Picture by: Bloomberg News
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille
Western Cape Premier Helen Zille officially released the Western Cape Provincial Government’s (WCPG) strategic plan on environmental sustainability and resource-use efficiency in Cape Town on Wednesday, in which a target was set for generating 15% of the province’s electricity from renewable energy sources by 2014.
The overall aim of the plan was to ensure that the WCPG integrated sustainability and resource-use efficiency into the activities all provincial departments.
Zille told journalists that the environment was the “goose that laid the golden egg” for the Western Cape and it was, thus, essential to ensure that a road map was in place to ensure improved environmental sustainability across the province.
Environmental Affairs and Development Planning MEC Anton Bredell said the plan committed the provincial government to specific and measurable objectives on six priority areas including: climate change, water management, pollution and water management, biodiversity management, agricultural land-use management, and the built environment.
Bredell said that the WCPG would seek to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy production.
It would also introduce initiatives to improve agricultural, industrial, commercial and household water consumption patterns.
Also on the agenda was planning and management around pollution control and waste management; improving biodiversity planning, management and conservation; ensuring the optimal and integrated management and use of land; and ensuring resource-use efficiency and sustainability were incorporated into all land-use management and development.
Fixed and measurable targets had been set for each priority area.
With regard to climate change, the WCPG planned to reduce its gross provincial product to carbon emission ratio by 10% by 2014 and reduce electricity usage in selected provincial buildings by between five per cent and ten per cent over the same period.
In terms of water management, the WCPG would implement a provincial Integrated Water Resource Management Plan to imprve agricultural, industrial, commercial and household water use efficiency by five to ten per cent by 2014.
The WCPG would increase the percentage of waste diversion from landfills to 15% and would achieve a five per cent improvement in conservation farming practices by 2014.
With regard to biodiversity management the WCPG would increase conservation stewardship sites from 50 to 78 by 2012, rehabilitate 40 000 ha a year of land infested with alien vegetation, and reduce wild fires by increasing the number of planned fires.
Finally, the WCPG would promulgate responsive planning legislation for land development to promote resource-use efficiency and sustainability and would also develop and implement a Provincial Spatial Plan and determine set-back lines for the Western Cape coastline.
Bredell acknowledged that the targets would be challenging, but said it was important to “set the bar high”.
“There is no choice in the matter – we must become more sustainable,” Bredell argued.
The plan was part of the Western Cape government’s overall strategic plan for the province, which consisted of ten strategic objectives in total, the purpose of which was to create an “open opportunity society” in the province.
The plan, and the implementation of it, aimed to put the Western Cape at the forefront of environmental sustainable development in South Africa.