Call to Ministers for New Climate Politics
Photo Credit :Cyclone Batisai – SA Storm Report
The President of the Republic of South Africa
Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy
Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment
Parliament Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy
Parliament Portfolio Committee on Environment, Forestry and Fisheries
General Secretaries of SACTWU, NUM and COSATU
Cyclone warning for KZN and response to Hosken Consolidated Investments and Minister Gwede Mantashe
04 February 2022
In 2019, two cyclones Idai and Kenneth killed over a thousand people in Southern Africa and decimated crops in Malawi, Madagascar, Mozambique and parts of Zimbabwe leading to several warnings of famine in the region by the United Nations. Climate Science makes it clear that the warming oceans around Southern Africa due to the climate crisis are fuelling more frequent and severe cyclones in the region. At the time of writing, fears over tropical Cyclone Batsirai bringing severe winds and rain in the province of Kwazulu-Natal have led to the closure of beaches and the SA Weather Service is warning people to stay indoors. These climate shocks, including recent severe flooding in parts of Kwazulu- Natal, cannot be dismissed as natural disasters. They are the impacts of the worsening climate crisis and the continued extraction and use of oil, coal and gas.
Across the country, crops for the 2021-2022 season have been negatively impacted by too much rain, with maize crop estimates down by over 5%. This will spell disaster for the poor and working-class because food inflation continues to be at an all-time high. Now is the time for the state to accelerate and deepen the just transition and abandon fossil fuels by unlocking the immense renewable energy potential of South Africa as envisaged in the Climate Justice Charter ( provide link). Reactive ‘states of disaster’ cannot fix the climate problem.
In this context, we have released this open letter to Minister Gwede Mantashe and Hosken Consolidated Investments (HCI), in opposition to their calls for more coal, oil and gas extraction. Veteran activist Professor Vishwas Satgar and artist filmmaker Janet Solomon say: “The state’s skewing of the Integrated Resource Plan towards coal (44.6%) and gas (15.7%) by 2030 expresses these vested carbon-capitalist class interests. Simply, there are profits to be made by such extractivism and not some concern for an orderly energy transition. The counter-factual shows this up even more starkly. If tomorrow the state lifted the ceiling on wind, the country could meet its energy needs eight times over through offshore wind power, according to a recent study done by Stellenbosch University. According to the International Renewable Energy Agency, the costs of renewable energy systems and unit costs of renewable energy generation have come down dramatically in comparison to fossil fuels such as coal.”
Moreover, we call on the public to consider suing the government and fossil fuel corporations if they suffer harms from floods, cyclones, droughts, heatwaves and other climate extremes. The constitution provides for a right to a stable environment and climate science is telling us more coal, oil and gas is causing more extreme climate shocks. In addition, we call on South Africa to support the call in the Climate Justice Charter for a publicly managed climate insurance fund, paid through carbon and ecological taxes targeting the wealthy, to assist society with transformative rebuilding of homes and communities, when more climate shocks impact.
HCI and Minister Mantashe are unleashing climate chaos on us.
For further information, contact:
Janet Solomon, co-founder, #OceansNotOil
Vishwas Satgar, COPAC board chairperson, SAFSC and CJCM activist
Awande Buthelezi, COPAC organiser, SAFSC and CJCM activist
Charles Simane, COPAC researcher and organiser, SAFSC activist and CJCM activist
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