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President Ramaphosa notes progress in ending logistics crisis


President Ramaphosa chaired the meeting of the National Logistics Crisis Committee (NLCC) on the 28th of March 2024 to receive an update on progress achieved since the establishment of the NLCC in June 2023, and discuss where challenges persist within freight logistics system.

In recent months, The Freight Logistics Roadmap has been approved by Cabinet, enabling urgent reforms in the freight logistics sector. 

A crucial reform is the development of a Network Statement which sets out the process for rail operators to access the network.  A draft statement has been finalised and released for public comment. 

Transnet’s recovery plan is showing significant progress, with an additional 10 million tonnes (Mt) recovered against the pre-recovery trend.

The Durban Port has seen a 73% reduction in the number of vessels at anchorage since November 2023. 

Work is ongoing to improve border crossings on the most critical road corridors, significant progress has been made in recent months in reducing processing times at priority border posts.   

PRASA continues to recover rail services, with 28 out of 40 lines fully operational and functional stations increased from 236 to 256 across the county’s metropolitan areas.

President Ramaphosa welcomed this progress and noted the momentous effort from both Government and Business through the Partnership. 

Despite progress, the meeting noted that significant challenges remain. Rail volumes are projected to be 2% below the recovery plan target for the 2023/2024 financial year. Contributing factors include the condition of the rail network, locomotive reliability, and security incidents. 

The meeting resolved that Government, through the NLCC, will prioritise interventions to deploy additional security personnel to critical rail and port corridors. The meeting also resolved to urgently explore financial mechanisms to address the rail infrastructure backlog. 

President Ramaphosa reaffirmed government’s continued commitment to working with social partners to address challenges in the freight logistics system. 

President Ramaphosa was supported by Ministers of Public Enterprises, Transport, Finance, Presidency, Trade, Industry, and Competition, and Justice & Constitutional Development. 



Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President –
Issued by: The Presidency


President wishes South Africans a peaceful and safe Easter period

President Cyril Ramaphosa offers his best wishes to South Africa’s diverse Christian denominations for their Easter observances and wishes the nation a peaceful and safe holiday period.
The President said: “The prayers and reflection that define Easter renew the spirit of the nation. This period also allows us to connect with family, friends and the community around us and to explore our most beautiful country.
We must, however, remain mindful of and reach out to people in our families and communities who are needy and who will appreciate our support.
Let us do our best to make this a safe Easter. Easter does not have to be a time where we sit back and wait to see statistics on tragedy or injuries on our roads or at places where people come together in large numbers.
This should be a time where each of us evaluates our own attitudes and behaviours and conduct ourselves in ways that build our society and make the country safe for everyone. This applies especially to our obligation to end violence against women and children.
Let us make this a time to exercise our spirituality, enjoy our country and care for everyone around us.”

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President –
Issued by: The Presidency

Oral Replies by Deputy President Shipokosa Paulus Mashatile in the National Assembly

QUESTION: On government plans to implement measures to combat criminal activities in construction industry.


Honourable Acting Speaker,

On the 27th February 2024, indeed I did address the National Conference on the Review of the Integrated Criminal Justice System. At the conference I stressed the importance of the government working together with all sectors of society to fight organised crime and corruption. 

Similarly, I urged for collective action to tackle the intricate criminal web of construction site disruptions, which pose a threat to lives, and thereby hindering economic growth, and loss of jobs.

Furthermore, when delivering the 2022 State of the Nation Address, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that government will establish specialised multi-disciplinary units to address economic sabotage, extortion at construction sites and vandalism of infrastructure.

To this end, the South African Police Service has established 20 Specialized Multi-disciplinary Economic Infrastructure Task Teams (EITTs) throughout the country, with 18 to be established at District level and two at Provincial level. The EITT’s are established to enhance existing interventions to safeguard economic infrastructure, with a particular focus on Eskom, Transnet, PRASA, water infrastructure and as well general socioeconomic infrastructure. 

Honourable Acting Speaker, 

With specification reference to the alleged “construction mafias” Government is working with the construction industry through the Infrastructure Built Anti-Corruption Forum (IBACF) to fight crime and corruption in the construction sector. The IBACF provides a platform for strategic interventions to protect the integrity of government Infrastructure Investment Plan through detection and prevention of corrupt activities in the construction sector.

As government, we are strengthening capacity for social facilitation to manage community expectations, fight criminality in construction and other strategic sectors of our economy.

