Climate Commission calls for bold leadership in South Africa’s electricity planning

What South Africa really needs is united leadership supporting a set of ambitious goals to ensure continuous access to electricity

The Presidential Climate Commission held a series of stakeholder consultations with the country’s social partners to discuss South Africa’s energy security, electricity planning and the investments to be made in realising a low-carbon, climate-resilient economy. The stakeholders included business, civil society, faith communities, youth formations, local and national government as well as organised labour. Reflecting on the consultations, the commission reported that they
declared their faith in the Just Transition, which they considered central to the country’s electricity planning.

The consultation process led to the National Colloquium, which took place in April this year.

Following this, the commission submitted its recommendations to President Cyril Ramaphosa, focusing on the critical steps needed for justice and boldness into electricity planning for South Africa. In its recommendations, the commission stressed the need for government to balance energy security, cost implications, the economy, job creation and protection, environmental sustainability and health.

“What South Africa really needs is united leadership supporting a set of ambitious goals to ensure continuous access to electricity, enable economic growth, reduce impact on human health, enable trade competitiveness and economic diversification and the creation of suitable jobs,” the commission stated.

“All partners agree that electricity is critical for development and therefore in the national interest to resolve the energy crisis in a just and transparent manner. A clear plan for electricity in the short and long term can give our people hope, attract investment, bolster trade, and support agriculture which contributes decisively to our sustainability goals,” it added.

In addition, the commission explained that leadership was also needed at municipal level as local government had an important role to play in electricity distribution, energy efficiency and small-scale generation. Municipalities must therefore be capacitated so that they can plan and manage electricity systems.

The commission further urged all social partners to work together in reconstructing the country’s ailing electricity sector, saying government should demonstrate leadership and cultivate conducive conditions for adding new jobs to the economy, incentivise green industrial development, support and champion economic diversification, and support localisation of key transition value chains, especially in areas that are facing risks.

“Planning and implementing for the transition and responding to our current crisis need to support those most impacted, particularly SMMEs and indigent households, as well as enhance social protection measures, particularly for those workers and communities impacted,” said the commission.

It added that it believed an ambitious power generation system based on renewable energy would ensure that South African households and businesses had an uninterrupted access to electricity, while also driving economic growth, encouraging trade competitiveness and economic diversification, job creating and good health.


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