HON S MOODLEY MPL
Hon Speaker, Hon MEC’s, Hon Members
The IFP believes that the time has come for our environment to no longer play second fiddle to our economy and the small-minded, short-term games of the few at the expense of the many has to come to an end. This land, our land, is all we have. Why do we allow and tolerate the abuse that is continually perpetrated against our land? Why are our laws, concerning the welfare of our land, of such inconsequence that the unscrupulous fear nothing in breaking them and continue with impunity?
Air pollution remains another grave concern especially the kind generated from domestic burning of wood, coal and other substances. Our township populations are suffering from all kinds of respiratory ailments caused by this. It has been said that we are literally choking our population to death on a daily basis in the townships.
We welcome the provincial environmental outlook report released by the Hon MEC recently and we appreciate that the Department will roll out the air management plan to deal with air pollution. But the IFP says companies that are found to be in contravention of our air pollution laws and those involved in the illegal toxic dumping of waste products must be prosecuted to the fullest extent of our laws. We call for a far greater enforcement and monitoring measures from the department.
Department should also be looking into air pollution caused by mining companies in the province. If the mine is a surface mine, and there is ambient wind that is carrying this freshly-fractured dust and your house is covered with dust and you run your finger along the surfaces and you find it, then there is some exposure there and there probably should be some concern.
The IFP is concerned about illegal sand mining in most parts of the Province as this causes serious environmental damage and the growing risk of severe erosion damage to coastal. Again, we urge the MEC to ensure that local communities are benefiting from mines operating in their areas. There is a need to ensure that benefits derived from a mine are distributed properly throughout the community, as a lack of distribution can be a risk for companies, through popular uprisings and protests by local people demanding greater benefits.
Again, when the MEC was a guest speaker to Izindaba Talk Show hosted by Igagasi FM on the 18th of April 2018 and when responding to complaints from listeners, he promised that he will investigate the issues of sand mining in Dududu in the Mphambanyoni River, sand mining in Ward 2 in Camperdown under Inkosi Mdluli and one coal mine operating in Mahlabathini where communities are not benefiting from these mine and will this be a deterrent?
The IFP calls for more concerted efforts to eradicate rhino poaching. My suggestion on this issue of rhino poaching is to gather intelligence firstly so we can take decisions from an informed position. State security needs to gather intelligence on rhino poaching in South Africa and such intelligence would enable us to nip this problem in the bud. We simply cannot allow our rhinos to be poached as they are part of our heritage.
The Inkatha Freedom Party calls for a nation-wide investigation into possible collusion between wildlife rangers and poachers who are killing rhinos. We are of the view that such an investigation should be conducted in order to ascertain whether there is any collusion between rangers and poachers. No one should be spared in the fight to protect rhinos, which are South Africa’s key attraction in marketing tourism facilities to the world.
It is high time that government start prosecuting rhino poachers effectively and punishing them severely. Poachers keep on killing the animals because they are unlikely to be caught. The kingpins continue to operate with impunity on many game reserves. The corruption, incompetence and leniency of the system must not be allowed to continue unabated.
We also urge courts to ensure that the punishment befits the severity of the crime and perpetrators must not be allowed to walk away and continue destroying our heritage.
EVERYONE MUST PROTECT OUR ENVIRONMENT
Nature reserves and national parks are not enough to prevent a catastrophic decline in nature. Because of the complex relationship society has with nature, it is obvious that our response to saving it must extend from every possible quarter too. With an increasing global footprint, mankind is intensifying the crisis for wildlife, but as individuals we can all be part of the solution for saving it too.
MORE EDUCATION ABOUT ENVIRONMENT AT SCHOOLS
We must educate and encourage young children about the importance of conserving nature. We must empower them to form green teams and encourage teachers to develop whole-school approaches to reducing, reusing and recycling, and helping children to know how to make better choices for the future.
The future of our communities, natural resources and ecosystems depend on how well we understand value and protect the habitats and species that sustain our world. We need to be proactive and give young learners the tools to observe the effects of a changing climate for themselves. It’s one more way to invest in the future of our planet and let our children shape the world that soon will be theirs. This is our world. It is our responsibility to cherish it. We must all adopt green living as it is the only solution to minimise the damage to our environment.
Climate change is not a distant threat: it is already costing the people of this country severely. The intensity and destructive force of these storms should come as no surprise. It is just foreshadowing for a future we have to prepare ourselves for. Seas are getting closer and closer to where we live. I believe that there is an urgent need for more climate change awareness outreach programmes to ensure that everyone knows what climate change is about and what continued neglect and abuse will yield.
Furthermore, we also urge businesses to go green to benefit both themselves and the environment. KwaZulu-Natal is affected by climate change, so using renewable energy is necessary to protect the environment. Climate change requires a shift in thinking and behaviour. There are costs to inaction and there are risks if we don’t plan ahead. We must consider vulnerabilities caused by changing weather patterns in areas such as public safety and emergency response, roads and other infrastructure, buildings and home.
Illegal dumping is a huge societal ill that we need to be more responsible about. The role and participation of the public is important to the success of any endeavour, especially municipal solid waste management that affects the environment, economy and human health.
Dumped waste is an eyesore. The sight and smell of trash can reduce tourism and community revenue, which in turn, can result in losing funds that can help deal with the issue. This is unfortunate because the clean-up of trash takes resources such as money and manpower that can be used for better environmental care efforts rather than in something that is thoughtless and completely preventable. We call for more awareness on illegal dumping. We must be tough on those found to be involved in illegal dumping and stem the tide of irresponsible behaviour that continues to destroy our environment.
The IFP supports this budget.
I thank you