MamaEarth submits your questions and some of our own to members of parliament from any political party whose members are willing to flight them. The purpose of these questions is to obtain clarification on issues relating to energy, environment, health and sustainability.

We publish the questions and answers on our web site and encourage our readers to submit material, which we convert  to parliamentary question format and submit.

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  • Energy

    1. Mrs C Dudley (ACDP) to ask Minister of Energy:

    1. Whether her department has any plans in place to prioritise the production from waste nationwide; if not, why not, if so, what plans;

    2. Whether she has been informed of an overlap of authority and competence in the arena of waste energy that prevents the initiation of a range of technologies now available in the country, both homegrown and imported, to reduce the burden of waste and increase the energy which is being generated; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?


    1. Yes, the department has in place the Working for Energy Programme which amoungst other things seeks to optimise the conversion of organic waste materials to modern forms of energy. In addiont to this, the designated National Authority within the Department received 8 Waste to Gas/Energy application. Out of the 8 supported applications, 5 where registered by the Executive Board whilst 3 are still awaiting final response.

    One of the corrective measures we committed to undertake to unblock the challanges within the CDM Waste to Gas projects is to improve the regulatory process in terms of the Municipal Finance Management Act. The Department of Energy, together with the National Treasury are currently preparing for a compulsory capacity building working for Municipalities, scheduled to be held in July 2013.

    As the Minister of Energy I am currently engaging the Gauteng Provinsial Economic Development and Infrastructure Departments and Gauteng Metropolitian municipalities to accelerate the waste to energy production that will realise job creation in the said Metros.

    2. Yes, the Department is aware of the overlaps relating to the Municipalities' ownership of the resouce (the Municipal Solid Waste) as well as the conversion of such resouce to energy, the latter being a DoE mandate. Other overlaps are addressed through thr interaction or capacity building workshop which will be jointly help with National Treasury as outlined in (1) above.

    Engagements between the DoE, DEA and the Department of Public Works with respect to the alignment of the Working for Energy with other programmes within the Extended Public Works Programme, particularly with the Working for Fire and Working for Wetlands are in progress with the aim of creating synergy among them.


    2. Mr S. J. Njikelana (ANC) to ask the Minister of Energy:

    Whether her department intends to proceed with the Basa njengo Magogo project; if not, why not; if so, in what manner? NW187E


    Yes, the Department intends to proceed with the Basa njengoMagogo (BnM) Programme. Due to the nature of the project, the Minister directed CEF (SOC) Limited to undertake the BnM Roll-out Programme on behalf of the Department. The Department will play an oversight role, assisting CEF in promoting, coordinating and managing the BnM Roll-out Programme. The Department, with the cooperation of the Department of Environmental Affairs’ (DEA) Clean Fires Campaign Programme, is also encouraging other third parties to promote BnM projects.


    3. Mr J F Smalle (DA) to ask the Minister of Energy:

    1. Whether any bidders were exempted from the Independent Power Producer (IPP) requirements on the Ingula Peaker Plant project; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, (a) which bidders and (b) why were they exempted;

    2. How many IPPs applied for the Ingula Peaker Plant project;

    3. (a) when will the Ingula Peaker Plant project be commissioned and (b) what will be its total electricity output;

    4. What are the (a) budgeted cost and (b) actual cost of the Ingula Peaker Plant project? NW238E


    1. (a) (b) Eskom was tasked to build the Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme project in 2004, there was no process to involve IPPs. The Ingula Pumped Storage Scheme project is a design, Build and Operate with contractors executing the project contracted on an Engineer, Procure and Construct basis and on multiple packages.

    2. There were no requirements for IPP participation. Construction of the project is based on Multiple packages executed on an Engineer, Procure and Construct basis.

    3. (a) Unit 3 February 2015

    Unit 4 April 2015

    Unit 2 May 2015

    Unit 1 July 2015

    4. Excluding Interest During Construction (IDC)- R25.9 billion; the revised business case was approved by the Eskom Board in November 2012 and the project is on track to be completed within this cost.

  • Environment

    1. Ms B D Ferguson (Cope) to ask the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs:

    Whether South Africa has water shortages; if not, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details?


    Currently South Africa has sufficient water to meet its present social and economic requirements. However, this does not mean that water shortages will not be experienced in future in some localities as the country is characterized by low and highly variable rainfall relative to the world average, erratic runoff, high levels of evaporation, sedimentation problems in storage dams and increasing challenges due to water pollution. All of these pose constraints on the reliability of water available for use.

    It is also worth noting that droughts (when less than expected water is received in a place), are natural phenomena and will keep occurring in the country from time to time. But it is not correct to say that the country has a water shortage when water requirements cannot be met due to excessive drought – just as much as it is not correct to say that the country has excess water when floods occur. Other challenges that may also lead to temporary water shortages include infrastructure breakdown, lack of skilled personnel and system water losses due to high levels of water wastage and inefficient use.

