Johannesburg, 7th June 2024 – Greenpeace Africa expresses deep condolences to the families affected by the recent extreme weather events in South Africa. Western Cape experienced its second cut-off low system this week following the devastating tornado in KwaZulu-Natal and flash floods in the Eastern Cape that have claimed numerous lives and displaced thousands. These events underscore the climate emergency and the need for major oil and gas producers like Shell and Total to stop drilling in South Africa and be held responsible for the damages they create.

Siyabonga Myeza, Greenpeace Africa’s Climate and Energy Campaigner, said:

“The increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events like these are a direct consequence of the reckless scramble for fossil fuels in Africa by international oil corporations. These events are not isolated incidents; they are a pattern that will only worsen if we continue down this destructive path.”

In the Western Cape, 16 families were evacuated during flooding. In KwaZulu-Natal, a tornado has ripped through Tongaat, resulting in the tragic loss of at least 11 lives, displacing over 1,200 families, and causing extensive damage to homes and schools. Similarly, the flash floods in Eastern Cape, particularly in Nelson Mandela Bay and Buffalo City, have left at least 7 dead, displaced 2,500 people, and affected over 6,000 residents. These events are a stark reminder of the escalating climate crisis. Scientists attribute much of the projected increase in rainfall in South Africa to the climate crisis, fuelled by burning of fossil fuels.

“Fossil fuel companies must be held accountable for their role in the climate crisis,” Myeza continued. “The devastation left in the wake of these events underscores the necessity for the international oil and gas  companies to pay for the damages they have created.”  

“We need to halt new fossil fuel projects and massively invest in renewable energy solutions. This is not just an environmental issue; it’s a matter of justice for communities bearing the brunt of climate impacts.” added Myeza. “These communities are in dire need of social protections to facilitate rebuilding their lives, carbon majors should bear this cost, not the people ”

Greenpeace Africa calls for immediate action to address the root causes of the climate crisis, including a rapid and equitable phase-out of fossil fuels, significant investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency, and robust financial support for communities impacted by the climate crisis through taxing fossil fuel companies. Greenpeace Africa further calls on  the new South African government to prioritise climate resilience by enhancing early warning systems, developing disaster response plans specifically for events like tornados, and ensuring that communities are well-informed and prepared.

For further information, please contact: 

Ferdinand Omondi, Communication and Story Manager, Greenpeace Africa

[email protected], Cell: +254 722 505 233