In this regard, the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure is piloting the Social Facilitation Framework which was approved by Cabinet on 12 May 2021 to ensure public participation, community involvement and local beneficiation on construction projects. 
I encourage South Africans to report any unlawful conduct, such as threats of violence or extortion and destruction of infrastructure that may lead to stoppages of projects to the SAPS and other law enforcement agencies. 

Together, we can do more to fight organised crime and corruption for economic growth and prosperity of our country.

I thank you.

QUESTION: On key interventions that the Justice, Crime Prevention and Security Cluster is planning to implement in order to  combat the prevailing high levels of crime in the country.


Honourable Acting Speaker,

Fighting crime and corruption remains a top priority for the ANC-led government. We continue to implement measures to strengthen the criminal justice system, including providing support to the National Prosecuting Authority.

Hence Cabinet has adopted the Integrated Crime and Violence Prevention Strategy (ICVPS) in March 2022, which represents a “whole of government” and “whole of society” approach to addressing crime and violence.

In this regard, the South African Police Service has also developed the Increased Crime Prevention and Combating Action Plan (ICPCAP), which has been incorporated into the National Policing Strategy (NPS), which seeks to give effect to government’s commitment towards using an inclusive approach to addressing crime and violence.

The ICPCAP includes the implementation of weekly, intelligence-led high-density operations, within all prioritised station precincts, which is referred to as Operation Shanela. The Ministry of Police monitors progress through Operation Shanela, aiming to reduce violent crime and improve community safety by enhancing a multi-disciplinary approach to criminal activities.

To this end, on the 5th December 2023, this House passed the National Prosecuting Authority Amendment Bill, which, when passed by Parliament, will amend the National Prosecuting Authority Act, 1998, and provide, among others, for the establishment of an Investigating Directorate against Corruption (IDAC) as a permanent entity within the NPA. 

Honourable Acting Speaker,

We have also enacted the Prevention and Combating of Corrupt Activities Act of 2004 which enhances measures to prevent and combat corruption in both the public and private sectors. 

Furthermore, in May 2020, the Anti-Corruption Task Team (ACTT) and the National Priority Committee on Organised Crime (NPCOC) established the Fusion Centre as a multi-disciplinary and collaborative effort by all corruption-fighting agencies that are actively involved in the prevention and combating of corruption.

We remain determined to intensify our efforts to fight crime, and root out corruption, and all its causes. We do so guided by the fact that we are a constitutional democracy, and do not interfere with the constitutional mandate and laws governing the work of our law enforcement agencies. 

We expect all political parties, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and all sectors of our society to do the same.

I thank you.    

QUESTION: On partnerships between government and business in strengthening economic recovery and creating job opportunities. 


Honourable Acting Speaker,

We are building a developmental state that has the capacity to redirect and manage resources towards resolving the challenges of poverty, unemployment and inequality. We equally believe that we need the whole of society and including the private sector to realise a society wherein we have reduced poverty and unemployment and moved towards a more equal society.

We equally believe that government and the private sector should work together to grow the economy and create employment hence we have strengthened social compacts on the various sectors of the economy. 

During my address at the 7th Annual Solutions Exchange Conference on the 12th October 2023, I emphasised the significance of fostering effective collaboration between various stakeholders.

I further emphasised that government remains committed to increasing private sector investment to promote job creation and building on the existing partnership between business and government to strengthen economic recovery that can create jobs in the network industries, that includes the energy, transport, and logistics sectors among the eleven sectors of our economy.

Equally, I stressed the importance of encouraging self-employment and entrepreneurship. Hence as government we continue to play a leading role in fostering growth by creating jobs through various means beyond the public service, and this includes supporting Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) through public procurement especially in the State Owned Enterprises (SOEs).

We have also recognised that while we support economic recovery, government should continue to support the creation of short-term employment hence we have programmes such as the Presidential Employment Stimulus (PES), the Presidential Youth Employment Intervention (PYEI), and the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) among others. 

The PES and PYEI have been a major success, as they managed to create over 1.7 million work and livelihood opportunities, including School Assistant positions in 23,000 schools throughout the country.

Furthermore, the SA, a zero-rated platform, has engaged over 4.3 million young people and secured 1.27 million opportunities for them. Young people took up more than 84 per cent of the 1.27 million opportunities created, with women accounting for 64 per cent. 

