26th February 2020
Cape Town, South Africa – A public protest was staged earlier today outside Parliament ahead of the budget speech. The protesters from various civil society groups demanded that the Minister of Finance, Tito Mboweni direct the country’s public finance institutions to stop financing fossil fuels and promote a just transition to renewable energy.
Speaking during the protest Glen Tyler-Davies, the South African Team Leader at 350Africa.org said, “We want Minister Tito Mboweni to prioritize the climate crisis in his fiscal plans and that public finance be used to drive a just transition to socially-owned renewable energy. The Minister of Finance has a leading role to play in tackling the climate crisis in South Africa, by steering public finance institutions to put in place policies that exclude funding of fossil fuels. The Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) are major culprits and we are demanding that they commit to not funding fossil fuels and that they scale-up climate-smart investments in the energy sector.“
South Africa’s emissions reduction targets are woefully inadequate and any additional investment in coal power will mean that the country will not be able to meet the 1.5°C temperature goal of the Paris Climate Agreement which South Africa signed up to. Actions by public finance institutions such as the IDC which approved a R245 million loan to an Australian mining company last year, to develop a large opencast coal mine in the Limpopo Valley, will supercharge the current climate crisis.
Private commercial banks have begun to increase their focus on the risks that climate change has on their operations, but South African public finance institutions like the DBSA and IDC have failed to publicly account for how they are responding to the climate crisis. As institutions with mandates to finance sustainable development to serve the public interest, they need to provide transparency around the impacts of their investments and should lead by committing to excluding coal, oil and gas from their financing activities.
The climate crisis continues to directly affect the South African population with episodes of flooding, drought and food insecurity becoming more frequent. Despite the rising costs of the climate disaster and the pressures it has on the economy, South Africa’s public finance institutions continue to invest in fossil fuels at a rate that implies that the country will not be able to meet emissions reduction targets by 2030. Science has already shown that fossil fuels are the dominant cause of the climate crisis and therefore every fossil fuel development must be stopped and finance diverted to climate solutions like job-rich renewable energy projects.
For interviews and additional information contact:
Glen Tyler-Davies, South African Team Leader, 350Africa.org
+27 71 645 7946
Robert Magori, Africa Communications Manager, 350Africa.org
+254 721 525344
Ahmed Mokgopo, Campaigner, 350Africa.org
+27 79 916 8918
Download photos of the protest at Parliament. All photos should be credited to Alexa Sedgwick/350Africa.org
South Africa’s commitments under the Paris Agreement