    In order to mitigate against such water shortage problems, my Department has developed operating rules whilst promoting improved water use efficiency to guide water use and to reduce the risk of system failure during drought spells. As such, operating rules have been established for all systems serving large economic centers, whilst their development continues for smaller schemes and dams with 20 completed in the 2012/2013 financial year. Due to current favourable conditions, no scheme is expected to experience water shortages in the short-term.

    Further to this, my Department has developed Reconciliation Strategies to cover the long term planning of water supply for all the large systems supplying the metropolitan areas and other areas where the largest portions of the economy is generated, as well as for all the other towns and villages in the country. These strategies consider future water requirement scenarios in consultation with institutions and users in the various areas taking into account all the possible measures that could be implemented to ensure enough water is available in the future and recommend a programme of implementation thereof. Strategies have been completed for the following areas:

    · Western Cape System supply area · Algoa System supply area · Amatole System supply area · KZN Coastal Metropolitan System supply area · Vaal River System supply area · Crocodile (West) System supply area · Olifants River System supply area · Bloemfontein System supply area

    The following strategies are currently under development:

    · Mbombela System supply area · Orange River System supply area · Luvuvhu/Letaba System supply area · Richards Bay System supply area · Limpopo Water Management Area Northern supply area

    The first order strategies for all the other towns and villages in South Africa have also been completed. The completed strategies and information on the current understanding of the long term prospects in each area are all available on the website of my Department under http://www.dwa.gov.za/projects.aspx[m1]


    2. Ms B D Ferguson (Cope) to ask the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs:

    (1) Whether, with reference to the recommendations of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in 2011, she or her department has taken steps to tackle the problem of (a) water pollution and (b) water sewage treatment systems; if not, why not; if so,

    (2) whether she has found that the specified steps have turned around the quality of (a) water and (b) waste-water effluent in (i) rural and (ii) peri-urban towns; if not, in each case, what is the position in this regard; if so, what are the relevant details in each case;

    (3) whether she will make a statement on the matter? NW616E


    (1) (a) An Enforcement Protocol has been established in my Department to tackle water pollution, specifically for organs of state. This is a business process for resolving non-compliance in the water sector. It is a national, uniform process that facilitates and ensures regulatory predictability and transparency, whilst following co-operative governance principles. The aim of this process is to define the steps from notification of an issue of possible non-compliance through to resolving the issue including where there are no pollution problems that needs t be attended to. The compliance Unit also deals with compliance, prevention and assurance

    (b) With respect to Waste Water Treatment Works my Department has established a Rapid Response Unit. This is a multi-disciplinary team consisting engineers and scientists, also assisted by Water Boards. The unit’s purpose is to respond to emergencies and potential crises within the sector in all aspects of the water value chain. The unit deals with any emergencies that may arise throughout the country.

    (2) Interventions have been accelerated and there are improvements in areas such as Carolina on water issues, Colesberg where a new waste water treatment works has been built and recently came into operations. These interventions have also served as a support structure where the Blue and Green Drop assessments have identified shortcomings. In Marquard the team intervened by providing interim measures such as boreholes, water tankers and installation of package plants. Assessments on waste water infrastructure have been completed and resulting in 24 Districts (comprising mainly of rural communities) being identified for priority intervention. The success of such interventions will only be known once the next annual reports are published.

    (3) The status of drinking water quality and waste water quality will be announced by me at the annual publication of Blue Drop Progress Report (for drinking water) and Green Drop Report (for waste water) in July 2013 at the 4th Municipal Water Quality Conference.

  • Health

    1. Mr MGP Lekota (COPE) to ask the Minister of Health: May 2013

    Whether the department (a) involves the i) media and (ii) public broadcaster and (b) uses any other means to implement a holistic and comprehensive policy on adolescent and youth health to advice young people on (i) sound nutrition, (ii) calcium depletion through incorrect diet choices, (iii) obesity and the consequence thereof, (iv) inappropriate use of medication and (v) the need to build up immunity; if not, why not; if so, what are the relevant details?


    (a) (i) and (ii) YES, The Department of Health, uses various media to communicate nutrition messages to the public. Media coverage include press releases and articles in magazines and newspapers, radio interviews and where possible TV interviews. In the year 2012 alone, during the National Nutrition Week NNW which is commemorated on the 9 - 15 October, the Department in collaboration with other stakeholders, focused on healthy eating among South Africans. Healthy eating messages were discussed on eleven local and regional radio stations. The messages focused on importance of healthy eating and prevention of Obesity throughout the lifecycle which also covers Youth and Adolescents.

    (b) (i) and (iii) YES, A booklet titled "Healthy eating is the way to go" and healthy eating puzzles and games were developed and shared with Department of Basic Education, these were targeting youth and are also distributed during various health awareness events.

    (ii) the department has also developed food based dietary guidelines and one of the key messages within the guidelines for healthy eating encouraging South Africans to consume dairy products with the aim of increasing intake of calcium and other nutrients.

    (iv) There has not been any publications that specifically target youth on the inappropriate use of medication. This will be the focus in the near future.

    (v) Good nutrition has been advocated as the first option for building up immunity for the general public. There hasn't been a drive to promote the use of immune boosters for youth and Adolescents. The need for use of immune boosters has not emerged as a major need among Youth and Adolescents.