Johannesburg, 21 February 2018 – Responding to Minister of Finance Malusi Gigaba’s budget speech, Greenpeace Africa’s Political Advisor, Happy Khambule has said:
“This budget has failed the people of South Africa. The budget shouldn’t be looking to entrench the current minerals energy complex, but should seek to address energy poverty – particularly universal access to electricity. It is painfully obvious that the problem of energy poverty is not being prioritized. Just like Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address (SONA), energy was not addressed directly in Minister Gigaba’s speech, despite current electricity investments in coal and nuclear having massive implications for the country’s economy. Instead, a controversial 1% increase in VAT was announced, which will impact on the poorest in this country the most.
If the government is serious about water scarcity, climate change and a turnaround strategy for Eskom, the only viable option is for the utility’s entire coal-based business model to be completely revised, and for water-intensive projects like mega coal-fired power station Kusile to be cancelled.
While it is good news that the carbon tax will finally be implemented in 2019, it is heavily delayed and there are serious questions about whether it will be strong enough to make sure polluters pay or that carbon emissions are reduced at all.
Greenpeace Africa believes that renewable energy has huge potential to save water, drive inclusive economic growth and job creation, yet once again, this has not been recognised. If the government is serious about addressing the triple challenges of poverty, inequality and unemployment then the barriers to renewable energy must be removed.”
Lerato Ngakane, Greenpeace Africa Climate and Energy Communications Officer, [email protected], 0826142676