Pretoria – Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says there is a need to explore practical solutions to coordinate waste management initiatives, primarily through technological innovation.
Speaking at the Waste Khoro meeting held in Durban, on Monday, Minister Molewa said sound waste management practices are key to government’s service delivery agenda.
The theme for this year’s Waste Khoro is “Promoting Innovation and Upscaling Enterprise Development”.
The Minister said the commissions on Research Development and Innovation, Best Practice Technologies, Waste Recycling Enterprise Development and support will be deliberating on ways of advancing the waste recycling economy, at the same time utilizing the benefits of the sound and comprehensive regulatory regime in place.
“The General Household Survey 2014, which is aligned with the National Domestic Waste Collection Standards, indicates that the current number of South African households now with access to waste services stands at 75%. It is expected that this number will reach 80% by 2019.
“This policy forms part of a general basket of free basic services to indigent households in South Africa including water, sanitation, electricity and solid waste removal.
“South Africa, like all economies in the world who want to get ahead, needs many entrepreneurs, and the waste sector is no different,” the Minister said.
According to Minister Molewa, a partnership with the private sector is needed to grow new business projects.
“We want to see more such initiatives that are at the cutting edge of innovation, initiatives that create and promote new business opportunities and new jobs.
“We have, each and every one of us, within our grasp the means to speed up waste beneficiation and unlock economic opportunities in the sector for our people,” she said.
Minister Molewa said the waste sector is one of the most important contributors to the generation of jobs in the green sector, with an estimated value of R25 billion to the South African economy.
According to Minster Molewa, the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) continues through its work to deal with ‘getting the basics right’ on waste management.
“In this regard we have prioritized the licensing of waste disposal sites. We continue to engage and empower communities affected by the negative impacts of illegal dumping and poorly managed landfill sites as well as bolstering compliance monitoring and enforcement capacity and the implementation of authorised waste management best practice,” she said.
The National Environmental Management: Waste Amendment Act, which came into effect on June 2014, provides for a National Pricing Strategy for waste management charges.
The new institutional approach includes the establishment of the Waste Management Bureau that would oversee the implementation of Industry Waste Management Plans (IndWMPs) including the management and the disbursement of revenue collected from waste management charges.