Johannesburg, 30 May 2019: Responding to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet announcement late last night, Greenpeace Africa’s Senior Political Advisor, Happy Khambule has said:

“Greenpeace Africa takes this opportunity to congratulate all the new ministers in the 6th administration. We would however like to emphasise the critical role that the newly formed Minerals and Energy; Environment, Forestry and Fisheries; and Human Settlements, Water and Sanitation must play in advocating and advancing our constitutional right to a healthy environment.

We call on Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe to abandon his previous defence of the dead-end coal industry, and instead focus on finally finalising the IRP and maximising on the opportunities offered by renewable energy. We call on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Creecy to take this opportunity to truly make her department one that protects and defends our constitutional right to a healthy environment, and addresses the urgent and ever present dangers of the climate emergency that South Africa faces.

Greenpeace Africa’s key demands of the newly formed government are:

  • The new parliament needs to pass a motion declaring a climate crisis and the new executive must make an official pronouncement that South Africa faces a climate emergency.
  • The country’s electricity plan (IRP) must be finalised without any further delay and needs to include a coal phase-out roadmap and initiate a deeper, faster transition from coal to renewable energies.
  • All artificial barriers and limits to the investment in renewable energies need to be taken away and the coal province of Mpumalanga needs to become a priority region for large scale investments in renewable energy, together with the implementation of Just Transition programmes.
  • We face an air pollution crisis in South Africa, and no further postponements from complying with Minimum Emission Standards for Eskom’s coal-fired power stations in South Africa can be granted. If coal-fired power stations don’t comply, they need to be decommissioned.
  • Due to the threats posed by water scarcity and climate change, government needs to place water at the heart of all its operations and decisions. We therefore call upon President Ramaphosa to lead a process where administrative and policy steps are taken that will mandate government departments, agencies and entities to place water at the centre of all their decision-making. We call upon him to act urgently to protect water in South Africa.

Greenpeace Africa calls on all newly appointed Ministers to show real leadership and vision by acting on climate change, ensuring that their respective Departments hold South Africa’s worst polluters accountable, protecting South Africans from deadly air pollution, and ensuring water security. South Africa cannot afford for any department to be anything less than a functional, strong and accountable in advocating for environmental and social justice in South Africa. Greenpeace Africa, like many other civil society organisations, is here to ensure that the oath of office is taken seriously and that environmental justice is not a secondary concern,” ended Khambule.

Media contact:

Chris Vlavianos, Communications Officer – Greenpeace Africa, Chris.vlavianos@greenpeace.org, 079 883 7036