The Department of Environmental Affairs, in collaboration with the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA), hosted a workshop on the National Climate Change Draft Bill, in Bloemfontein on Friday.
The workshop was attended by national heads of the two departments as well as Free State stakeholders such as Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and public workers. This comes after National Climate Change Bill was published for public comment by Environmental Affairs Minister, Dr Edna Molewa, in June.
The aim of the workshop was to discuss issues related to the bill and in doing so coordinate arrangement across the three spheres of government which include national, provincial and local.
According to Tlou Ramaru, Acting Deputy Director-General for Climate Change and Air Quality, the bill that has not been passed yet also serves to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. “We also want to make sure that it will help us in reducing emissions to make a contribution to international agreements and the Paris Agreement, in particular,” explained Ramaru.
He stated that the bill would help local government build response plans in light of recent changes in climate conditions. “Most people in cities and the poorest of the poor are affected by extreme events such as heatwaves and flooding,” said Ramaru. “When we implement the bill it will assist at a local level where mayors will take into account the extreme events and build response plans,” he continued.
Members of the Provincial Disaster Management Centre were present at the workshop to share their input on the bill. Head of the Free State centre, Marcus Butler, said that climate change played a crucial role in managing of any disasters. “The draft bill is a good initiative as I stated before because political buy-in is very important when we mitigate disasters in the future. Political heads need to enforce the issue of why climate change is important to the public,” said Butler.
According to Ramaru, public consultations on the bill that was published in the Government Gazette are coming to a close. Submissions of comment on the Climate Change Bill close on 8 August 2018. – Nomaqhawe Mtebele