/ 16 March 2023

Gauteng agriculture department fails to meet green job targets – DA

Green Jobs
The theme for the Africa Climate Summit is “driving green growth and climate finance solutions for Africa and the world”. (Nathan Laine/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Of the annual target of 1 120 green jobs that the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development had set for the 2021-22 financial year, only 156 had been created. 

This was contained in a written reply by Mbali Hlope, MEC for agriculture and rural development, to questions from the Democratic Alliance (DA), which were tabled in the Gauteng provincial legislature recently. Her reply indicated that for the 2022-23 financial year, the annual target was 600 green jobs while the actual output of these was “to be confirmed”.

That only 156 jobs had been created was “worrying”, said Jade Miller, the DA’s Gauteng spokesperson for agriculture and rural development, “given the fact that green jobs have the potential to be used as a means to convert waste into energy which will go a long way to minimise rolling blackouts in the province”.

The department had not met its target of creating 100 green jobs in the second and third quarters of the 2022-23 financial year, said Miller. “This is the same disappointing scenario as from the 2021/2022 financial year.” 

In her reply, Hlope said the International Labour Organisation defines green jobs as jobs that are decent in sectors, including agriculture, manufacturing or services that reduce the consumption of energy and raw materials, limit greenhouse gas emissions, reduce waste and pollution, protect and restore ecosystems and help in adapting to climate change.

Responding to the DA’s question on what the objective of green jobs in the broader scheme of Gauteng’s economy is, Hlope replied that these jobs can encourage and speed up private and public sector investment in ecosystem service restoration, maintenance and enhancement, such as land productivity restoration, water conservation wetland rehabilitation and fire management, under the department’s land care agriculture programme. 

She cited the Industrial Development Corporation’s Green Jobs report, which projected that South Africa could create direct green jobs from the sectors of natural resource management, green energy generation, energy and resource efficiency and emission and pollution mitigation.

Miller said the department has “consistently failed” to meet targets set for the creation of green jobs, yet “unemployment soars and residents struggle to make ends meet” in the province.

“The failure to achieve green job targets in the past two quarters highlights the department’s sluggish response and it is highly unlikely that it will achieve its annual target of creating 600 green jobs for this financial year,” she said. “Creating green jobs is of vital importance if we want to address issues like climate change and the rehabilitation of our wetlands.”