Hon Speaker, hon Ministers, Deputy Ministers, hon members, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen, I rise on behalf of the ANC, and hopefully the Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs, to recommend to this House the adoption of amendments in the National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Bill.
Hon Speaker, the President, in the state of the nation address on 13 February 2014, reiterated that the country was still going through a difficult financial period. The President called on all of us to work together, as government, business and labour, to grow the economy at rates above 5% so that it would be possible to create the jobs we need.
The waste sector has significant unlocked potential for job creation, as well as a potential to contribute significantly to economic development. The potential contribution of the waste sector to the green economy is estimated to be in excess of R50 billion and is increasing as more technologies are introduced on scale. The job creation contribution is currently at 10 000 jobs per annum.
The National Waste Information Baseline study, which was commissioned by the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs in 2011, showed that of the 108 million tons of waste generated in South Africa, only 10% was recycled.
Approximately 97 million tons of waste each year are disposed of in landfill sites. A further study of the department in 2012 to 2013 also shows that waste collection service delivery is at 65%. Unlicensed municipal waste disposal sites are at 50%.
It is also worth noting that in South Africa the composition of household waste alone, excluding paper, is currently composed of the following: plastics, 14%; glass, 3%; cans, 4%; garden refuse, 29%; noncompostable food waste, 12%; compostable food waste, 25%; and unrecyclable general waste, 13%.
South Africa does not compare favourably to other countries as far as the recycling of waste and waste-to-energy processes are concerned. As mentioned earlier, in South Africa only 10% of waste is recycled; 2% of waste is processed in waste-to-energy processes; and 88% of waste ends up on landfill sites.
In comparison, I will mention a few countries from developed nations to show what potential there is. In Germany, 65% of waste is recycled, 33% of waste is processed in waste-to-energy processes and 2% ends up on landfill sites. In the Netherlands, 59% of waste is recycled, 38% is processed in waste-to- energy processes and 3% ends up on landfill sites.
In Belgium, 63% of waste is recycled, 33,5% is processed in waste-to-energy processes and 3,5% ends up on landfill sites.
In Sweden, 49% of waste is recycled, 47,5% is processed in waste-to-energy processes and 3,5% ends up on landfill sites.
In Denmark, 42% of waste is recycled, 52% is processed in waste-to-energy processes and 4% ends up on landfill sites.
You do not have to be a rocket scientist to see that in all these countries less than 5% of waste ends up on landfill sites and all the rest is used or reused, but in South Africa the figure is 88%. The potential is there for everyone to see.
The overall strategic approach to waste management in South Africa, and the consequent waste legislation flowing from it, is influenced and informed by the key elements of the so-called waste hierarchy, which is based on the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle and recover waste.
The management of waste through this hierarchical approach is a recognised international model for the prioritisation of waste management options.
The model offers a holistic approach to the management of waste materials. It also provides a systematic method for waste management during the waste lifecycle, in turn addressing waste avoidance, reduction, reuse, recycling, recovery, treatment and safe disposal as a last resort.
This strategy aims eventually to reduce South Africa's reliance on landfill sites for waste disposal, where we are currently dumping 88% of our waste.
The adoption of the waste hierarchy has been a policy in South Africa for some time now, but the management of waste has not always necessarily followed the hierarchical approach.
One of the reasons for this phenomenon could be that the present policy and regulatory environment possibly does not provide for the policy certainty required by industry to invest significantly in waste management technologies. This is because the policy and regulatory environment does not always effectively and consistently promote the waste management hierarchy.
This has limited the economic potential of the waste management sector. Other factors that limit the economic potential are the absence of large- scale recycling infrastructure to enable waste separation, waste diversion, recycling and recovery. There is also growing pressure on outdated waste management infrastructure, with declining levels of capital investment and maintenance.
Against this background the following challenges have been identified in the present legal framework of waste management in our country.
Firstly, there is a need to provide for an institutional mechanism for the implementation of the waste hierarchy of reuse, recycling and recovery and management of industry waste management plans and waste streams. I can also add here that Salga has brought to our attention that, of course, those needs for capacity also exist at local government level.
Secondly, there is also a need to address the funding of the integrated waste management plans and industry waste management plans, and to provide for the alignment of existing integrated plans with any new financial provisions, which may be provided for.
Thirdly, there is a need to make the provision that integrated industry waste management plans, which affect more than one province, are to be decided upon by national government after consultation with the affected provinces; whereas such plans that uniquely only affect a specific province must be decided by the relevant MEC of the province, in consultation with the national Minister.
Finally there is a need to clarify the definitions of "waste", "by- product", "reuse", "recovery" and "recycling".
Hon Speaker, the amendments to the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, being proposed today in the National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Bill, seek to address the challenges identified above and further reinforce government's hierarchal approach to waste management.
These amendments do so by providing more regularity and certainty for industry and spheres of government dealing with waste, as well as more opportunities for the utilisation and beneficiation of various waste streams, through incentives and funding through the national fiscus and otherwise.
The current National Environmental Management: Waste Act makes provision for the Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs, or an MEC dealing with the environment, to be able to call upon generators of certain waste streams to prepare and submit industry waste management plans for approval.
