21 November 2022
South Africa — After a couple of delays, Climate Justice Coalition (CJC) March for Jobs, Clean Energy and Climate Justice is back on a new date. On Tuesday 22 November, trade unions, community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, and climate justice activists will convene at Burgers Park in Pretoria to demand genuine climate justice.
The CJC will deliver its own set of demands asking for jobs, clean energy and climate justice to the government. Beginning at Burgers Park in Tshwane, the coalition will march to the Department of Public Works, followed by the National Treasury, the Department of Public Enterprises, and the Office of the Presidency. The CJC will also join public sector union action, standing in solidarity with SAFTU, COSATU and FEDUSA, on their national day of action.
“The climate crisis is a working class struggle,” says 350.org campaigner Ferron Pedro. “It is interconnected with the struggles which continue to affect the working class the most including staggering unemployment rate, rolling blackouts and sky-high prices of fuel and electricity, load shedding and racist load reduction.”
“United Front (UF) will be part of the action because of how the energy crisis disrupts our daily lives,” says Terri Maggott, political education officer at the UF. “We are plunged into darkness, we cannot work or cook, our food spoils and our kids are not performing well at school because of load shedding and load reduction. We are also not safe in the darkness, because crime increases.”
South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) spokesperson Trevor Shaku encourages working class people to organise for a transformed Eskom and a move towards a just transition to green energy production. “We have fought against the rising costs of living and against privatisation of state-owned enterprises in the past. Capitalists and their government will not volunteer to make necessary steps unless they are profiteering from them. We must continue to force these concessions through struggle.”
Gauteng provincial coordinator of the EPWP Workers Forum, Executive Mukwevho says the EPWP supports all initiatives that seek justice to the class struggle, which climate change is part of. “Switching to renewable energy will create millions of jobs. To ensure that we have access to those jobs, we must also invest in training and education programmes. We demand insourced, permanent jobs on a livable wage. No worker or community must be left behind in the transition.”
Deputy secretary of the CJC and legal researcher at SECTION27 Mbali Baduza says with cross-cutting impacts, the response to climate change raises questions of justice. “Extreme weather events have increased, resulting in loss of life, infrastructure damage, increased risk of water and food insecurity. It has exacerbated barriers in accessing frontline services, such as basic education and healthcare services. Climate justice must be consistent with existing constitutional and international human rights obligations, standards and principles.”
To ensure that climate action addresses those interconnected struggles, the Coalition is demanding that the government reject the prevailing climate agenda of privatisation and austerity. Instead, the South African government must deliver a real climate justice that transforms our deeply polluting, unjust and unequal country.
CONTACT: Shaazia Ebrahim email@example.com | +27716706719
Ferron Pedro firstname.lastname@example.org | +27825652393
Alex Lenferna email@example.com | +27736959164
Trevor Shaku firstname.lastname@example.org| +27661682157
Terri Maggott email@example.com | +27710978160
Executive Mukwevho firstname.lastname@example.org | +27815149449
NOTES TO EDITORS
More information about the demands for the protest is available here.
About the Climate Justice Coalition: The Climate Justice Coalition is a coalition of South African trade unions, civil society, grassroots, and community-based organisations working together on advancing a transformative climate justice agenda, which tackles the inequality, poverty and unemployment that pervades South Africa.
The Coalition does not support or endorse any political parties. Any political party who decides to join the march or endorse its demands, does so of their own volition. The CJC is not liable or responsible for the actions of political party members.