The ANC-led government is committed to forge ahead with long term partnerships across all sectors to pave the path for a dynamic, competitive, fast-growing economy capable of competing with the best in the world while producing much-needed jobs.

I Thank You.

QUESTION: On the impact of government interventions in putting an end to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.


Honourable Acting Speaker,

Last year, we launched the revised National Strategic Plan for HIV, TB and STIs for the period 2023 – 2028. The new NSP is a blueprint and roadmap for a multi-sectoral and people-centred approach to eliminate HIV, TB and STIs as public health threats by 2030.

Through the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC), we have implemented various interventions that have had a significant impact in addressing the challenge of HIV. 

These interventions include HIV testing services through our “Cheka Impilo” Wellness Campaign, Anti-retroviral Therapy provision, distribution of condoms, Voluntary Medical Male Circumcision programme, psycho-social support services to individuals affected by HIV, and programmes to address stigma and discrimination.

South Africa is dealing with co-infection of HIV and TB, and therefore, our interventions also focus on dealing with the TB epidemic. 

In this regard, we are implementing a TB Recovery Plan, to find undiagnosed people with TB; strengthen linkage to TB treatment; strengthen retention in care; as well as strengthening the efforts to prevent the disease. Collectively, these interventions have resulted in a continuous decline in new HIV infections in the country. In 2022, there was an estimated 164,000 new HIV infections, and this number has dropped to 146,784 new HIV infections in 2023.

Our performance towards the attainment of the UNAIDS targets of 95-95-95 is gaining momentum and the country is currently on 95-79-93. This means that 95 percent of people living with HIV know their status; 79 percent of those who know their status are on treatment; and 93 percent of those on treatment have suppressed viral loads.

On World AIDS Day, last year, we also launched the South African Chapter of the Global Alliance on Ending AIDS in Children by 2030, which will help to prevent new infections and improve treatment outcomes among children and adolescents.

As a country, we have nearly eliminated mother-to-child transmission of HIV. To ensure easy access to treatment and to foster retention in care, the Department of Health is implementing a system where clients can collect their medication at various external pick-up points, and not only at health facilities.
Linked to this innovation, is the multi-month dispensing of medication, which reduces the number of frequency of visits to health facilities by clients. These differentiated models of care also serve to decongest health facilities.

In addition to these interventions, the country is working with academic and research institutions in an endeavour to eventually find a cure for HIV, despite it being a complex process.
We continue to educate and sensitise communities against stigma and discrimination, which have been proven to be barriers in accessing treatment and health-seeking behaviour by our communities.

Honourable Acting Speaker,

Earlier this week, on Sunday, 24 March 2024, under the auspices of SANAC, we launched the Situation Room, which is a state-of-the-art data consolidation and visualisation hub built at the SANAC offices in Pretoria.

This platform can be accessed virtually from anywhere in the world. This is one other measure that will further strengthen our response through evidence-based decision making. 

We will continue to ensure that communities are at the centre of our interventions, because it is communities themselves who must play a leadership role in the sustainability of our HIV response programmes.

I thank you.

QUESTION: On the role of the Leader of Government Business in strengthening executive accountability to Parliament.  


Honourable Acting Speaker,

Since I assumed my responsibility as the Leader of Government Business (LoGB), I have been working very well with the Presiding Officers of Parliament to ensure that Cabinet Ministers attend to their constitutional responsibilities to Parliament.

This is because Section 92 of the Constitution stipulates that Members of Cabinet are accountable collectively and individually to Parliament for the exercise of their powers and the performance of their functions. The collective responsibility of Cabinet implies that Ministers are jointly responsible for the conduct of government, and must fully account to Parliament as provided by the constitution.

Hence in my capacity as the LoGB I report to Cabinet on the status of unanswered questions for oral and written reply in the National Assembly and the NCOP, amongst other matters. This is one of the most effective tools we are utilising to hold individual Cabinet Ministers to account.

Through this mechanism, Cabinet Ministers with more than ten outstanding Parliamentary questions are required to inform the LOGB in writing about:

• The reasons for the Unanswered Questions; and
• Remedial actions to be taken to address this matter.

In September 2021, the Rules Committee of this August House adopted the new Mechanisms on Delayed Replies to Parliamentary Questions. Amongst other things, the adopted mechanisms enable the Speaker to write to affected Cabinet Ministers, on a quarterly basis, requesting reasons for failure to meet the deadlines of all questions that are late or not replied to.

