The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning 2011 budget speech delivered by Western Cape Provincial MEC of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Mr Anton Bredell
29 Mar 2011
Honourable Premier of the Western Cape
Provincial Cabinet Colleagues Members of the Provincial Legislature Invited guests
Ladies and gentlemen
Welcome and thank you for affording me the opportunity to address you in my capacity as your MEC for Environmental Affairs and Development Planning.
Stephen Covey inspired my delivery this afternoon when he said, “we simply assume that the way we see things is the way they really are or the way they should be. And our attitudes and behaviours grow out of these assumptions”.
Honourable Speaker, Premier Helen Zille during her address spoke of this province as the Western Cape of our dreams. This dream can only be realised through the advent of safety, individual opportunity and a growing economy that paves the way to prosperity. I believe that every individual, in wanting this dream to shape his or her own destiny by living a life truly valued, needs to be empowered by the promise of this administration.
Each individual contributes to the tapestry of our diverse communities. The dreams we have for ourselves today, will be no different to those aspired to by our future generations and children. The Western Cape needs to be that context within which these dreams are fulfilled. As this administration progresses to a vision of an open opportunity society for all, it is my responsibility to ensure that the environment within which this promise must grow, needs to be protected, preserved and sustainably managed so as to allow the dreams of our future generations to become a reality.
A living environment where each child can feel safe, has access to basic health services and has the opportunity to be educated must not be an assumption of an ideal world; it needs to be an everyday reality that we see and experience. This is when we can expect our citizens to share in our Western Cape of dreams.
Speaker afford me the opportunity to engage your thoughts on a progressive recap. During my 2010 budget address I spoke of various deliverables that will come to pass under my leadership for the environmental portfolio. Against a background of the advancement of service delivery for all the citizens of the Western Cape, this department has the stated objective of:
Mainstreaming Sustainability and Optimising Resource-use Efficiency (SO7)
The purpose of this strategic objective is to ensure that the provincial government of the Western Cape (PGWC) integrates sustainability and resource-use efficiency into the activities and sphere of influence of all departments. Our vision is to advance the building of our Province into dignified places which reflect energetic towns and settlements brimming with potential and realised shared economic growth.
Air quality management
The Western Cape Air Quality Management Plan was developed and is currently being implemented. I am proud to announce that the three working groups responsible for the implementation of this plan were established and, that an Air Quality Officer’s Forum is held on a quarterly basis. Specific cases such as air quality management at saw mills and fish meal factories are closely monitored. Citizens have a right to clean air.
Ambient air quality is currently being monitored and reported on in Maitland, George, Malmesbury and Worcester where ambient air quality monitoring stations are operational. Two additional fully equipped monitoring and research stations have now been procured enabling the expansion of the monitoring network to Oudtshoorn, Vissershok, Danabaai, Stellenbosch and St Helena Bay and we plan to have 13 such stations in the Network by 2015.
The first State of Air Quality Management Report for the Western Cape was produced during 2010/11. This is not only a first for the province, but was also a first for the country. This report provides an account of the State of Air Quality Management within the Western Cape and reports on the progress made with regards to implementing of the National Air Quality Act within the province during the period 2008 to 2010. This report will provide the public with a snap shot of progress made in managing and improving air quality within the province. A report on the State of Air Quality Management in the Province will be published annually.
2010/11 brought on a new era for atmospheric emissions licensing in the country and province, with municipalities and province becoming the licensing authorities. This has not come without its challenges, and during 2010/11, my department provided further training and support to municipalities in terms of implementing the Atmospheric Emissions Licensing (AEL) function. This relationship will continue in 2011/12, with further training planned for municipalities to take on this task with enthusiasm and competence.
It is a statutory requirement for provinces and municipalities to develop integrated waste management plans. Such a plan is being finalised for the province. All great plans also need to be assessed and will be submitted to the National Minister for approval. Speaker, a monitoring and evaluation tool was formulated and tested during pilot implementation with ten municipalities. This tool is now managed to monitor and evaluate the integrated waste management plans for all 30 municipalities.
I also alluded to the need and urgency that immediate solutions must be found, before waste management reaches a turning point in the province. We do take note of the municipalities who strive to make the necessary effort to elevate waste management within its jurisdictions.