The industry waste management plan provides, among other things, information on the volume of waste generated; the targets for waste minimisation through waste reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery; the phasing-out of the use of specified substances; opportunities for the reduction of waste generation through changes to packaging, product design and product processes; and the extent of any financial contribution to be made to support consumer-based reduction programmes.
The issue of the latter financial contributions to be made has always been a source of controversy; and the constitutionality of financial contributions payable by members in terms of an industry waste management plan has been questioned, but never satisfactorily resolved. The Bill now resolves, among other things, the matter of funding of industry waste management plans.
The Bill empowers the Minister, in concurrence with the Minister of Finance, to publish a pricing strategy to achieve the objectives of the Act, in relation to waste management or any waste stream, within three months of the commencement of this Act.
The pricing strategy is to contain the basis and guiding methodology or methodologies for setting waste management charges, which will be used for the funding of the implementation of industry waste management plans for those activities that generate specific waste streams; the reuse, recycling or recovery of waste in previously disadvantaged communities; and various other issues that this pricing strategy will deal with.
The pricing strategy will form the basis for an Act of Parliament in the form of a money Bill. This money Bill will give effect to the necessary elements of the pricing strategy, and must be tabled within three months of the date of the publication of the pricing strategy.
This money Bill will address the imposition of waste management charges; the determination of waste management charges and the review of these waste management charges from time to time; the procedure for the collection through the national fiscal system; the procedure for the appropriation and allocation of such funds for the work of the Waste Management Bureau; and the implementation of any approved industry waste management plan for a specific waste stream as outlined in this Act.
This Bill and the money Bill, when enacted, will impact on existing industry waste management plans, for example the present tyre management waste plans. The Bill also provides for extensive transitional arrangements to allow for the revision of these existing plans in order to align them with the pricing strategy and the money Bill, when enacted.
A new provision has been inserted to provide that, when the Minister calls for industry waste management plans to be compiled, the Minister must consult every MEC of the provinces affected by the waste in question, or the province where the waste management activity is conducted, prior to taking a decision whether to approve the industry waste management plan or not.
The Act has also been amended to clarify the MEC's powers in relation to requesting and approving industry waste management plans. The MEC has the power to call for industry waste management plans in respect of any activity that affects only that province, but the MEC must obtain the concurrence of the national Minister.
However, enabling legislation alone would not be enough to unlock the economic potential of the waste sector in the absence of the necessary institutional capacity. Therefore, an implementation bureau dealing with waste management, to be known as the Waste Management Bureau, is established by this Bill in the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs.
The bureau will have to exercise its powers and perform its functions within the framework of a policy published by the Minister. The Minister is obliged to monitor the exercising of powers and performance of functions of the bureau; set service-level standards and norms for the bureau for the execution of its powers and functions; and can issue directives to the bureau in the case of noncompliance with the policy determined to ensure the effective and efficient functioning of the bureau.
The objects of the bureau are, amongst other things, to promote and facilitate the minimisation, reuse, recycling and recovery of waste; to manage the disbursement of incentives and funds derived from waste management charges for the minimisation, reuse, recycling, recovery, transport, storage, treatment and disposal of waste and the implementation of industry waste management plans.
The bureau also has to monitor the implementation of industry waste management plans and the impact of incentives and disincentives; and very importantly, at the request of Salga, to progressively build capacity within the bureau to provide specialist support for the development and implementation of municipal waste management plans and capacity-building programmes.
The bureaus's final function is to support and advise on the development of waste management plans, tools, instruments, processes, systems, norms and standards, municipal waste management plans and capacity-building programmes.
Hon Speaker, one of the main stumbling blocks in the implementation of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act is the different interpretations that exist in relation to the various existing definitions of waste and the definitions of by-product, recovery, reuse and recycling.
The Bill removes this ambiguity by deleting all definitions of waste and the definition of by-product by replacing it with a new, single, redefined definition of waste based on international precedent; and by providing for a comprehensive list of wastes as a new Schedule 3, which are included in the general definition of waste.
The Minister will further be able to declare new wastes not included in Schedule 3 as waste, or exclude or exempt wastes or waste streams in a prescribed manner. The definitions of recovery, reuse and recycle have also further been redefined to clear up ambiguity.
The Bill also provides for an enabling mechanism for the reuse, recycling and recovery of waste streams in order to promote the recycling economy within a legal framework from the beginning to the end of the waste cycle.
The portfolio committee hopes that these two major sets of amendments will remove the barriers that exist now in terms of the current Act; unleash the economic and job creation potential of the waste industry; and provide for more implementation capacity to realise the full value of the waste sector's contribution to the South African economy.
I ask the House to support the adoption of this Bill.
I shall use the time left to say a few thank-you's - firstly, to the Minister who, as usual, has been exceptionally helpful with information and in all other respects to help the committee move forward with these important processes.
I also want to thank the Director-General of the Department of Water and Environmental Affairs, Ms Nosipho Ngcaba, and her staff, particularly Mark Gordon, Alf Wills, Ishaam Abader, Linda Garlipp and Lize McCourt.
I know I have probably forgotten someone in the process, but thanks to all who have done an absolutely wonderful job.
To my long-suffering committee, which I have great respect for, I'm going to miss you when we leave here soon and I can only thank you, once again, for the integrity with which you dealt with matters and the support and respect we've shown one another. We will have a party before we leave where we will say all our goodbyes. I thank you very much. [Applause.]