From the Endangered Wildlife Trust’s (EWT) perspective, the good news coming from the National Budget Speech is that there will be increased spending of about R800 million on the environment in areas of, for example, development of the green economy, wildlife trafficking and trade, air quality and water management and of course the coast line, which is in dire need of increased financial support. Wildlife trade urgently needs additional resources at all levels from anti-poaching and on-the-ground field staff/rangers, to many more investigators and Environmental Management Inspectors, and magistrates and prosecutors trained in environmental legislation.
It is also good that Acid Mine Drainage is being mentioned and given a budget of about R250 million. We now need to see how this will be spent, by when, by whom, and to do what.
Clearly, government departments need to be able to spend money wisely and in ways that make a difference and this is what we now need to see. If money alone was enough to solve all the country’s problems, we would not have service delivery strikes, etc. The R2.2 billion to be spent on environmental employment may well be the best news but again we need to see when and where. Will it assist to fill vacant posts and create more ‘green jobs’ in line with the mentions of the green economy in the budget speech? Will it go into capacity building and skills development?
It is also good to see that public works has an allocation for environmental spend and if this stimulates increased job creation around environmental issues and ramping up programmes that combine well, such as Working for Water and other ‘Working For’ programmes, then it is positive.
Endangered Wildlife Trust