Land-based Pollution Management: The Provincial Programme of Action is the first of its kind in South Africa towards managing pollution impacts at provincial level in order to achieve acceptable marine water quality through effective integrated government coordination, monitoring and rehabilitation programmes, guidelines and best management practices. Activities as identified in the action plan will be implemented during 2011/12.
The mercury Inventory which is to be finalised during 2011/12 will strengthen the information base required for developing and monitoring implementation of the Mercury Risk Management Plan. This will place the Western Cape at the forefront of managing mercury, and will be in line with any legally binding instrument to be developed at the global level.
Honourable Speaker, I also addressed the house on the matter of the Atlantis Landfill site. Succeeding a high court decision on 11 May 2010, this matter was referred to my office for reconsideration. I have requested that the City of Cape Town appoint an independent environmental assessment practitioner to compile a supplementary environmental impact report. This report will then be subject to a public participation process, after which time this matter can be afforded the necessary attention.
Honourable Speaker, the White Paper on Sustainable Energy for the Western Cape Province was approved by Provincial Cabinet during 2010 and promulgated in the Provincial Gazette on 20 September 2010. My department has subsequently drafted a draft Western Cape Sustainable Energy Bill which is in the final stages of development. This bill will outline a more sustainable energy mix for the Western Cape that will help address energy security, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, make the economy more competitive through energy efficiency and the promotion of the green energy economy and advance marginalised communities’ access to energy.
My department developed a Regional Environmental Assessment for the placement of wind farms in the Western Cape. The national Department of Environmental Affairs is currently undertaking a similar study and the two are in the process of being aligned. At present, according to the national Department of Environmental Affairs, they are assessing in excess of
70 wind farm applications and 60 PV applications. With the National Energy Regulator of South Africa still needing to provide clarity on the energy mix allocation for energy generated from renewables and with clarity still required on the national feed-in tariffs, there are likely to be significant delays for EIA approvals from national Department of Environmental Affairs.
We continue to pursue the roll-out of solar water heaters in close association with local government bodies. We are actively working with partners to develop a financing model and payback scheme for the mass rollout of solar water heaters to medium and high income homes and will continue to support municipalities in rolling out free solar water heaters to impoverished communities.
Last year the department installed 540 Solar Water Heaters in a low income community of Darling. The residents who received these SWH were for the first time experiencing the comfort of having warm water for various household activities. The project was implemented with financial assistance from international donors (Danish Royal Government). Through the Darling installation, fifteen new artisans were skilled and the new trainees participated in installing the 540 SWH. Out of the 15, the service provider concluded a two-year contact with one of the trainees to maintain/service the SWH
During the 11/12 financial year, we will be creating a database to track and monitor the implementation of energy saving and efficiency programmes across the province. We are also in the process of developing a tool to help local governments understand their energy usage and potential ways in which they will be able to save energy or use renewable energy sources. Sustainable living training was provided to the hospitality industry in 2010 (linked to the World Cup) through workshops, which were attended by approximately 500 people.
We are actively working with other provincial departments to support improved energy efficiency in their functions.
Honourable Speaker, this public entity generates an estimated R15 million in tourism income. It is a catalyst and medium that provides access to the citizenry of the Western Cape, South Africa and indeed the world to enjoy the protected areas for leisure and outdoor activities while at the same time stimulating the local economy.
Honourable Speaker, CapeNature is the custodian of the water catchment areas in our Province; and this team has the responsibility to maintain the sustainable integrity of the ecosystem services offered by these areas.
A society defined by opportunity is a society in which its citizens enjoy employment opportunities. The implementation of CapeNature operations stimulates employment opportunity and encourages skill development. An estimated 26 758 hectares of alien vegetation have been cleared. These clearing operations increase the skills and equity of the local communities to render higher levels of service to agricultural and commercial levels. In concluding the third quarter 128 257 person days of work had been created.
Honourable Speaker, I have provided you a glimpse of significant progress and milestones achieved under my leadership since assuming office. This progress would at all not have been possible without the dedication, commitment and determination of the very officials who join me in this house today. Permit me to also extend my sincere gratitude to the individuals who are an extension of these leaders. The progress to make the Western Cape of dreams a reality is because of you.
