23 February 2021, Johannesburg — In response to the Auditor General’s report revealing irregular and wasteful expenditure by the Department of Environment, Forest and Fisheries (DEFF), to the tune of R2.9 billion, Greenpeace Africa’s Climate and Energy Campaigner Thandile Chinyavanhu has said:
“The culture of corruption in our government has not spared DEFF. The department is squandering money from South Africans who are faced with the financial burden of surviving a pandemic compounded by a looming hike in electricity tariffs. It is concerning that DEFF has received a qualified finding for the fifth consecutive year in light of the contents of the report when real action is required on several environmental issues facing the country.
“The underspending in environmental programmes highlighted by the report demonstrates DEFF’s lack of commitment to environmental and social justice. What is most tragic is that, less than a year ago, Minister Creecy gazetted the weakening of South Africa’s Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) emissions limits citing the high costs to carbon majors like Eskom and Sasol, while ignoring the health impacts on people on the ground. It is deeply disturbing that DEFF can make far-reaching decisions on these grounds while clearly being inept at managing their own finances.
“Creecy’s tenure as Minister has been characterised by weakening of the SO2  emissions limits exposing thousands of South Africans to toxic pollutants, the consequent stench of pollution over Gauteng and Mpumalanga, and now by fruitless expenditure. Greenpeace Africa demands that Minister Barbra Creecy account for the massive wasteful spending by her department and outline a clear plan on how her department will protect South Africans from profit-driven corporate polluters.”
 Greenpeace research in 2020 found that air pollution from fossil fuels costs the world R 120 billion every day
Chris Vlavianos, Greenpeace Africa Communications Officer, +2779 883 7036, [email protected]