Furthermore, the Speaker writes to the Leader of Government Business, informing us about outstanding replies and correspondence sent to the affected Ministers. As a last resort, the Speaker may escalate the matter of unanswered Parliamentary questions, through a formal complaint to the President.

Through the enforcement of these, and other mechanisms, we have observed a tremendous decline on the number of lapsed questions where only one question lapsed in the National Assembly during the 2023 Parliamentary session as compared to 83 lapsed questions in 2022.

Moving forward, we will continue to encourage Cabinet Ministers, not only to respond to Parliamentary questions within stipulated timeframes, but to ensure that the responses are based on commitments made through Government policies, Cabinet decisions, Departmental Strategic Plans, Annual Performance Plans (APPs), Budgets, and to ensure that responses adequately address the genuine concerns of the people.

I thank you.    

QUESTION: On government rapid response nterventions to address service delivery hotspots in the country.


Honourable Acting Speaker,

The Department of Water and Sanitation is intervening in municipalities experiencing water challenges. The Ministry of Water and Sanitation continues to mobilise Water Boards to assist affected municipalities to implement improvement plans.

In Moqhaka Municipality, the Department of Water (and Sanitation) is implementing phase 2 of the project which commenced in April 2023. On completion, this project will enable the Kroonstad Water Waste Treatment Plant to function optimally, thus prevent pollution of the Vaal River. The anticipated completion date is 15 December 2024.

Honourable Acting Speaker,

Government continues to support municipalities to address water infrastructure backlogs through Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG) and the Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG).

During the 2023/2024 financial year, the Department of Water and Sanitation allocated R10.1 billion to municipalities through the Regional Bulk Infrastructure Grant (RBIG) and R4.6 billion through the Water Services Infrastructure Grant (WSIG).

 An additional budget of R1.4 Billion has been allocated under the Municipal Disaster Recovery Grant for the 2024/2025 financial year, to fund the repair and reconstruction of the municipal infrastructure damaged by floods in 2023.

As part of our outreach programme, we continue to visit communities around the country to assess service delivery challenges with an aim of finding lasting solutions, particularly with regard to upgrades of water infrastructure, and provision of basic services to the people.

I thank you.

President Ramaphosa congratulates President-elect Bassirou Diomaye Faye of Senegal

President Cyril Ramaphosa has on behalf of the government and people of South Africa congratulated President-elect Mr. Bassirou Diomaye Faye, on his election as the President of the Republic of Senegal.

The outcome of the election bears testimony to the resilient spirit of the Senegalese people who preferred the democratic course of change of government, through voting. The President applauded the other contestants for displaying maturity in accepting the election outcome.

South Africa and Senegal enjoy close political, trade and social relations deepened by strong historical ties rooted from the anti-apartheid struggle.

President Ramaphosa has committed to strengthen the bilateral relationship between South Africa and Senegal in pursuit of a better and peaceful continent.

President Ramaphosa said: “The Senegalese people have lighten a beacon which will usher in a new hope in the journey of rebuilding Africa by opting for peaceful change of government as opposed to violence”.


Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President –
Issued by: The Presidency

Minister Ntshavheni to brief media on outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on 27 March 2024

Minister in The Presidency, Khumbudzo Ntshavheni will, on Thursday, 28 March 2024, brief media on the outcomes of the Cabinet meeting held on Wednesday, 27 March 2024.  

Members of the media are invited to cover the media briefing as follows:
Date: Thursday, 28 March 2024
Time: 10h00  
Venue: GCIS Ronnie Mamoepa Press Room, Tshedimosetso House, Hatfield, Pretoria  

Live Streaming details:


NB: Journalists attending physically are requested to send their personal and vehicle details to:  


Media enquiries: Nomonde Mnukwa, Acting Government Spokesperson, on 083 653 7485

Issued by: Government Communication and Information System

Presidency releases 18 month progress report on the Energy Action Plan

The Presidency has today, 27 March 2024, released a detailed update on the implementation of the Energy Action Plan (EAP), which shows that significant progress has been achieved over the last six months in implementing government’s plan to end load shedding.