I have always maintained that the environmental and planning portfolio is a challenge. If anything, may I ask that from this delivery you take with you the following: It is imperative that we find the right balance between the environment and economic growth. This is the balance between food on the table and the inheritance of our children.
Earlier, I spoke of how we simply allow our assumptions to blind us to the reality of what should be as opposed to questioning that which can be. Prosperous people are people that are educated, healthy and safe, but most importantly to me, people that live in a healthy environment within which these elements exist.
It is with a gracious heart that I, together with the combined management teams have accepted the fiscal allocation of R 351.3 million rand to administer the environmental mandate for this province as we strive to create the Western Cape of dreams.
It is an honour to serve the people of the Western Cape, but with this responsibility comes the task of decision making. It is also no secret that I have received a wide range of critique regarding my decisions, and I have assured myself that this is only the beginning. This precarious situation has prompted me to ask, the following of myself:
What does it mean to do the right thing? Honourable speaker, it means measuring everything you do to justness, reasonableness and honesty. If your actions fulfil these expectations, then you’re doing the right thing.
Speaker, our environment is under threat. The flattened sand dunes, illegal dumping of chemicals in rivers and on secluded land, the illegal storage and dumping of medical waste as well as the evidence that there is an increase in the number of illegal structures being erected, bear testament to this threat I speak of.
We administer legislation to protect the environment for an estimated 5.3 million people. In 2009/10 the teams conducted 27 (twenty-seven) joint investigations in the Cape Town area and 8 (eight) in the George area.
In light of this, I am excited to announce that the first quarterly meeting for the Western Cape Environmental Crime Forum was held on 14 March 2011.
It is the aim of my department to produce constitutionally based planning legislation. Legislation that promotes economic growth while ensuring that past injustices are redressed and that our future generations are the recipients of a preserved environment. Legislation in its true sense can only be appreciated by our people when the efficacy of implementation by all relevant stakeholders have the same understanding of what outcome the legislation needs to bring about.
The legislation will bear testament to the ability and commitment of this administration to prioritise the policy matters that will build a Western Cape within which the socio-economic factors that influence growth, are balanced with the imperative to protect and preserve our environment. Honourable Speaker, planning must be a well informed process.
Climate change considerations and planning
The impacts of rising sea levels and extreme events have potentially devastating implications for the planning and development of the coastal regions. This is exacerbated by the increased intensity and frequency of flooding and wind generated storm surges, which must be proactively planned for.
Honourable Speaker, these are the realities that cannot be ignored if we want to sustain our livelihoods. So with due consideration to protect coastal public property, private property and public safety my Department has commenced a project to develop coastal set-back lines for the shoreline of the Overberg District Municipality
Effective planning challenged
Honourable Speaker, planning the right way, in the interest of our people, essentially means that we must plan with due regard that communities need to have access to basic services. Cooperative governance must be underpinned by a consensual understanding of how to use legislation and the relevant tools to achieve just this.
My department’s DFU unit is committed to providing development facilitation services in order to mainstream sustainability development in municipalities and other organs of state. The team have committed to facilitating 24 internal and external capacity building workshops during this financial year to address the human agency challenge in the different spheres of government.
I applaud the Spatial Planning Directorate and the Development Facilitation Unit in my department, for their involvement in the Built Environment Support Programme (BESP) which was specifically launched, in partnership with the Department of Human Settlements to strengthen the Spatial Development Frameworks (SDF’s) and the Integrated Human Settlements Plans (IHSP’s) as a crucial component of municipal IDP’s.
The programme is now at the point where round 3 involving an additional 8 municipalities, needs to be initiated. I have instructed my department to obtain approval in this coming year to employ the open bidding process for the implementation of the third round of the BESP, while similarly addressing the remaining tasks identified in the Round 2 gap analysis. The intention is to align the Human Settlement Plans (HSP’s) and SDF’s with the third generation IDP’s which are currently in preparation. The municipalities involved in the third Round (gap analysis) of the BESP are: Oudtshoorn, Beaufort West, Kannaland , Langeberg, Swellendam, Matzikama, Cederberg and Swartland.
