MEC Anton Bredell congratulates the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning on work done to plan for climate crisis and to save the environment
Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning today congratulated the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning for its commitment to planning for the climate crisis and its focus on protecting the Western Cape’s natural heritage. Bredell was speaking during the Department’s Annual Report review in the Provincial Legislator.
Bredell said: “The climate crisis is here, and it will consume us if we are not ready. The Department of Environmental Affairs and Development planning is central to our efforts in this regard.”
Bredell said it is noteworthy that the Department scored more than 100% on its performance indicators. “This exceptional performance was achieved notwithstanding severe human resources challenges, so I want to thank all the officials who went above and beyond what was expected of them.”
Bredell said good progress is being made with the provincial roadmap to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. We will soon publish our first report on an emissions pathway to 2050. This document will be a critical roadmap guiding all economic development as we move into the future.”
The 3rd iteration of the Western Cape Air Quality Management Plan (2021 – 2025) was released this year, focusing on air quality, air pollution and climate change. An investment of R10million over the past 2 years to upgrade 12 atmospheric monitoring stations will allow the Department to support Western Cape municipalities to know in real time what the status of their air quality is, and to assist them in drafting their individual Air Quality Plans.
The Department also continued its work to protect, amongst others, the Berg River through the Berg River Improvement Programme. This year saw an agreement signed with the Danish government to work together on improving the quality of water that 15 wastewater plants are releasing into the Berg River. The Berg River estuary was also recognised as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance this year. “We are receiving international recognition for our ecological assets, and I want to commend the good work the Department is doing in this regard,” Bredell said.
The Department also made progress with 29 estuary management plans for the Western Cape. “Estuaries are critical ecological infrastructure, providing significant services to people and the economy. Research done by the Department showed that due to changing weather patterns, the flow volume of the Berg River has changed to the extent that we will need to revise our assumptions on the volume of water needed to maintain the ecological health of the entire river system.”
The Department’s environmental entity, CapeNature also performed well in the year under review. “CapeNature generated R50.6 million from eco-tourism, which is a record for the entity. It also added 33 352 hectares of land to its conservation estate, reaffirming its commitment to secure and conserve our natural heritage for generations to come.”
Bredell said the Western Cape Biodiversity Act is finalised. “This Act, together with all relevant national environmental legislation should now put to bed the call for an Environmental Commissioner in the Province. Our argument remains that such a Commissioner would be an expensive duplication of functions already catered for in current national legislation.”