3 May 2012
The National Treasury has allocated R800-million over the next two years for South Africa’s Green Fund, which aims to provide finance for high-quality, high-impact, job-creating green economy projects around the country.
Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa made the announcement in Cape Town on Wednesday ahead of her department’s budget vote in Parliament.
Molewa said the money represented a critical mechanism for achieving a just transition to a low-carbon, resource-efficient and job-creating green economy growth path in South Africa.
“The primary objective of the Green Fund is to provide catalytic finance for high-quality, high-impact green economy projects and mainstreaming activities which would not have been implemented without fiscal support,” Molewa said.
‘Myth’ that green management hinders development
She said it was up to South Africans to debunk the myth that environmental management hindered development, by positioning the sector as a major contributor to job creation and the fight against poverty.
“The transformation of our industries towards the building of a green economy has many facets; [it is mainly] about creating new labour-absorbing industries that also mitigate impacts on the environment.
“This green economy offers substantial opportunities for job creation and development in the environmental goods and services sector, particularly in biodiversity, waste and natural resource management services.”
Last year, the department committed to implementing a green economy plan through local and international partnerships with green investors, supported by funding from the Treasury’s Green Fund, as well as international funding through facilities such as the World Bank Clean Technology Fund and the newly established Green Climate Fund.
Biodiversity jobs for 800 graduates, school-leavers
Molewa also announced on Wednesday that up to 800 unemployed school leavers and graduates, mostly from rural areas, would be hired in biodiversity jobs for a period of two-and-a-half years.
Molewa said the department would manage the placement of the candidates through the South African National Biodiversity Institute (Sanbi).
“Sanbi’s application to the jobs fund, titled ‘Catalysing access to employment and job creation in ecosystem management’, was approved by the Development Bank of Southern Africa to the tune of R300-million,” Molewa said.