Thousands of South Africans took to the streets on Friday September 20, 2019 as part of the global climate strikes, which took place across 150 countries and saw over four-million people worldwide calling for climate action.
Organised by the African Climate Alliance (ACA) in Cape Town, the organisation led a march to the Parliament of South Africa, where they handed over a memorandum for the attention of President Ramaphosa.
The ACA request a meeting with the President, Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy Gwede Mantashe and Minister of Environment Forestry and Fisheries Barbara Creecy to discuss their demands.
These demands are that the government of South Africa:
- Ramp up climate emergency response at the provincial and national level.
- Ban new coal-fired power stations and fossil fuel mining licences – NO more Medupi and Kusile, NO to Thabametsi and Khanyisa, NO to KZN coast gas and oil drilling.
- Commit to 100% renewable energy generation by 2030 through a just transition.
- Create a mandatory climate education and adaptation curriculum for South Africa.
- Prioritise the restoration of degraded landscapes and funding of ecological infrastructure.
City of Cape Town officials joined in the march and the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Energy and Climate Change, Councillor Phindile Maxiti took to the stage and addressed the crowd.
“We have taken our fight to move away from Eskom’s fossil fuel-based energy supply to the Court as we want to be able to buy cleaner energy from independent power producers. Cities can play a huge role in immediately reducing the levels of carbon emissions and increasing resilience to future shocks,” Maxiti assured the protestors gathered outside Parliament.
Reinforcing that environment is a priority, the City’s Council approved the first-ever Resilience Strategy for Cape Town in August.
Drawing attention to the climate change impacts already affecting Southern Africa, the ACA spokespeople reiterated that South Africa is heating at twice the global average. “Eskom and Sasol are amongst the biggest greenhouse gas emitters in the world. Not only are we are battling toxic air pollution on the Highveld, we have suffered wildfires in Knysna, drought in Northern Cape and floods in KZN this year. Many more of us will struggle with food and water shortages and of course the most vulnerable in our society will be most severely affected. Xenophobia, gangsterism and violence against women and children are not going to improve under conditions of climate crisis,” they said.
Reverend Thabo Makgoba, the Archbishop of Cape Town also addressed the crowd. “Climate change is not an environmental problem. It’s a human rights issue,” he said.
And that is why the global climate strike movement continues to grow. The practical ways to tackle climate change mean better living conditions for all South Africans. Renewable energy, fresh air, clean water, healthy food, safer cities and safe reliable public transport are the worthwhile goals that those protesting want to see realised.
What do you think of the ACA’s demands? And how can we make them a reality? Let us know on the forum.