South Africa’s environmental affairs department has accessed US $80 million from international sources to assist in preserving flora and fauna amidst the impact of
climate change, Minister Edna Molewa said on Thursday.
“US 30.6 million of this total has already been approved and a further US$49,8m already endorsed. These internationally-supported initiatives will promote organic waste-to-energy and other low-carbon technologies in small and medium-scale enterprises,” Molewa told reporters in Cape Town.
She was addressing journalists at Parliament before presenting her department’s budget vote in the National Assembly.
Molewa said South Africa was gradually moving towards the use of greener energy, with a target set for 2030.
“By 2030, South Africa will have an efficient, lower-carbon public transport system that makes everyday use of private vehicles an unnecessary extravagance. By 2030 our houses, offices and commercial building will no longer be energy drains, but rather energy sources – supplying electricity to communities through smart meters and smart grids,” she said.
She said through the climate change response policy and the green economy strategy, Africa’s industrial and economic powerhouse would continue to work diligently to meet targets on emissions reduction and air quality standards with the ultimate aim of transitioning to a low-carbon, climate resilient economy and society.
Molewa said in a bid to boost the buoyant tourism sector, her department had an initiative to improve service delivery and base infrastructure in the country’s national parks.
“We are also repairing flood damaged bulk infrastructure. An amount of R950 million has been allocated to SANParks for infrastructural development, while another R42 million has been allocated for road improvements for the period of 2015/16 to 2017/18. An additional R12 million has been allocated to repair of SANParks’ flood damaged infrastructure for 2015/16,” she said.
“These initiatives create sustainable employment for many communities adjacent to national parks in remote and rural areas; they also contribute to driving rural and regional sustainable development.”
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A new system aimed at improving the competitiveness of South Africa’s mining sector came into effect on Monday, 8 December, the departments of Mineral Resources and Environmental Affairs said in a joint statement.
The One Environmental System is aimed at streamlining licensing processes for mining, environmental authorisations and water use.
It represents the “government’s commitment to improve the ease of doing business and further enhance South Africa’s global competitiveness as a mining investment jurisdiction,” the statement said. Under the system, the minister of mineral resources will be responsible for issuing environmental authorisations and waste management licences for mining and related activities.
Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa will be the appeal authority for these authorisations. The National Environmental Management Laws Amendment Act, known as Nemla 3, is part of a suite of Acts that form the One Environmental System.
While passed in September, it was only implemented from 8 December to ensure all complementary legislation, including certain sections of the Minerals and Petroleum Resources Development Amendment Act (MPRDA), were in place.
Permits will now be issued simultaneously by environmental affairs, mineral resources and water and sanitation within a fixed time frame – a maximum of 300 days.
If a decision is appealed, an additional 90 days will be granted to finalise the process. “Until all the legislative amendments have been effected to formalise these timeframes, the timeframes stipulated in [the he National Environmental Management Act] Nema will be applicable,” the statement said.
Until the regulations regarding residue stockpiles and residue deposits as well as the financial provision for rehabilitation regulations are finalised, the MPRDA regulations remain in force.
Minister of Mineral Resources Ngoako Ramatlhodi can now appoint mineral resource inspectors, who will have the same powers as environmental management inspectors to enforce the provisions of the National Environmental Management Act.
The system was first announced by President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation address in February.