Minister Creecy officially launches Gauteng Working for Water (WFW) Environmental Programmes
Lesedi Local Municipality, Gauteng Province, 17 November 2023
Executive Mayor of Sedibeng District Municipality, Cllr. Lerato Maloka,
MMC for Community Services, Cllr Thulani Mashinini,
Members of the media,
Today, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment is launching a five-year programme worth R2.67 billion rand to implement the Working for Water Programme which aims toeradicate invasive alien plants in our communities. Over the next 5 years, we aim to create 38 839 work opportunities every year primarily in rural communities throughout the country.
Biological invasions by alien plants are a major threat to biodiversity and ecosystem services, water resources and sustainable livelihoods. Invasive species exacerbate floods, droughts and wildfires, and have negative impacts for the forestry and agriculture sectors.
“In short, biological invasions will exacerbate the effects of context of climate change and the extreme weather events associated with global warming,” said Minister Creecy. “It is for this reason our department is happy today to announce this five-year programme to combat alien species and the damage they do to our land, wetlands and rivers,” the Minister added.
The South African National Biodiversity Institute’s (SANBI) 2019 Report on Biological Invasions and their management details the impact of invasive species on South Africa’s biodiversity and economy. Invasive trees use 3-5% of South Africa’s runoff water every year, which is a significant loss for a water-scarce country. Many species of invasive plants are also less drought-resistant than indigenous ones and pose a greater fire risk. By displacing indigenous species and creating single species plantations, alien invasives also undermine our country’s rich biodiversity which in turn negatively impacts our tourism potential.
Invasive species also interfere in natural processes that can help mitigate the effects of natural disasters through the provision of ecosystem services, examples being the role estuaries, wetlands and indigenous forests play during natural disasters such as cyclones and floods.
“Thus, by clearing waterways and managing the spread of invasive species we are restoring natural habitats and simultaneously restoring ecosystem services that will assist us in the fight against the effects of climate change,” said Minister Creecy.
To ensure sustainable clearing of alien species on a regular basis as well as sustained public employment, the department has made is contracting over a longer five-year period, as opposed to short-term contracts in the previous cycle. For local small enterprises in rural communities this also offers a reliable revenue that can assist the enterprises to invest their businesses to ensure future opportunities.
“This means that the Working for Water Programme is growing and is advancing the inclusion of previously disadvantaged enterprises to participate more meaningfully in the value chain of clearing invasive alien species. In this way the Working for Water Programme advances transformation and prioritises the inclusive economy policies of government,” said Minister Creecy.
The Department has committed R2.67 billion to clear hectares whilst creating 194 195 work opportunities over a five-year period.
Today marks the launch of the Gauteng Working for Water Programme to the value of R152 million to implement projects across the five Gauteng municipalities namely, the City of Tshwane, City of Joburg, West Rand, Sedibeng, and the City of Ekurhuleni. In Gauteng, the Working for Water Programme will clear 74 781 hectares over a period of five years, starting from 2023/2024. During this five-year period, we are aiming to create 13 615 work opportunities through the EPWP model.
The provincial profile of the budget, work opportunities and hectares for clearing over a five-year period
|Province||Budget||Work opportunities (p/a)||Work opportunities (5yrs)||Hectares (5 yrs)|
|Free State||156 649,00|
|Northern Cape||177 891,00|
|Eastern Cape||297 000,00|
|Western Cape||191 598,00|
|Total||2 677 880,00|
|1 203 409,00|
The department also collaborates with its entities, the South African National Parks (SANParks) to implement the Working for Water Programme. SANParks: the budget allocated is R 947 710 million to create 90 710 work opportunities through clearing 431 237 hectares over a five-year period
Programme director, let me conclude by taking this opportunity to thank everyone who participated in this launch today: Executive Mayor of Sedibeng District Municipality, Cllr. Lerato Maloka, Mayor of Lesedi Local Municipality, Cllr. Mluleki Nkosi in absentia, all officials from national, provincial and local government and most importantly our Working for Water participants who will be in the forefront as we eradicate invasive alien plants in our communities.
For media queries contact:
Cell: 082 611 8197
Note to editors
The Environmental Programmes portfolio in the Gauteng province also includes the Cleaning and Greening campaigns which aim to create more work opportunities through the Extended Public Works Programme; to make a meaningful impact on waste management services, greening local communities and creating youth employment. This campaign has enabled more waste management capacity within municipalities while clearing litter and illegal dumping sites.
The 2023/24 budget for the Cleaning and Greening campaign in the Sedibeng District Municipality is R13 900 000 with 374 jobs created. Lesedi Local Municipality has been allocated a budget of R4 624 380 for the 2023/2024 financial year with 125 jobs created. The project runs for 12 months and started this month.