In line with our ambition to deepen and grow the climate justice movement, in the last few weeks 350Africa.org we’ve worked with partners to organise climate and energy justice popular education workshops.
Cry of the Xcluded
On Saturday, 22 April, together with the Climate Justice Coalition and in partnership with the Cry of the Xcluded we hosted an Energy Crisis Assembly for ninety activists in Johannesburg, South Africa. 86 attendees joined to share their personal experiences living through South Africa’s energy crisis, and they discussed the need for systemic change to solve load-shedding.
A participant named Pinky from United Domestic Workers of South Africa or UDWOSA explained how domestic workers are among the working class who are severely affected by load-shedding. “Our wages have been cut because some employers don’t want to pay wages during load-shedding. Other domestic workers are working in fancy estates with ministers and people of affluence who don’t see load-shedding because they can afford generators and solar panels.”
Climate activist Sunny Morgan from Debt For Climate, a member of the Climate Justice Coalition, said, “The first thing we need to realise is the power that rests with us. This democratic system takes us for granted and we haven’t realised our power. We are the 99 percent who can mobilise mass power to take action.“
If the government would invest in a transformative just transition led by a democratically controlled public utility, it would lead to significant job creation, the end of load-shedding and avert climate impacts.
More community education on South Africa’s dual climate and energy crisis and the potential for a Green New Eskom is needed. Tshokolo Mokoena from the General Industries Workers Union of South Africa (GIWUSA) said, “We can mobilise through education. To do this, it’s important that we gather in areas where people live and understand their realities.”
Popular education linking workers, communities and young people will continue to be the centre of our campaign for a Green New Eskom. We believe a Green New Eskom can deliver a rapid and just transition to a socially owned renewable energy-powered economy, providing clean, safe and affordable energy for all.
With Eskom being Africa’s biggest polluter, it needs to be part of South Africa’s just energy transition. The Green New Eskom campaign invites communities and labour to be at the helm of transforming Eskom in the interests of people and the planet.
The meeting was an opportunity for participants to learn about the Green New Eskom campaign and examine ways to build a strong movement that can push for a just transition to renewable energy.