The EAP was announced by President Ramaphosa in July 2022, and is coordinated by the National Energy Crisis Committee (NECOM) under the leadership of the Minister in the Presidency for Electricity, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa. The plan aims to reduce the severity and frequency of load shedding in the short term and achieve energy security in the long term through five key interventions:

1. Fix Eskom and improve the availability of existing supply
2. Enable and accelerate private investment in generation capacity
3. Fast-track the procurement of new generation capacity from renewables, gas and battery storage
4. Unleash businesses and households to invest in rooftop solar
5. Fundamentally transform the electricity sector to achieve long-term energy security

As the report released today demonstrates, progress has been made in all five interventions since the announcement of the plan. Key achievements achieved in the past six months include:

  • The return of three units at Kusile power station months ahead of schedule, together with intensive maintenance over the summer period, has increased the availability of Eskom’s existing fleet and reduced load shedding.
  • Following the introduction of powerful tax incentives and financing mechanisms, the amount of rooftop solar installed by businesses and households has more than doubled to over 5000 MW, helping to reduce demand on the grid.
  • In December 2023, three further bid windows were released for 7615 MW of new capacity from solar, wind, gas, and battery storage.
  • 7 preferred bidders for the risk mitigation programme have reached close to date, with the first three projects – which are among the largest solar and battery storage hybrid projects in the world – already connected to the grid.
  • Eskom has launched the Cross Border Standard Offer Programme (CBSOP), which will procure up to 1000 MW in additional power from neighbouring countries for a period of three years.
  • The Eskom Standard Offer Programme has been implemented with a total of 1136.5 MW approved to date, exceeding the initial target of 1000 MW.
  • The first project from Eskom’s Battery Energy Storage System (BESS) programme has been connected to the grid, and will provide 100 megawatt hours (MWh) of storage capacity. Seven other projects are in construction as part of Phase 1 of the programme, which will together provide a total of 833MWh of capacity.
  • An additional 3400 MW of grid capacity has been immediately unlocked in the Cape region through the implementation of curtailment, which enables Eskom to fit more generation capacity onto the grid.
  •  An independent board has been appointed for the National Transmission Company of South Africa (NTCSA), which is close to being fully operational.
  • The Electricity Regulation Amendment (ERA) Bill has been passed in the National Assembly, and is now being considered in the National Council of Provinces. The Bill will fundamentally transform the electricity sector through the establishment of a competitive market.
  • The National Wheeling Framework has been finalised and was submitted to NERSA in December 2023. The framework sets out principles for non-discriminatory rights of access to wheel electricity and the charges to be raised, and will enable a standardised approach to wheeling across the country once approved by the regulator.
  • Government is working towards full implementation of the EAP to bring an end to load shedding once and for all. The Minister in the Presidency for Electricity will continue to provide regular updates on progress to the public.

The report may be accessed on the following link - 


Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President –
Issued by: The Presidency

Deputy President Mashatile to brief National Assembly on Government plans to combat crime in the construction sector towards increasing private sector investment and promoting job creation

Deputy President Shipokosa Paulus Mashatile, will tomorrow, Thursday, 28 March 2024, brief Parliament on plans led by Government to combat the scourge of criminal activities in the construction sector in particular, and on plans to drive private sector investment towards addressing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment.  
The Deputy President will provide answers to Questions for Oral Reply during the National Assembly virtual plenary sitting.   
The six questions the Deputy President will reply to cover a wide range of issues related to; the impact of government led interventions in eliminating the scourge of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, and rapid response interventions aimed at accelerating the provision of services to communities. 
Deputy President Mashatile is the Leader of Government Business in Parliament delegated to manage the relationship between the Executive and Parliament, ensure Executive Accountability as well as ensure that the transformative legislative programme of the 6th Administration is advanced.
In this regard, the Deputy President will update Members of Parliament on efforts to ensure that Cabinet Ministers attend to their constitutional responsibilities to Parliament.
Details of the National Assembly sitting are as follows: 
Date: Thursday, 28 March 2024
Time: 09h00
Twitter: @PresidencyZA
Facebook: @PresidencyZA
Youtube: PresidencyZA
Media enquiries:  Mr Keith Khoza, Acting Spokesperson to Deputy President Mashatile on 066 195 8840
Issued by: The Presidency

Postponement of Cabinet signing of pledge against gender-based violence

The Presidency wishes to announce the postponement of the signing by Cabinet of a national men’s pledge against gender-based violence.

The event was scheduled for tomorrow, Wednesday, 27 March 2024, but has been postponed due to the demanding schedule of the final Cabinet meeting of the Sixth Administration.

