Submission on Environmental Affairs, Tourism, and Human Settlements by Gauteng youth
We the youth of Gauteng convened on 19 October 2018 at the Jan Smuts House in the University of the Witwatersrand under the guidance of Action 24 and the South African Institute of International Affairs (SAIIA) to conduct a Model Legislature and debate on legislative issues directly and indirectly affecting us and our communities. We acknowledge that the work done by various internal and portfolio committees affects us and hereby make a formal submission to the Gauteng Legislature expressing our views on Environmental affairs, Tourism and Human Settlements. We related the issues mentioned to climate change. Climate change is not only a global issue but also affects us locally and has direct impact the environment, tourism and human settlement.
We divided ourselves into three different Commissions and make the following submissions which we would like the Gauteng Legislature to consider.
We the youth of Gauteng make the following submission in environmental affairs:
We urge government to take action and commit to responsible waste management solutions for illegal dumping and reprocessing industry.
We call up the provincial legislature to overcome significant developmental challenges regarding improving equity and sustainability, without necessarily increasing resource consumption.
We insist that the municipalities and province have an obligation to secure ecologically sustainable development in private developments and communities at large.
We recommend that the legislature strictly impose environmental authorisation on development projects according to Environment Protection Act 1997 (Section41A).
We request the provincial legislature create education projects around water and waste management to create awareness of these issues. Action is to be taken to assist the remote areas of Gauteng municipalities which dispose of their own waste, with expertise to ensure pollution control. There should be an alternative to burning waste for rural communities as burning refuse creates air pollution and emits carcinogens which directly affect community health.
We encourage the legislature to consider awareness raising campaigns in Gauteng to initiate a shift to eating more vegetables and plant-based alternatives, as decreasing meat consumption is a highly effective way citizens can reduce their environmental impact.
We emphasise the need of attentive consumption of natural resources, reducing carbon emissions, minimising environmental pollution — air, water and waste to land — and protecting the city’s natural environment. The province should create electric car charge stations to spearhead a green transport revolution. We proclaim the benefit of creating economic opportunities within the sector.
We encourage debates around sustainable development goals at school level for awareness and youth input.
We express our appreciation of the clean-up days suggested by mayor Herman Mashaba and call for schools to be drawn into community service days in cleaning up the litter in Johannesburg in support of the mayor’s suggestions.
We express our hope for vigilant monitoring of burst pipes in all areas of the province and endorse the shift to energy-efficient lighting systems such as LED lights.
Citizens and legislature should be reminded to conserve the Vaal and river catchments, and encourage there to be a provincial wide campaign to change perceptions and behaviour around our province’s water consumption.
We commend the hosting of several climate change conferences.
We demand the installation of waste and recycling bin in schools and in the inner city of Johannesburg and Pretoria, in the CBD and residential areas and call for employment to build efficient and sustainable formal settlements built with recycled materials.
We call for active implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on provincial level and request sustainable development and incentivisation for correct recycling across community lines.
We endorse integrating “reduce, reuse and recycle” into the curriculum as well as all environmental issues.
We congratulate the municipality of Pretoria to create the initiative for car free days and encourage that citizens be more participative in these days and use public transport.
Farming of indigenous food stuffs (I.e sorghum) and community urban farming should be encouraged.
We call for information that rests in the provincial legislation be made more prominent and known within society and encourage the legislature to use social media as a tool to create awareness in environmental issues.
We the youth of Gauteng note that tourism makes up 3% of South Africa’s GDP. We recommend that the tourism industry focus on appreciating authentic African experiences and should not westernize African cultures. Therefore, street vendors who sell traditional goods should be protected and able to form cooperatives. Street vendors should be trained on different ways to protect the environment.
Policies which allow student employment in the tourism industry should be implemented. Areas such as Braamfontein and Newtown have become tourist destinations and are home to a lot of students who should benefit from tourism. Funding specific to studying courses for a career in tourism should be made available to students. Government should all support and fund youth initiatives in tourism. The youth should be influenced to promote Gauteng’s tourism through social media.
We have noted the rising crime rates which have a negative effect on tourist destinations such as Soweto. We recommend more employment opportunities to decrease crime rate and for economic stimulation. Funds must be redirected to the community so that they also benefit from tourism. Land redistribution should be a priority because large companies own land and destroy the surrounding environment. The legislature must explore sustainable tourism which includes the community.
We also note the negative effect that hawkers’ litter and tour buses have on the environment and seek legislature promoting eco-friendly and ecotourism.
Lastly, we the youth of Gauteng note that laws are meaningless if they are not implemented and urge the legislature to ensure that laws relating to tourism are implemented for the benefit of our country, its people and tourists.
Human Settlements Commission
As the commission representing human settlements in the Gauteng Provincial Legislature, we recognise the steadily increasing rate of urbanisation within Gauteng. This coupled with the lingering effects of Apartheid policy, such as the Group Areas Act of 1950, has led to the city becoming increasingly marginalised, and the development of informal settlements. Furthermore, issues regarding service delivery, crime rates, land distribution and corruption have hindered the development of Gauteng.
We therefore make the following recommendations:
We call upon the Provincial Legislature to include youth in policy-making, and to make policy documentation more available to the public which includes through social media.
We recommend the use and creation of high-rise, government-owned infrastructure to accommodate more people and services.
The government should oversee ownership and distribution of land. Government should own what benefits the greater community.
We affirm the need for policies to be inclusive, and to cater for the needs of both urban and rural citizens.
We endors the partnership between the private sector and the government in human settlements.
The legislature should hold itself accountable with regards to finances and service delivery.
We support the development of Green Belts within urban areas.
Economic development: State must create its own companies in order to grow local economies.
Informal settlements must be developed into formal housing and emphasise the importance of developing sustainable housing for a sustainable future
We recognise the failure of provincial government to spend the allocated budget for development in urban areas and insist that the provincial government uses the full allocated funds, to assist with infrastructure development.
We the youth of Gauteng and the South African Institute of International Affairs are enthusiastic about public participation. We would like to engage further engagement with the Gauteng Legislature on various platforms as mandated in Chapter 6 Section 118 of the Constitution which states that: A provincial legislature must facilitate public involvement in the legislature and other processes of the legislature and its committees.
Please note this submission was compiled by learners and students from the following institutions:
Bona High School
Edenvale High School
Lofetse Girls High School
Mapetla Secondary School
Midrand High School
Parktown High School for Girls
Pretoria High School for Girls
Protea Glen Secondary School
Roedean School for Girls
Sandringham High School
University of Johannesburg
University of Pretoria
University of the Witwatersrand
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