Provincial Spatial Development Framework (PSDF)
During the new financial year the department will initiate the review of the PSDF in order to align the document with new policy developments in the national sphere. The department commenced with the drafting of a provincial spatial plan as the first project to be embarked upon after approval of the PSD in 2009.
The spatial plan will:
Growth Potential Study of Towns
- build on the composite plan as contained in the PSDF
- be of a more detailed scale, in order to spatially reflect the biodiversity elements
- spatially indicate capital investment of the other provincial departments as well as those national departments with regional offices in the Western Cape
- be an instrument for the PGWC to ensure coordinated and sustainable investment in the province.
The initial results of the review and update of the Growth Potential Study of Towns, 2004, which commenced in early 2010, did not reveal any unexpected results. The study is not completed yet due to the request from Cabinet to go ahead with a second phase in order to identify the cross-boundary geographical relationships between settlements and how it would impact on development potential and social needs and look at:
- What types of interventions are needed to stimulate growth and reduce social needs
- Which are the potential roles of government sectors in implementing interventions
- What is the potential role of the private sector and civil society in implementing interventions.
Biosphere Reserve Programme
During this financial year the department as well as the Western Cape have reached two milestones. The Western Cape Biosphere Reserves Bill was introduced in the Provincial Parliament on 9 March 2011. When it becomes legislation, the Western Cape and South Africa would become the first country in the world to have adopted specific legislation in terms of which biosphere reserves would be regulated.
The second milestone which was reached was the submission on 15 March 2011 of the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve application to United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), via the Department of Environmental Affairs, for designation as a biosphere reserve in terms of the Man and Biosphere Programme. If all goes well with the nomination process the Western Cape could by the end of 2011, welcome the fourth biosphere reserve, after the Kogelberg, Cape West Coast and the Cape Winelands, in its midst.
Legislative progress – waste management
Honourable Speaker, on the acceptance of new legislation it is inevitable that cascading responsibilities will be allocated to provincial administrations. On 6 December 2010 the Premier assented to the Western Cape Health Care Waste Management Amendment Act. This legislative framework has been a progressive project managed by my department. During this financial year, the team leading this milestone will finalise and obtain approval of the draft Health Care Waste regulations.
Water resource management
Honourable Speaker, our socio-economic activities continue to exacerbate the effects of climate change. My primary concern is the urgent need for us to adapt the manner in which we conduct our day to day business. What we do today will have significant implications for the environment within which we want future generations to enjoy the Western Cape of dreams. Water is a basic human right, but more importantly it is a responsibility.
The need for joint provincial and national action towards managing the province’s water resources has led to the kick off of the development of an Integrated Water Resource Management Action Plan for the Western Cape which will be fully functional during this financial year. During 2010/11, the Status Quo on Water Resource Management in the province was identified. The next Phase, due in 2011/2012, will culminate in the Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) Action Plan for the province. This plan will pave the way for guiding activities towards meeting the growth and development needs of the region, as well as to protect water resources from environmental degradation.
Speaker, finally, I have something that I have been wanting to look at very seriously and that is how are we going to start moving our efforts away from the so-called red tape to red carpet in terms of a wide range of approvals issued by government. We are at a crossroads where we must ask ourselves how do we as government reclaim the high ground in this process. Have we not reached the stage where applications for certain approvals become “time tested” and by this quite simply put if, certain decisions are not made within a prescribed time frame the approval is automatic. We as government have a contributory role to play in all spheres and let’s commit ourselves to reducing unnecessary time wasting delays.
In closing may I express my sincere thanks and appreciation towards the Head in my ministry Marius Du Randt and his team for their on-going support and service which is quite invaluable and to the Acting Head of the Department, Mr Theo Gildenhuys and his team of dedicated and focussed officials, also a very big thank you for their sterling efforts in serving the people of our province.
Speaker, we are all custodians of our natural and built environment and it’s a role we should be proud of and cherish. We need to understand and realise that we are all endeavouring to reach the same dream in the Western Cape. We are very privileged to live in a region with such wonderful people and such natural beauty and the time for joining hands in the pursuit of this dream is now. I would like to issue a challenge here today to all to take ownership of this dream and let’s do it together!
Source: Western Cape Local Government
Issued by: Western Cape Environmental Affairs and Development Planning
29 Mar 2011
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