Search

 

Cablegate: Kwazulu Natal - the Greening of a Province

R 010835Z JUL 08
FM AMEMBASSY PRETORIA
TO SECSTATE WASHDC 4945
INFO AMCONSUL CAPE TOWN
AMCONSUL DURBAN
AMCONSUL JOHANNESBURG
AMEMBASSY GABORONE

UNCLAS PRETORIA 001426


DEPT FOR OES/PCI, OES/ENV, AND AF/S

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SENV SOCI SF
SUBJECT: KWAZULU NATAL - THE GREENING OF A PROVINCE

1. Summary. The Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Hotspot, a floristic,
climatic and geologically complex area, runs throughout
KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) province. EST Officer met with KZN Department
of Agriculture and Environmental Affairs (DAEA) Environmental
Services (South Region) Manager Sharon Allan, and with DAEA
eThekwini District (metropolitan Durban) Office Manager Asia Khan
for a wide-ranging discussion of environmental activities within KZN
on March 31, 2008. Two provincial inspectors recently completed
Environmental Management Inspector (EMI) training. DAEA
concentrates on awareness building, rather than strict enforcement.
EThekwini District sponsors several capacity and awareness building
programs, including an innovative indigenous tree promotion program.
That program has provided free trees and training to over 8,000
homes in the southern portion of KZN. End Summary.

----------------------------
KZN - A BIODIVERSITY HOTSPOT
----------------------------

2. Conservation International (CI) has classified the entire east
coast of South Africa from the southern tip of Mozambique to the
Eastern Cape Province as the Maputaland-Pondoland-Albany Hotspot.
CI notes that the region is floristically, climatically and
geologically complex. Vegetation in the region includes forests,
bushveld and grasslands. Approximately eighty percent of South
Africa's remaining forests are found here. According to CI, these
forests have the highest tree diversity of any temperate forest in
the world. There are also succulent stem flora, three types of
thicket, six types of bushveld and five types of grasslands.

--------------------------------------------- --
KZN DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND ENVIRONMENTAL OFFICES (DAEA)
PROVIDE MYRIAD OF SERVICES
--------------------------------------------- --

3. EST Officer met with KZN Department of Agriculture and
Environmental Affairs (DAEA) Environmental Services (South Region)
Manager Sharon Allan, and with DAEA representatives from the
eThekwini District on March 31, 2008. (Note. The eThekwini
Metropolitan District is the Municipality created in 2000 that
includes the city of Durban and all the surrounding suburbs and
towns. It is one of the eleven districts of KZN province and the
majority of its three million plus residents (2001 census) speak
Zulu. End Note.) DAEA provides agricultural, environmental and
conservation services to promote progressive agricultural land use,
food security and environmentally sustainable livelihoods. The
eThekwini 2002-2006 Integrated Development Plan requires planning,
developing and managing Durban in an integrated and sustainable way
that does not exceed the carrying capacity of the natural
environment.

4. DAEA sponsors programs removing invasive species, and promoting
biodiversity. DAEA links its efforts with local government
entities. Allan noted that the National Environmental Management
Act (NEMA) defined activities that require the province to conduct
Environmental Impact Assessments (EIAs). The provincial MEC and the
DEAT minister may identify additional activities requiring an EIA or
may specify certain geographic regions where specified activities
may not be undertaken due to environmental sensitivity.

5. Allan noted that the eThekwini district handles approximately
35% of all KZN EIA assessments. The office initially lacked
capacity to conduct all the NEMA-required EIAs. Two provincial
inspectors recently completed Environmental Management Inspector
Qinspectors recently completed Environmental Management Inspector
(EMI, aka the Green Scorpions) training and an additional two have
been assigned from DEAT to assist.

6. District Office Manager Asia Khan said her office concentrates
on environmental education, awareness, capacity building and
empowerment, rather than strictly enforcement. One EMI handles
compliance, monitoring and enforcement; the other deals with waste
and pollution. Khan believes that education and the empowerment of
local communities will bring greater compliance over the long term.

