Coalition demands Ramaphosa address energy crisis, replace Mantashe

Donna Slater, Engineering News | 14 July 2022

The Climate Justice Coalition – a coalition of South African trade unions and grassroots, community-based and nonprofit organisations – will march to the Office of the Presidency on Nelson Mandela Day (July 18) to hand over a petition demanding the energy crisis be dealt with.

The petition calls on President Cyril Ramaphosa to implement an emergency renewable energy plan to end load-shedding, to replace Mineral Resources and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe and otherwise fix the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE).

In its petition, the coalition states that South Africa faces a dual energy and climate crisis, “which is deepening our already devastating reality of poverty, inequality and unemployment.

“Yet, the leadership of the DMRE is holding back the most effective solution to that dual crisis, namely a rapid and just transition to a renewable energy future, that provides clean, safe and affordable energy for all.”

The coalition says the country cannot afford to have outdated leadership at the helm of an important department such as the DMRE.

“Instead of moving us forward into the twenty-first century, Minister Mantashe’s DMRE is trying to lock South Africa into polluting, expensive and outdated energy projects like new coal and fossil gas powerships.

“The result is deepening loadshedding, more pollution, and skyrocketing energy prices,” it adds.

It sets out five demands, with the first being that the leadership and structure of the DMRE be transformed to “fulfill a mandate for an inclusive socially, economically and ecologically just energy and mining future.”

Secondly, it is calling for a rapid and just transition to a more socially-owned, renewable energy-powered economy, providing clean, safe and affordable energy for all, with no worker and community left behind in the transition.

Thirdly, it calls on Ramaphosa to say no to new “polluting, corrupt and expensive coal, oil, and gas projects”, to reject the costly procurement of electricity from powerships and to investigate officials within the DMRE alleged to be involved in irregular deals.

The coalition is also calling for communities to be given the right to “say no to mining projects”, for social and labour plans to be upheld by mining companies, as well as communities to be afforded the right to sustainable alternative modes of development. 

Lastly, it says Mantashe and the DMRE must stop blocking and inhibiting Eskom’s transition to renewables.

The march will start at 09:00 outside the DMRE’s offices at 173 Visagie street, in Tshwane, and end at the Union Buildings at 12:30.