Johannesburg, 11 February 2021 — In response to President Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA) this evening, Greenpeace Africa Climate and Energy Campaigner Nhlanhla Sibisi has said: 

“This late in the game, another 2 600MW of renewable energy is not ambitious enough to fix a broken system. While it is heartening to hear the President acknowledge the existential threat of climate change, he seems unaware that Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) Minister Barbara Creecy has other ideas for South Africa’s air and climate [1].  

“Every urgency applied by the government to recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic must be applied to a just transition towards renewable energy, especially considering South Africa ranked the worst carbon performer in the G20 in 2019. If the President is as serious as he says about reform, the legacy of coal addiction and the exclusion of low-income black communities affected by the impacts of coal must stop. Communities that bear the brunt of Extreme Weather Events such as cyclone Eloise and environmental crimes [2] must be included in the decision-making process. 

“To prove himself capable, the President must ensure that any moves towards economic recovery must be coupled with a Just Transition.”


Notes to the editor

[1] In March 2020, Minister Creecy gazetted the doubling of the sountry’s SO2 pollution limits. In January 2019, DEFF granted Sasol its application for postponement from compliance with minimum emissions standards (and did not announce the decision until fourteen months later). 

[2] The lives of environmental and social activists continue to be under threat for taking action to protect their communities, and the government remains silent. The murder of Fikile Ntshangase is one such case in recent memory.

Extreme Weather Events are expected to become more intense as the century progresses, according to Greenpeace research.

South Africa is a global hotspot for both Sulphur Dioxide and Nitrogen Dioxide pollution, which causes thousands of deaths every year. 

A 2019 Greenpeace report found that millions of jobs could be created by a Just Transition to renewable energy.  

Contact Details
Chris Vlavianos, Greenpeace Africa Communications Officer, +27 79 437 4208, [email protected]