Statement on the Budget Vote 34 of 2006/07
Media release by the Department of Water Affairs and Forestry
24 May 2006

CAPE TOWN, 24 May 2006: Minister of Water Affairs and Forestry, Ms Buyelwa P Sonjica, delivered the Budget Vote 34, as well as the NCOP Policy Review Debate on behalf of the Ministry and Department of Water Affairs and Forestry. In her Budget Speech, Minister Sonjica was guided primarily by the State of the Nation Address of President Thabo Mbeki in February, which gave a very clear mandate for the need to contribute to the building of the capacity of the State. Primary within this aspect is the formation and sustenance of partnerships with different institutions of learning like the Tshwane University of Technology, Universities of the Western Cape, Free State, Cape Town and KwaZulu-Natal in ensuring the improvement of skills for the Department. In pursuance of support from the Department towards the achievements of ASGI-SA and the realization of a healthy skills drive, international relations also play a key role and an example of this is the continued good working relations with the People’s Republic of Cuba. This exercise will ensure that the Department overcomes its skills shortage through import of expertise, as well as the training of SA students in fields related to its work. In addressing gender and disability issues, as well as restructuring and reorganisation, the Department has established a Forestry Branch, as well as a Gender and Disability Unit. Included in this move was the placement of five women to management positions, a move which speaks to government’s drive with regard to women’s emancipation and empowerment. “One of the highlights of our achievements are the water summits we held in all nine Provinces in the last year. These summits culminated in a very successful National Water Summit that was attended by about 560 people from all corners of our country. These summits were an enormous success, and we owe that to the overwhelming support we received from Premiers, MECs, Mayors, Councillors and senior officials of these provinces. I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude for this support”, said Minister Sonjica. The Department continues its pursuance of the water and sanitation targets as set by the State President as well as the Millennium Development Goals. To meet these the Department is working closely with other sector members which include Municipalities, other Government departments (both local and provincial), water boards, as well as international governments and role players. “I wish to thank my Special Advisors for their contribution, advice and support over the last year. My sincere gratitude and appreciation goes to my Director General, Jabu Sindane for his leadership and commitment, and to all the officials in the Department, for their hard work and dedication. “Thank you also to the National Assembly’s Portfolio Committee on Water Affairs and Forestry, the National Council Of Provinces’ Select Committee on Land and Environmental Affairs, as well the entire water and forestry sectors, including municipalities and their association, the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), the South African Association of Water Users (SAAWU), the Trans Caledon Tunnel Agency (TCTA), Water Boards, the Water Research Commission (WRC), and the National Advisory Councils for Water and Forests and all other stakeholders and partners for their cooperation and support during the past year”, concluded Minister Sonjica.

For more information contact Sputnik Ratau Cell: 082 885 8317 Issued by the Ministry of Water Affairs and Forestry

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