Mechanised vehicles to be handed over to e-waste collectors

Minister Edna Molewa - []

According to Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa says the department will hand over more mechanized vehicles to registered e-waste collectors.

The Minister said this will assist in bringing the country’s estimated 62,147 registered waste pickers into the formal economy and to ensure their safety and protection.

Briefing journalists in Cape Town on Tuesday ahead of tabling the department’s Budget Vote Speech, the Minister said waste pickers were a priority as they helped diverting recyclables away from landfills.

“This year, we will continue to hand over mechanised vehicles, as we did last year to some of the registered e-waste collectors. This we will do in order to alleviate the pain and inconvenience of them pushing the heavy manual trolleys and bags all day long,” she says.

As part of the department’s partnership with Coca Cola (M-Pact Coca Cola Plant), the department will officially launch the largest plastic bottle recycling plant in Africa in Germiston.  This plant is valued at R350m and is expected to create 1,000 jobs, the Minister says.

Over 130 renewable energy projects authorised

The Minster said that the department has authorised 137 renewable energy applications expected to contribute just over 5, 000 megawatts onto the power grid.

The Minister said the department will also be encouraging the uptake of recycling enterprises in the waste sector as government makes a push to bolster waste management in the country.

“In support of the renewable energy roll-out, we have also finalised the pre-assessment of the grid expansion corridors. One hundred and thirty seven renewable energy applications have already been authorised, representing a total of 5,719MW,” she says.

Minister Molewa said this represents significant investments in the highly successful Renewable Energy Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (REIPPP) that has realised some R200bn in investment since its launch.

Department implementing Paris Agreement commitments

Minister Molewa said the department will this year commence with the first voluntary five-year cycle of implementing the Greenhouse Gas Emission Mitigation System covering the periods of 2016 and 2020.

She said the mandatory system will include companies detailing their carbon budgets, submitting their pollution prevention plans and companies introducing a reporting system to gather information on emissions, among other measures.

“These additional measures include the development of an efficient, lower-carbon public transport system, land restoration in critical catchments, a sustainable cities programme, expansion of support for small independent power producers and the sustainable energy acceleration programme,” she says.