Johannesburg, 23 February – Responding to Minister Godongwana’s Budget speech today, Greenpeace Africa Climate and Energy Campaigner Thandile Chinyavanhu said: 

“Minister Godgondwana missed the mark in his first budget address. The minister made infrastructure spending commitments that completely overlooked the development of renewable energy. The speech was flat on commitments to a just energy transition, disappointing considering the R131bn Just Transition Partnership is still at play.

“Godongwana reiterated his call  for Eskom to sell its assets in line with Greenpeace Africa’s recommendations in 2019 [1], ​​stating that Eskom’s debt burden problem may require some ‘fiscal intervention’ but only if certain conditions are met, he failed to provide context on whether this condition included a transition away from coal in line with  our climate commitments as a country.

“Considering the exemptions in the Carbon Tax Act 15 of 2019 netted carbon major Sasol R6.5bn in 2020, an increase of R10 in our carbon tax will prove ineffective in deterring carbon majors from continuing their toxic business models. Sasol was able to avoid paying 90% of its tax obligations as a result of these policies [2]. The proposed price remains significantly lower than the effective carbon rate of R292.55 – R585.10 [3], proposed by the High-level Commission on Carbon Prices. 

“The best and most immediate solution to South Africa’s problems is a just transition to renewable energy. We cannot rely on market mechanisms such as carbon taxes to mitigate climate catastrophe, especially ones this impotent; these measures must be met with aggressive decarbonisation strategies and widespread uptake of renewable energy,” ended Chinyavanhu. 

ENDS

Notes

[1] Greenpeace Africa released a report in 2019, titled “Eskom a Roadmap to Powering the Future“, in which a key recommendation was that Eskom sell its assets to manage its R403bn debt  

[2] The Institute of Sustainable Development (IISD) analysis revealed that Sasol avoided 90% of its carbon tax obligations for emission of 302 Mt CO2 between 2016 and 2020.

[3] This figure is according to the 2010 exchange rate.

Contact details

Greenpeace Africa Press Desk: [email protected] 
Chris Vlavianos, Greenpeace Africa Communications Officer, +27798837036, [email protected]