South Africa — Minister Gwede Mantashe’s Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) is on the receiving end of planned nationwide marches, calling for the “uprooting of the DMRE”. Youth leaders, civil society groups, trade unions, and grassroots movements under the Climate Justice Coalition have expressed dissatisfaction with the department, saying it is actively obstructing a just energy and mining future in South Africa. Despite opposition from mining affected communities, the department has continued to approve gas and coal projects while disregarding any just energy plan. Among the demands that the coalition is making are the removal of Minister Mantashe from the energy docket and a rapid, just transition to renewable energy in the country. A full list of demands is available at UprootTheDMRE.org
A press briefing on the actions was held on 15 September with stakeholders from the coalition sharing their views on the DMRE and its leadership.
Gabriel Klaasen of the African Climate Alliance said,
“The first thing that we heard from young people on the demands was the removal of Gwede Mantashe. Not even that we want a change, or we want progressive thinking. It was immediately, we want the removal of Gwede Mantashe because clearly there is no negotiating with someone who believes that they are truly the law as it relates to our future.”
Francina Nkosi National Convenor of Women Affected by Mining United in Action said,
“The big polluting projects that the DMRE is pushing forward are driving the climate crisis, causing floods in rural areas and destroying agricultural and grazing land. These polluting mining projects are draining and polluting water. We need a just transition and a Green New Eskom.”
Alex Lenferna of 350Africa.org said,
“Minister Mantashe and the DMRE are the biggest obstacles to a just energy future and action on the climate crisis. Time and time again, they side with polluting corporations over communities and workers. That’s why we are mobilising to #UprootTheDMRE.”
Trevor Shaku from the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU) said,
“DMRE has mismanaged the natural resources of this country and actually has no plan of ensuring there is a just transition from the fossil fuel intensive industry which we are relying on, especially in terms of production and supply of energy in this country. The DMRE has no real plans to move away from that. Even their presentation to the President’s Climate Commission does not really show a way out from fossil fuel intensiveness.”
Sibusiso Owen Ndidi from the Eastern Cape Environmental Network said,
“We seek to say to Gwede Mantashe that he is old enough he must just give us space and give other people who seem to have clear knowledge of how the country should move forward in terms of energy… Siphakamisa izandla and we are saying, Uproot the DMRE.”
Ahead of the mobilisations, the coalition partnered with Politically Aweh to release a satirical video from the DMRE inviting fossil fuel companies to do business in South Africa. The DMRE has since denounced it as fake news, seemingly unaware that it was satire.
Notes for Editors
About “Uproot the DMRE”
Uproot the DMRE is a climate mobilization campaign by The Climate Justice Coalition (CJC) aimed at agitating for a just energy future in South Africa. The coalition consists of trade unions, civil society organisations, grassroots, community-based organisations and NGOs. The campaign is organized in solidarity with the Global Climate Strikes to be held across the globe. The coalition is mobilizing citizens to put pressure on the government to take the climate crisis seriously and accelerate plans for a just transition away from fossil fuels in South Africa.
See list of planned actions for Uproot the DMRE
See media pack for the mobilisation
The UprootTheDMRE.org page is still open for organisations and individuals to register more events and actions to those listed above.
For interviews and additional information contact:
Phone: +27 63 336 2690