weather events, such as storm surges are at risk as well. 

We would do well to work together to address all the challenges that face us as we adapt to, and mitigate, climate change as we create a nature-based economy from which all our people can benefit, without harming the environment. 

In conclusion, I would like to thank the Honourable Minister for her leadership in the forestry, fisheries and environment sectors, especially during the past year; and to again welcome, the Department’s Director-General, Ms Nomfundo Tshabalala.  

I thank the entire team in the Department for your support in the past year.  

I thank you all.


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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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DEFF withdraws directive

25 August 2020

The Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) has revoked a section 30A directive granted to Karpowership SA Pty Ltd for activities linked to the emergency generation of electricity.

When the company had initially submitted their request it had indicated that the country’s electricity supply was under threat because of the increased pressure on the healthcare system as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. The motivation for the request was to ensure an uninterrupted supply of energy to the healthcare sector, something which Eskom was unable to guarantee.

The Department verbally approved the request on 26 June 2020.  Following receipt of confirmation that all environmental requirements would be met, the directive was confirmed in writing on 6 July 2020.

It has subsequently emerged that the company had applied for the verbal directive in advance, in preparation for the possible implementation of the government’s integrated resources plan and in the event that the company would be selected as an emergency power producer. However, this information was not disclosed to the Department when the company motivated for the verbal directive to be issued for the Section 30A activities, which are, in essence, an emergency provision.

In light of the fact that it has now emerged that there was in fact no emergency situation, the Department has withdrawn the verbal authorisation and subsequent written directive for the commencement of activities listed in terms of Section 30A of the National Environmental Management Act on 13 August 2020.

The company has since accepted the notice and indicated that it does not intend to challenge the Department’s decision to revoke the verbal directive.

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