The National Treasury has made R800 million available for the Green Fund over the next two financial years. Speaking ahead of her budget vote in parliament, minister for water and environmental affairs, Edna Molewa, said the money represented a critical resource mechanism to achieve a just transition to a low carbon, resource efficient and job creating green economy growth path in South Africa as envisaged by the New Growth Path, climate change and National Sustainable Development policies.
"The primary objective of the Green Fund is to provide catalytic finance for high quality, high impact green economy projects and mainstreaming activities which would not have been implemented without fiscal support," Molewa said.
"This green economy offers substantial opportunities for job creation and development in the environmental goods and services sector, particularly in biodiversity, waste and natural resource management services," she said.
Last year, the department committed to implementing an environment sector green economy implementation plan through a local and international partnership with green investments, supported by domestic funding from the National Treasury's Green Fund, as well as international funding through bilateral cooperation programmes and multilateral facilities such as the World Bank Clean Technology Fund and the newly established Green Climate Fund.
A maximum of 800 unemployed school leavers and graduates, mostly from rural areas, are to be hired in biodiversity jobs for a period of two and a half years.
Molewa said through the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), the department will manage the process of placing a maximum of the unemployed school leavers and graduates in biodiversity jobs.
"SANBI's application to the jobs fund titled Catalysing Access to Employment and Job Creation in Ecosystem Management was approved by the Development Bank of Southern Africa amounting to about R300 million.