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By Vhahangwele Nemakonde

Digital Deputy News Editor

Workers and communities must share benefits of energy transition – Ramaphosa

Ramaphosa says the call to leave no one behind is not just 'political speak'.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has reiterated the call to involve all communities in the country’s investment plan for a “just” energy transition.

The Presidential Climate Commission (PCC) held a special sitting on Friday, in which Ramaphosa presented government’s priority investment and financing interventions under the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan.

“While the energy transition is necessary for reducing global carbon emissions, the transition that we have to embark on must be a fair and just one. That commitment to a just transition has remained at the centre of our commitment as the government,” said Ramaphosa.

He highlighted that as much as the investment plan aims to place South Africa on the right side of history in relation to climate change, it must also try to solve other interrelated crises the country is faced with, namely:

  • Shortfall in electricity supply which has caused the economy immense damage and continues to destroy jobs and livelihoods;
  • Unacceptable levels of poverty, unemployment and inequality;
  • Urgent threat of climate change – effects of which we’re already facing in South Africa with all the calamities including flooding destroying homes, businesses and public infrastructure, and drought in other parts of the country.

“What we do now to address these challenges will impact future generations,” said Ramaphosa.

ALSO READ: SA needs R8.5 trillion to reach zero carbon emissions by 2050 – World Bank

Energy transition: No one must be left behind

According to Ramaphosa, the country’s investment plan explains the scale of needs and investment that will be required to achieve decarbonisation commitments and to do so while promoting sustainable development and a just transition for the country and its citizens – workers, communities and vulnerable people who will be directly impacted.

“These challenges are inseparable and our plans highlight that and they must be dealt with together. We need to ensure as we deal with these issues we also create jobs, new jobs in new sectors that are going to have to accompany our transition as we move forward. This must also be based on inclusive economic growth,” said Ramaphosa.

“Workers and communities must share in the benefits of the climate transition and the creation of new industries, new sectors and jobs if we are to fulfil out commitment to leaving no one behind. Leaving no one behind is not political speak but an important concept which is important to climate contribution.

“The investment plan provides us with a blueprint to address these three challenges, recognising that they are inseparable. It is about addressing the global risks of climate change while creating jobs and driving more rapid and inclusive economic growth.”

ALSO READ: How South Africa’s switch to green energy will affect workers

The plan includes a portfolio of investments across three priority sectors – the electricity sector, green hydrogen and new energy vehicles – as well as initiatives to ensure a just transition.

Following the launch of the investment plan, an implementation plan will be developed to maintain momentum and ensure the country delivers on its commitment.

“As was the case with the investment plan, the implementation plan will be led by the South African government and our social partners.

“What remains is to ensure that we have the support, the funding and the capability to translate this vision into a reality. This task will require strong collaboration among all of us as South Africans.”

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