Advisory panel on the cards to help environment department get international funds

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy. File Photo.

SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni said at the moment it did not have an alternative source of income, saying it would do lots of promotions once tourism opened again.

Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Barbara Creecy will appoint an advisory panel to look into what international resources for the environmental sector South Africa can get in the face of the financial pressure brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Creecy told the Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries about her plan on Thursday afternoon.

“The financial sector is going to face a lot of financial pressure going forward,” she said.

Like several other departments, the budget and annual performance plan (APP) of her department have been tabled with parliament before the pandemic reached South African shores.

Creecy said she was not yet in a position to put a revised budget or APP before the committee. The budget will be adjusted by National Treasury.

South African National Parks (SANParks) chief executive Fundisile Mketeni presented its APP to the committee.

He said SANParks had ambitious targets for tourism, its main source of revenue, which would now need a relook due to lockdown and restricted movement.

Mketeni added at the moment, it did not have an alternative source of income, saying it would do lots of promotions once tourism opened again.

SANParks’ board chairperson, Joanne Yawitch, said at the moment it was not planning any jobs cuts because it wanted clarity from Treasury about “what is and isn’t possible”.

Several of its activities are taking place under the level 4 lockdown, including wildlife management and veterinary services, anti-poaching and law enforcement as well as conservation work.

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