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Cablegate: South African Environment, Science, and Technology Monthly

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RR RUEHBZ RUEHDU RUEHJO RUEHMR RUEHRN
DE RUEHSA #2352/01 1840411
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 030411Z JUL 07
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0606
RUCNSAD/SOUTHERN AF DEVELOPMENT COMMUNITY COLLECTIVE
INFO RUEHTN/AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN 4568
RUEHDU/AMCONSUL DURBAN 8975
RUEHJO/AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG 7030

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 PRETORIA 002352

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR OES/PCI, OES/ENV, AND AF/S
DEPT PASS EPA/OIA,

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV SOCI ETRD SF
SUBJECT: SOUTH AFRICAN ENVIRONMENT, SCIENCE, AND TECHNOLOGY MONTHLY
BRIEFINGS, JUNE 2007

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1. (U) Summary: This is the South African Environment, Science and
Technology Monthly Briefings newsletter, June 2007, Volume 2, Number
3, prepared by the U.S. Embassy Pretoria, South Africa.

Topics of the newsletter:
-- USTDA AND RAND WATER SYSTEMS FORM CAPACITY-BUILIDING PARTNERSHIP
-- GREEN SCORPIONS CLOSE DOWN MEDICAL WASTE PLANT
-- PLANS TO PHASE OUT INCADESCENT BULBS UNDERWAY IN SA

-- GOVERNMENT DELAYS ISSUING A BIO-FUELS POLICY

-- DME Proposes Green Tax on Heavy Polluting Sports Vehicles

-- FOREIGN VISITORS MAY HAVE TO REGISTER TO "ROAM" ON MOBILE
PHONE

-- SADC COUNTRIES GRANTED PERMISSION TO SELL OFF IVORY STOCKPILES
-- TUTU SAYS HUMAN-INDUCED CLIMATE CHANGE IS A SIN
End Summary.

USTDA AND RAND WATER SYSTEMS FORM CAPACITY-BUILIDING PARTNERSHIP

2. (U) The United States Trade and Development Agency (USTDA)
established a partnership with the Rand Water Systems (RWS) to help
South Africa meet infrastructural and basic water services needs.
USTDA will assist RWS in identifying relevant technologies and will
sponsor RWS trips to the US linking RWS with US-based technology
providers to bring this state-of-the art technology to the South
African water market. RWS Director Makie Mandela noted that as a
water-stressed country, South Africa cannot provide the
constitutionally-required 1,700 cubic meters of water per person per
year. She hoped that this partnership would provide the critical
technical assistance that South Africa needs to develop an efficient
water services infrastructure. Ambassador to South Africa Eric Bost
said that "USTDA's strategic use of foreign assistance funds to
support investment policy and decision-making in host countries
creates an enabling environment for trade, investment and
sustainable economic development, with emphasis on sectors which may
benefit from exports of goods and services." RWS is a subsidiary of
the Rand Water Board, established to provide business and technical
support, advisory and capacity building services for water-related
infrastructure projects in South Africa and Africa.

GREEN SCORPIONS CLOSE DOWN MEDICAL WASTE PLANT

3. (U) The Environmental Management Inspectors (EMI) Unit of the
Department of Environmental and Tourism Affairs (better known as the
"Green Scorpions") shut down a medical waste plant after months of
negotiations with the owner proved fruitless. The site was littered
with expired medicine, needles, blood, amputated limbs, bandages,
human remains and other medical equipment. The facility incinerates
medical waste from Gauteng, Limpopo, the Free State and
KwaZulu-Natal. Green Scorpions Director for Compliance Livhuwani
Siphuma said the inspection revealed an "unacceptable disregard for
the facility's permit conditions." He noted that poor storage and
improper storm-water management resulted in blood-contaminated water
leaking into the soil and possibly contaminating the groundwater.
The incinerator, which was operated 24 hours a day, was overloaded,
resulting in emissions of thick black smoke. Children from nearby
townships had played on the dump and women passed it regularly on
their way to collect water. After conducting the onsite compliance
inspection, the Green Scorpions issued an official notice to close
the facility. Siphuma advised that the facility would remain closed
until all health requirements were complied with. Last month the
facility was shut down, but allowed to open again when it challenged
the suspension.

PLANS TO PHASE OUT INCADESCENT BULBS UNDERWAY IN SA

4. (U) National Energy Efficiency Agency (NEEA) Operations Manager
Barry Bredenkamp said that the South African government will phase
out incandescent bulbs and replace them with the energy-saving
compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) or "long-life" bulbs over the next
three years. Central Energy Fund (CEF) and the UK-based Phillips
Corporation are discussing developing a facility to manufacture CFL
bulbs in Southern Africa (possibly Lesotho) later this year. CFL
bulbs consume only 20 percent of the electricity that conventional
bulbs consume. South Africa currently imports CFL bulbs from China
and Indonesia. ESKOM General Manager of Investment Strategy Andrew
Etzinger commented that if every South Africa household used CFL
bulbs, the electricity demand could be reduced by up to 1,000
megawatts (MW). ESKOM distributed over 8 million CFL bulbs in 2005
and 2006. Five million bulbs were distributed in the Western Cape
province, and over three million bulbs more are to be distributed in
the Gauteng and Kwa-Zulu Natal provinces. In 2006, ESKOM conducted
a door-to-door energy efficiency awareness campaign which it claims

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yielded a 229 MW electricity savings. Etzinger commented that
before imposing a total ban on the incandescent bulb, the government
and ESKOM must lower the price of CFL bulbs. The current cost is
too prohibitive for low-income households. CFL bulbs retail for
approximately $3 while the conventional bulbs cost only $0.57.
Etzinger stated that ESKOM is aware that CFL bulbs have high mercury
content, and that it would establish disposal sites so that the
bulbs would not be dumped in landfills.

