Johannesburg, March 1 2017 – Chaos has descended upon the capital city as truck drivers brought the city to a halt. Coming together under the leadership of the Coal Transporters Forum, the drivers have expressed grave concern over what they call “looming job losses” due to new agreements to be signed on IPPs, specifically the REIPPPP. As this is the second time that this scenario has presented itself, Greenpeace Africa campaigner Nhlanhla Sibisi has said:
“This protest highlights a concern that the upskilling of miners and truckers in the coal sector is not happening as envisioned in the National Development Plan (NDP). Decarbonising the electricity sector would change the job market drastically. However, a just transition away from coal and to a low-carbon economy is possible without job losses, as it is feared by the protesters, if the South African government keeps its promise to invest in re-orienting the skills of our labour force.
“Globally, trends are showing that the transition from coal to renewables is proving that jobs can be created. According to an annual review done by IRENA in 2016, since 2011, South Africa has carried out four bidding rounds under the Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme, with a fifth unveiled in 2016. Estimates indicate that close to 20,000 jobs have been created in the solar industry alone. With the inclusion of the wind industry, and related supply chains, the job numbers are much higher.
“There are many more opportunities in the renewable energy industry, in fact there is a growing global trend away from coal and fossil fuels and to renewable energy. It is essential that South Africa follows this trend to ensure that we are not left behind in the global economy.”