Environmental Budget Vote: Debate 30
By Connie Zikalala MP

 

National Assembly: Cape Town, 20th April 2011 

Honourable Chairperson:

 

South Africa is a land with both a rich and diverse environment.  Marine and terrestrial animal life abounds. The Drakensberg Mountains, the forests of Knysna ,the mighty Orange river, the arid dryness and harsh beauty of the Karoo, the bio-diversity of our wetlands, we have it all within South Africa. This land is for our use, for our shelter and for our economic benefit, but this land must also be cared for and looked after, not only for our children but also because we have a solemn custodial duty to the planet and all who live upon her.

 

Pollution Management, particularly the poor water quality of our rivers must be addressed. Poor water quality not only leads to water borne diseases but also damages agriculture, which in turn hinders economic growth. Our oceans must also be protected and rapid response measures must be in place to curb the effects of any oil spills upon our coastal and marine environment if and when they occur.

 

Our wetlands such as iSimangaliso must be well protected and monitored. They are a rich source of biodiversity, a jewel in the crown of the South African environment, and must be treated as such.

 

Marine and terrestrial wildlife poaching is still out of control. We need to adequately resource our task teams appointed to stop the poaching of our wildlife before it is too late. The IFP call for much stricter anti-poaching legislation, harsher sentences with longer jail terms and bigger fines. Poaching syndicates are enormously wealthy and the small fines and jail terms meted out by our courts have little or no effect on them.

 

Rhino poaching is still a great concern but we are glad to see the department taking steps to address it. The assistance of the Defence force and the establishment of special task teams to combat rhino poaching are long overdue but very welcome. Poaching syndicates must identified, infiltrated and shutdown by our law enforcement agencies and we should work closely together with international law enforcement agencies in order to achieve these goals.

 

The fire fighters who continuously battle raging mountain and forest fires must be well resourced and afforded every kind of logistical assistance with the protection of both our flora and fauna.

 

SANPARKS must also address the safety issue of visitors within the parks. Table Mountain is one such area of concern with frequent attacks on tourists. More must be done to ensure the safety of our tourists and citizens when visiting our national parks.

 

Another point of concern to the IFP is the high cost of entry to SANPARKS sites for our citizens. These costs form a barrier to entry which the ordinary South African cannot afford. We would like to see some form of rebate for South African citizens so that all may enjoy the natural beauty of our land.

 

The IFP would like to see a zero tolerance approach adopted by the Department when it comes to the destruction of our environment, its flora and fauna. We want to see adequately staffed and resourced environmental offices and we want to see the Department meet its Millennium Development goals.

 

We wish the Minister and her department all the best for the coming year.

 

 

Contact:
Mrs Connie Zikalala MP
083 282 8384an>