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Deputy Minister Singh: opening remarks during Annual Performance Plan presentation to the Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment

09 July 2024

Honourable chairperson 
Honourable Minister George
Honourable Deputy Minister Swarts
Members of the Portfolio Committee
Chairpersons and board members / representatives and CEOs of our entities;
Director-General (DG) of the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Nomfundo Tshabalala
Senior officials of the DFFE

Through our Annual Performance Plan (APP), we recommit to our Constitutional mandate which guarantees everyone the right of access to an environment that is not harmful to their health and wellbeing and to have the natural environment protected for the benefit of current and future generations.

We will strengthen enforcement of environmental laws to combat poaching of our fauna and flora and illegal fishing while enhancing regulatory frameworks to ensures that conservation efforts go hand-in-hand with sustainable economic growth and job creation.

Our work through the Oceans and Coasts Branch stands at the forefront of our efforts, aligned with two critical outcomes: managing threats to environmental integrity and conserving ecosystems, and strengthening the interface between knowledge, science, and policy. Central to this is the implementation of the National Oceans and Coast Water Quality Monitoring Programme, aimed at safeguarding the health of our coastal waters.

Additionally, we are focused on protecting South Africa's coastal environment through the development and implementation of robust management plans for marine protected areas (MPAs), biodiversity management plans (BMPs), and other strategic coastal management initiatives.

Transformation of the Biodiversity Sector is non-negotiable. This position was cemented with the recent revision of the National Biodiversity Economy Strategy (NBES) which seeks to advance an inclusive biodiversity sector that locally beneficiate the rich indigenous biological and genetic resources for a thriving people and nature. This renewed focus on transformation was central to discussions during the 2024 Biodiversity Economy and Investment Indaba (BEII) held earlier this year in March.

With regard to our work on the conservation of Wetlands, we will ensure that the Ramsar Site Expansion Strategy is developed. In this financial year we will designate another Wetland of International Importance known as a Ramsar Site.

As we embark on this journey, I am confident that through collaboration and concerted efforts, we can achieve a harmonious balance between environmental conservation and economic prosperity for all South Africans.

I thank you.


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