October 30, 2019

Finance Minister Tito Mboweni’s Medium Term Budget Policy Statement fails to indicate how the fiscus will contribute to a Just Transition from coal

Today, the Finance Minister Tito Mboweni in his Medium Term Budget Policy Statement failed to show the government’s commitment to transition from coal.

In response to the Finance Minister’s failure to address the growth prospects of the South African economy with ‘sound fiscal policy’ conditions for economic growth and development centred around a just transition away from coal, 350Africa.org’s divestment campaigner, Ahmed Mokgopo says:

At a time when South Africa is facing a crippling water crisis, the minister’s Budget Statement falls short of meaningfully acknowledging the economic constraints this crisis places on growth prospects. Additionally, Tito Mboweni overlooks the real challenges of the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) to meet the potential opportunity of long term investment in renewable energy. Instead, the IRP for all its “pragmatism” is pushing for the accrual of more water-dependent coal plants indicating this administration’s faltering approach to urgently tackle climate change. While the energy plan does make room for renewable energy to lower the electricity sectors carbon emissions, there’s a serious lack of political ambition to move towards a more efficient energy mix that’s just and sustainable.” 

“The addition of new coal in the IRP demonstrates government refusal to accept climate science and calls by movements for social, economic and climate justice for a fair, fast and just transition away from coal. The inclusion of 1500MW of new coal in the IRP is not consistent with South Africa’s already weak climate commitments and demonstrates an arrogant pursuit of profits at the expense of people.” continued Mokgopo.

“While South Africa’s Development Finance Institutions (DFI) will not be able to fund a transition away from coal alone, they can play a prominent role in coordinating a transition that ensures that social and economic equity is integrated into solutions to address the climate crisis” Mokgopo concluded.

350Africa.org is calling on the minister of finance, as the sole shareholder of South Africa’s DFI’s to insist that the DBSA (Development Bank of Southern Africa), IDC (Industrial Development Corporation) and Land Bank commit to excluding coal financing from their funding activities. A just response to the climate crisis means putting people and communities ahead of narrow fossil fuel interests. Such decisive action could be a real boost for inclusive economic development in South Africa.

Press Contact:Lerato Ngakane, Communications Coordinator, 350Africa.org; Lerato.ngakane@350.org; +27 81 464 9726