11 July 2019, Johannesburg — Today, Minister Gwede Mantashe delivered his budget vote speech for the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and Minister Barbara Creecy delivered her budget vote speech for the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries. In response, Happy Khambule, Greenpeace Africa’s Senior Political Advisor, has said:
“Minister Mantashe’s budget vote speech indicated no real sense of urgency around the climate crisis, deadly air pollution and the thousands of people it kills prematurely. The growing climate crisis does not afford us the luxury of debate, and Minister Creecy is correct that unless we act now the climate crisis may threaten our very existence.
“The reality is that South Africa and the world must do whatever is necessary to avoid complete climate breakdown. The best way for South Africa to do this is to shift away from fossil fuels. Although Minister Creecy acknowledged the growing movement being built by school students – who are protesting against adult inaction on climate change – she stopped short of pushing for the declaration of a climate emergency, and this should be a top priority for her.
“Greenpeace Africa however welcomes Minister Creecy’s commitment to an immediate review of our Priority Area Air Quality Management Plan and its implementation. This is a critically important move as the evidence is increasingly overwhelming that South Africa is in the midst of an airpocalypse, largely due to Eskom’s addiction to coal.
“We will believe that the IRP is close to being finalised when we see it. South Africans are tired of being misled with an ever-shifting release date. The Minister says the IRP will only be tabled by cabinet in September but offers no excuse for its delay nor does he give South Africans an indication of the IRP’s status. We cannot afford to waste any more time on uncertainty in the electricity sector and rational decision-making based on least cost must prevail.”
Chris Vlavianos, Greenpeace Africa Communications Officer, firstname.lastname@example.org, 079 883 7036