--------------------------------------------- --
DAEA SCHOOL PROGRAMS GROWING RAPIDLY THROUGHOUT PROVINCE
--------------------------------------------- --

7. DAEA operates several programs promoting public awareness,
including eco-school projects, environmental art poster contests for
local schools, school aquarium building competitions, and workshops
to build capacity/awareness for teachers. Fifty schools within
eThekwini participated in environmental education programs in 2007.
Eighteen schools achieved "green flag" status in 2007 and sixty-nine
achieved that status in 2008. (Note. Green Flag status denotes
schools that have integrated environment into the curriculum and
have conducted at least three environmental projects during the

school year. End Note.)

8. One key DAEA program is "Siyazilimela" (We are growing) which
has now been incorporated in 50 schools throughout the province.
This project promotes food farms at local schools; agribusiness and
marketing experts also provide advice to the schools on both crop
selection and marketing. The school with the highest sales figure
wins a trophy. Provincial officials visit each school in the
program at least three times during the year to insure the school
receives the necessary support and assistance.

--------------------------------------------- -
DAEA COMBATS ADVERSE IMPACTS CAUSED BY HOUSING DEVELOPMENTS
--------------------------------------------- -

9. Khan noted that housing development projects, especially those
for low-cost homes, "flatten everything" during construction. Khan
commented that these projects often include 6,000 houses and have a
"severe" environmental impact. She commented that housing
developments are increasingly being built on land previously used
for agriculture, which negatively impacts food security within the
province.

10. DAEA promotes an indigenous tree program, proving one
indigenous fruit tree per household at a cost of R180 per tree.
This program also supplies seeds for small food gardens and
medicinal plant seedlings. Workshops in both farming and marketing
are held for all participants. Khan commented that most
participants are first-time farmers with no knowledge of gardening
techniques. The program also trains interested participants in
techniques used in medicinal plant nurseries.

11. Khan and Allan said the program is more than mere
skills-building; it also promotes self-esteem and pride of
ownership. The program has been introduced in four areas of KZN;
over 8,000 homes have received a tree. The program will expand
inland towards Pietermaritzburg and up the coast towards Tugela in
2009. Allan noted that the northern area of KZN uses a different
methodology because the geography and geology is more complex,
making both construction and the "greening" of housing projects more
difficult. At present, the northern section of the province has two
active indigenous tree programs involving 1,500 homes.

12. DAEA sponsors a "Quality Living Environment" program working
with micro-organizations within communities. Allan said the goal of
this program is to find ways communities can work together to
maintain biodiversity, conserve natural resources, restore
biodiversity that has been destroyed, and encourage sustainable
development. DAEA chooses one person for each group of twenty-five
households and trains that person for three months in biodiversity
management, environmental practices and community support. Allan
noted that the program produces skilled people who can monitor and
evaluate projects, educate community groups and become private
contractors. Allan said the project encourages pride in ownership
and self-esteem. Residents learn to make home repairs and achieve
additional financial independence by tending small garden crops.

13. DAEA provides financing for solar panels for some low-cost
houses at a cost of R11,000 ($1,375) per home. Khan notes that the
solar panel reduces energy costs to the resident by about R400-500
($50 - $65) per month. Allen commented that DAEA also has a program
educating residents about energy efficient appliances.

--------------------------------------------- -----
COMMENT: GREENING THE PROVINCE ONE HOUSE AT A TIME
--------------------------------------------- -----

14. DAEA is fully committed to the dual goals of promoting
sustainable development and encouraging environmentally sound
practices. DAEA believes the best way to accomplish these goals is
by showing residents why environmentally sound practices are
beneficial to them. DAEA has made a substantial financial
commitment. Its programs involve thousands of homes, and almost
seventy schools. DAEA's far-reaching impact is a tribute to the
commitment of its small but highly dedicated staff.

TEITELBAUM

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: