On the 23rd of June, Fossil Free South Africa and 350Africa held a three-hour workshop on divestment from fossil fuels and the growing demand for fossil free investments options in South Africa. Following a successful Divest Fest in Cape Town in February, the Joburg gathering held at the Delta Park Environmental Center highlighted resources that could help individuals divest from financial institutions exposed to fossil fuel companies that threaten our homes, communities and climate.
“People came to the Joburg Divest Fest to call on their pension funds and asset managers to divest their investments out of fossil fuels and invest in people and their communities – in access to safe drinking water, clean energy and a just financial system” – Ahmed Mokgopo, 350Africa Campaigner
The Joburg Divest Fest was a gathering of residents, and advocacy groups, who also used the space to brainstorm ideas on how people can tell their financial institutions that they no longer want to be invested in an industry that is accelerating the climate crisis. Discussions at the workshop were framed around the tactics, strategies and victories of the global divestment movement whereby over $5 trillion under management has been removed from fossil fuel holdings globally. Fossil fuel investments are a risk for both investors and the planet, so we’re calling on individuals institutions to divest from these companies and remove the industry’s ‘social license to operate’.
“Those attending were able to offer insights, resources, contacts and ideas for building the campaign, and we left feeling we had learned valuable lessons on how best to advance our campaign, and that we had gained new and significant allies” – David Le Page, Fossil Free South Africa Coordinator
In partnership and support of South Africans, community and advocacy organisations calling for divested funds, Fossil Free South Africa and 350 Africa will continue working with, learning from and harnessing the power of individual South Africans to build up people power and challenge vested interests in the fossil fuel industry through individual and collective action.
Here are five quick ways you can take action right now to push South Africa towards a more safe and prosperous future and away from the deadly fossil fuels – coal, oil and gas – that threaten our climate, our health and our savings.