GOVERNMENT DELAYS ISSUING A BIO-FUELS POLICY

5. (U) South Africa's delay in promulgating bio-fuel marketing and
production regulations has caused investors to withhold financing
for Ethanol Africa, a maize-to-ethanol plant to be located in
Bothaville, in the Free State province. Ethanol Africa CEO Johan
Hoffman said that potential investors were already directing their
funds to other countries because the government could not make a
decision on the legislation. He commented that South Africa could
be losing a place in the bio-fuel industry if the delay continues.
Earlier this year, the press reported that construction had stopped
at the Bothaville plant due to lack of financing. At that time, the
company denied problems and said the halt was due to construction
issues. Ethanol Africa, established in 2005, planned to build eight
bio-fuel plants in South Africa's maize belt region.

6. (U) Department of Minerals and Energy (DME) Chief Director for
Clean Energy Sandile Tyatya said that a bio-fuel policy could not be
released due to a delay in briefing an inter-departmental committee
on the outcome of consultations on the draft strategy. He also said
that there were challenges which still needed to be addressed,
including incentives for the industry and concerns about who would
carry the price tag for the mandatory blending of the bio-ethanol
into petrol. Tyatya said that the document would be presented to
the cabinet sometime in June. According to the DME, it would then
start reviewing the licensing of bio-fuel producers by September and
hoped to finalize the policy by the end of the year. Tyatya
emphasized that the government remains committed to bio-fuels as a
priority sector aligned to the Accelerated and Shared Growth
Initiative of South Africa (ASGISA) because of its potential to
create jobs in the agricultural sector. Industrial Development
Corporation (IDC) official Rian Coetzee said they were supportive of
the DME's cautious approach to the policy. IDC conducts feasibility
studies into South Africa bio-fuel projects. Coetzee said DME's
cautious approach would avoid hasty decisions and problems that
should have been foreseen. The South African Petroleum Industry
Association (SAPIA) remains concerned that the seven major fuel
producers would suffer an "economic penalty" resulting from
substituting portions of petrol and diesel with bio-fuels. SAPIA
notes that it will cost "billions of rand" to adjust the refinery
process for blending.

FOREIGN VISITORS MAY HAVE TO REGISTER TO "ROAM" ON MOBILE PHONES

7. (U) The South African parliamentary justice committee is
discussing a bill which will make it mandatory for foreign visitors
to register with a local service provider before they have
international roaming on their telephones. If successful, the
clause would become a part of the Regulation of the Interception of
Communication Amendment Bill, whose purpose is fight organized crime
conducted using mobile phones. The amended regulation will require
visitors to provide details such as names, addresses, and passport
numbers to service providers before acquiring access to roam on
their phones. Cell phone companies have expressed concern about
this proposal, arguing that visitors and tourists may be subjected
to long registration lines at airports, which could pose serious
logistical problems, especially during the 2010 Soccer World Cup.
Department of Minerals and Energy

SADC COUNTRIES GRANTED PERMISSION TO SELL OFF IVORY STOCKPILES

8. (U) Countries attending the meeting of the Convention on
International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild and Fauna and
Flora (CITE) at the Hague in mid-June partially lifted the ban on
the export of elephant ivory from Botswana (20 tons), Namibia (10
tons) and South Africa (30 tons). South African National Parks
(SANP) CEO David Mabunda said South Africa would sell over 30 tons
of the ivory currently stockpiled at the Kruger National Park to
Japan. Mabunda said the sale would be a once-off and controlled
sale, which means that CITES officials would regulate the sale
process from the source to the market, to ensure that no illegal
ivory enters the transaction. The SANP official said the proceeds
from the ivory sale could reach between $4.2 and $5.7 million, most
of which would be directed to conservation and management of the
national parks. Animal rights activists have expressed anger over
the CITES partial lift of the ban, arguing that the decision is
"swayed by commercial interests that gave no consideration to the

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rights and welfare of the elephants." Animal Rights Africa
Spokesman Steve Smit claimed that even though South Africa has
previously been given CITES permission to sell ivory on condition
that proceeds are channeled to conservation, those proceeds have not
been disbursed as promised.

TUTU SAYS HUMAN-INDUCED CLIMATE CHANGE IS A SIN

9. (U) South African Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu told
congregants at the Arctic Cathedral in Norway that world leaders who
continue to ignore the reality of human-induced climate change are
committing a sin against the children of world. The archbishop made
the statement while delivering a special sermon on the eve of world
environmental day. Tutu said that the poor and other vulnerable
people would be most severely affected by droughts, flooding, and
severe weather caused by climate change. He added that governments
must set firm dates and targets for reducing their carbon emissions,
according to the Kyoto treaty terms.

BOST

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