Statement by Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, Anton Bredell.
Environmental Affairs and Development Planning and CapeNature steaming ahead.
Biodiversity management, job creation and improving the lives of citizens of the Western Cape were the main topics of the 2015 budget speech for the department of Environmental Affairs and Development planning, encompassing Cape Nature.
The Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning in the Western Cape, Anton Bredell delivered the budget speech in the Provincial Legislature this afternoon.
“Looking after and managing the environment well is becoming an increasingly vital yet complex job. The environment we live in in the Western Cape is under constant threat from a variety of issues including alien invasive plants and wildfires. These and many other challenges are part of the daily workload the department deals with. At the same time we aim to improve people’s lives by getting them more involved with the province around them and making them proud of the place where they’re living.”
Bredell says one CapeNature’s strategic goals for 2015-16 is to ensure biodiversity loss is reduced in the Western Cape. Other strategic goals include ensuring better access for all to our province’s unique and cultural heritage areas.
“We want to get people involved with their environment and make them proud of where they live. Lastly, CapeNature’s goals also speak to creating more economic partnership opportunities with historically disadvantaged groups and ensuring continued good governance and organizational wellbeing.”
Some highlights from the past year:
The declaration of the Knersvlakte as a protected area. In 1999 the process started with the purchase of only 7000 hectares. Today the area has grown to be a protected area encompassing 85 520 hectares. This project assists not only in conserving rare and valuable biological diversity in the Western Cape, but is also leading to job creation opportunities for people in the neighbouring communities.
The implementation of the Regional Socio-Economic Projects (RSEP) and the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading (VPUU) Programme in the Western Cape. The programme is based on the successes achieved in the City of Cape Town’s VPUU Programme in Khayelitsha since 2005, which the City is now also expanding to Hanover Park, Manenberg, Gugulethu and Nyanga. The program will now be piloted in five partner municipalities, namely Saldanha Bay, Swartland, Breede Valley, Drakenstein and Theewaterskloof. The main goal of the Provincial RSEP/VPUU Programme is to partner with active citizens to plan and implement upgrading and safety projects in poor neighbourhoods in the Province. The projects seek to make communities safer and better places to live.
The Department has increased its financial support to biosphere reserves during this financial year and also for the next MTEF period until 2017/18. The division of funds would mean that each of the biosphere reserves would receive more funding for operational support to execute their respective functions. In terms of the implementation of the UNESCO - Man and the Biosphere Programme, the Western Cape achieved another milestone in that the fourth biosphere reserve, the Gouritz Cluster Biosphere Reserve of more than 3 million hectares is soon to be approved at the Man and Biosphere International Coordinating Council meeting to be held in June 2015 in Paris, France. The three existing biosphere reserves are Kogelberg, Cape West Coast and Cape Winelands.
Some programs for the period ahead: