Province does not take the environment seriously

Patricia O’Neill-Coutts

DA Provincial Spokesperson on Environment & Conservation

The Northern Cape provincial government does not value our natural environment.

In the 2012/2013 financial year, the environment and conservation department achieved zero targets under the climate change programme.  During today’s annual report presentation at the legislature, the department emphasized that climate change remains a so-called unfunded mandate, hence they have no funds available to implement the climate change response strategy.  As a result, they also have no funds to develop a provincial Green House Gas inventory or a carbon reduction strategy.

The province must self-fund projects to reach these important targets.

The department currently only employs nine compliance and enforcement officers, while they need at least 20 to effectively clamp down on poaching and smuggling of animals across our borders. Due to funding issues, the province also does not have a facility for rescued animals and must depend on a private facility for this purpose.

The DA is of the view that we need funding, planning and action to protect our environment for future generations. But until government affords our environment the attention it deserves, the department’s unqualified opinion with compliance matters, will simply not translate into the sustainable protection and conservation of our environment that the Northern Cape so desperately needs.