New arrangements will be announced at an appropriate time.

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President -

Issued by: The Presidency

President Ramaphosa welcomes adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution demanding immediate ceasefire in Gaza

President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the adoption of Resolution 2728 (2024) by the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on 25  March 2024, which demands an immediate ceasefire in the Gaza Strip during the Holy Month of Ramadan.

President Ramaphosa said," We  must seize the opportunity presented by this Security Council Resolution to create a firm foundation for a permanent ceasefire and the resumption of negotiations. We need to stop the carnage and begin walking a path to peace". 

The President called on the United Nations Security Council to ensure that there is compliance with the resolution, which is binding on the parties.

South Africa remains concerned that in over five months, since the escalation the conflict, thousands have lost their lives, including over 13 000 children.   

As Resolution 2728 notes, there is an “urgent need to expand the flow of humanitarian assistance and to reinforce the protection of civilians in the entire Gaza Strip”.

It is therefore vital that the parties comply with the Security Council, “demand for the lifting of all barriers to the provision of humanitarian assistance at scale, in line with international humanitarian law, as well as Resolution 2712 (2023) and 2720 (2023)”.

Media enquiries: Vincent Magwenya, Spokesperson to the President on  

Issued by: The Presidency

Keynote address by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Biodiversity Economy and Investment Indaba at Birchwood Hotel, Ekurhuleni

Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy,
Premier of Gauteng, Mr Panyaza Lesufi,
Ministers, Deputy Ministers and MECs,
Chairperson of the National House of Traditional and Khoi-San Leaders,
and all the Royal Highnesses who have graced this occasion,
Chairpersons of Boards of public entities,
Heads of Department,
Representatives of business, civil society and organised labour,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you for inviting me to join the important conversation at this Indaba on growing, transforming and financing our significant biodiversity economy. 
South Africa is endowed with rich biodiversity. 
We have many iconic plant and animal species that have long been integral to our culture, spirituality and livelihoods as Africans, and also highly valued across the world. 
We have co-existed harmoniously with our biodiversity because we recognise the importance of the interdependent and respectful relationship between humankind and nature. 
Natural resource use has underpinned traditional economies and societies of Africa, and our people have been harvesting biodiversity products for millennia, and doing so sustainably.
Today, sustainable use of biodiversity is a pillar of rural economies across South Africa, supporting hundreds of thousands of jobs. 
Sustainable biodiversity use also contributes to urban economies. For example, traditional medicine markets exist in nearly every major urban centre in South Africa. 
The trade in indigenous medicine plants is a multi-million-rand industry that supports jobs and livelihoods across the value chain. 
As a country, we have been firm that communities must benefit in a tangible manner when plant and animal species are harvested for commercial gain.
A good example of this approach is rooibos, a product that is popular not just in South Africa but around the world.
Four years ago, the first industry-wide benefits sharing agreement was launched between the South African Rooibos Industry and the Khoi and San Councils.
This agreement has to date distributed a total amount of R28 million to the two councils in recognition of the communities’ indigenous knowledge of the rooibos species. 
Another product is aloe, a plant that is indigenous to Southern Africa and is harvested for pharmaceutical and cosmetic purposes. 
To date approximately, R46 million has been paid by permit holders directly to aloe ferox tappers.
Aloe Ferox is just one of countless indigenous species with medicinal and other value that are being used in commercial applications. 
There is also Sceletium, Marula, Pelargonium and Buchu, the shrub that has been used by the Khoi and San peoples for healing and traditional rituals for centuries. 
Approximately R29 million has been paid to traditional authorities in the Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, North West, KwaZulu-Natal and Limpopo in recognition of indigenous knowledge associated with these species.
We know that compensation in recognition of indigenous knowledge held by communities is not enough. 
We know that payment to communities for harvesting these species is also not enough.
There must be tangible beneficiation in communities when indigenous plant species are harvested for commercial benefit, whether it is for medicine, cosmetics or other purposes.
Sustainable mass cultivation of indigenous plant species must support the creation of businesses, factories and value chains that allow for end products to be exported to the rest of the continent and abroad. 
This mass cultivation can also assist land restoration and rehabilitation, as well as carbon sequestration, which is important in the context of climate change.
To ensure a more holistic approach to access and benefit sharing, we are developing nurseries for the production of indigenous species, so these can be cultivated for medicinal and cosmetic purposes.
When it comes to animal species, beneficiation must result in the establishment of community-run businesses, be they lodges or game meat butcheries and production facilities. 
We have a Game Meat Strategy that is focused on scaling economic enterprises for communities and previously disadvantaged individuals and providing land use patterns that are compatible with conservation.
There are already a number of commercially successful game meat production facilities in several parts of the country.
Another example is marine biodiversity. For many decades, fishing was the preserve of commercial enterprises only. This is something we are working hard to change.
In January this year, we allocated 15-year fishing rights to the small-scale fishing sector in the four coastal provinces. We must build on this.
Job creation must be at the centre of our efforts. 
As with our mineral resources, we cannot simply be mere exporters of raw materials so that jobs and industries can be created elsewhere. 
Jobs and opportunities must remain here, in South Africa, in our communities.
This is what the revised Biodiversity Economy Strategy aims to address. 
It aims to synergise our economic and conservation objectives by emphasising that a successful biodiversity economy must be linked to the restoration of ecosystems. 
It broadens the existing terrestrial goals and adds marine, coastal, estuarine and freshwater opportunities. 
This strategy places the transformation of the biodiversity sector at the centre of all we do. 
Rural communities, disadvantaged individuals and traditional leaders must be part of devising new approaches to investment in community-owned land for biodiversity-based enterprises. 
This Indaba is an opportunity for business entities, conservation management authorities, previously disadvantaged individuals and communities to pitch their biodiversity business concepts to potential investors. 
The projects include investment opportunities with national parks, world heritage sites, botanical gardens and provincial nature reserves; community-owned wildlife businesses; bioprospecting; and ecotourism.
For us to fully harness the benefits of the biodiversity economy, we have to understand its scope and breadth.
Work is underway to develop Natural Capital Accounting for the biodiversity sector. 
This is being done through a partnership between the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Statistics SA and the South African National Biodiversity Institute.
This initiative will ensure that the contribution of the biodiversity sector, including its entire value chain, is formally recognised.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Global Biodiversity Framework that was adopted in December 2022 aims to ensure that biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people.
The Framework has three central aspects.
The first is the recognition that human and ecosystem sustainability requires a global target of 30 percent of the land and 30 percent of the sea be placed under protection by 2030.
The second is that communities living in and adjacent to conservation estates must benefit from the economic opportunities created.
The third aspect is that the intellectual property of indigenous people must be recognised and compensated.
There is also agreement that developed economy countries must assist developing economies in achieving global conservation targets. 
The work to conserve and restore our biodiversity takes place as the world is experiencing the increasingly destructive effects of climate change.
African countries are among the most vulnerable to the effects of a rapidly changing climate. They have to adapt and build resilience within the context of historically low levels of development and severely limited capacity. 
The Climate Change Bill, which is currently before the National Council of Provinces, seeks to enable a just transition towards a low-carbon, climate-resilient society.
This just transition must contribute toward the creation of decent work for all, social inclusion and the eradication of poverty. 
The Bill recognises that a robust and sustainable economy and a healthy society depend on the services that well-functioning ecosystems provide.
The Bill maintains that enhancing the sustainability of economic, social and ecological services is an integral component of an effective and efficient climate change response. 
A just transition puts people at the centre of decision making, especially those most affected by the transition, by empowering and equipping them for new opportunities of the future.
We must put rural communities at the centre of every decision making process, and ensure we are empowering and equipping them for the new opportunities in the biodiversity sector.
Just as we will rely on forging meaningful partnerships between government, business and communities to grow and restore South Africa’s conservation estate, we also need to deepen collaboration on ventures that help us mitigate and adapt to climate change and its effects. 
Carbon sequestration projects are one such example for which funding streams are needed.
I call on industry, finance institutions, philanthropies, civil society and traditional leaders, healers and practitioners to collectively embrace our vision for a transformed biodiversity economy. 
The scientific, research and academic community also has an important role to play. 
The Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, for instance, is doing important work around identifying and developing the use of traditional plants and plant-based remedies for commercial use.
Collective action can shape a future in which both nature and people thrive. 
The success of the initiatives that will come out of this Indaba will not only enable us to meet our international sustainable development obligations. 
They will also empower rural economies, create jobs and support our industrialisation efforts.
I wish you well in your deliberations and look forward to seeing the results that will emerge from this Indaba.
I thank you.

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