The Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries was disappointed with the response it received from the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF) on the issues raised by the public during the extended public hearings in provinces on the National Forests Amendment Bill [B11-2016].
The DAFF, Forest Sector Charter Council, South African Forestry Company Limited (SAFCOL) and all the companies that lease plantations from DAFF, appeared before the Committee yesterday (28 November) to brief the Committee on the issues raised by the public during the extended public hearings in the provinces on the National Forests Amendment Bill [B11-2016]
The Committee was disappointed that DAFF had not prepared sufficiently to respond to the various issues which were raised by individuals and communities during the public hearings.
Besides DAFF being unprepared, the affected forestry companies also did not respond adequately to the questions which were raised by the people during public hearings. The companies that lease plantations used the opportunity of the briefing to advise the Committee on their broad based transformation plans, their employment equity statuses and their corporate social responsibility programs.
“The specific issues which were raised at the public hearings require a detailed response which the Committee has not received. Some of the forestry companies and the council must go back and together with DAFF respond to each of the issues which were raised during public hearings and submit that to the Committee” said the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Rosina Semenya.
The Committee will visit the forestry companies in the new year (2018) to follow up on the issues which were raised during public hearings as part of it’s oversight mandate.
Issued by Parliamentary Communication Services on behalf of the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Agriculture Forestry and Fisheries, Rosina Machwene Semenya