As the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) continued working on the South African climate change policy, Parliamentary representatives urged the department to include the Portfolio Committee on water and environment in every forum where the policy was discussed before the draft document was released.
Member of Parliament chairperson on water and environment Maggie Sotyu requested more effective communication, and emphasised that Parliament should be included in every step, as it was in Parliament where the legislation would eventually have to be passed.
"If you leave Parliament behind, it will take three-years plus to put the policy into law," Sotyu reiterated.
Speaking at a Central Energy Fund conference in Sandton on Monday, Environmental Affairs Director-General Joanne Yawitch said that the DEA has done a lot of work on drafting the climate change policy, and the green paper would be "out and gazetted just after the World Cup".
Yawitch said that after releasing the green paper, the department wanted inclusive input and response from all stakeholders, after which, a white paper would be released by the end of the year.
She explained that once the white paper was released and approved by Parliament, it would go before Cabinet, to ensure that the policy was a legally binding instrument. This process would take place early in 2011, she added.
"South Africa is serious about reducing its greenhouse gas emissions," Yawitch confirmed.
She also noted that the DEA was working together with the Department of Energy on the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
"The IRP and the climate change policy must talk to each other, so that we can move forward in an aligned way within government."
The DEA was also working with the Department of Trade and Industry on the green industry focus within the recently released second Industrial Policy Action Plan, which aimed at stimulating certain manufacturing sectors, and saw particular potential for South Africa in the green economy.