Youth Lead Protest at Parliament (Cape Town) calling for Climate Action and Environmental Justice. Ready and Willing to Pursue the Matter in Court.
On Friday 24th September 2021, as South Africa celebrates national Heritage Day, a number of South Africans will also be taking to the streets to join millions of people around the world in support of the Global Climate Strike.
Youth-led group African Climate Alliance and several allied organisations, the Cape Town youth, and many ordinary South African citizens will be gathering in front of Parliament calling for urgent action on climate change and ecological breakdown.
This demonstration, which kicks off at 11am, forms part of a national week of action in which civil society groups and trade unions in all nine provinces around South Africa are mobilising for the transformation of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) under the banner of #UprootTheDMRE in line with the broader Global Climate Strike theme of #UprootTheSystem.
The basis for these actions are highlighted and motivated by the sobering landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report released on the 9th August, 2021 which United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has described as a “A code red for humanity”. The scientific evidence is clear that there can be no further complacency on the part of South African political leaders on dealing with the climate and ecological crisis especially in the lead up to COP26.
In a global press conference that took place on Monday 20th September with climate activists Vanessa Nakate, Greta
Thunberg, Dohyeon Kim and African Climate Alliance youth coordinator Gabriel Klaasen, Klaasen said,
“Every year more than 2200 South Africans die from air pollution caused by burning coal. Worldwide, more than 7 million people die every year because of the air pollution caused by fossil fuels. This doesn’t even take into account those that may not die but are terribly affected in the form of disease and low quality of life. We also have a more than 43% youth unemployment rate in South Africa and are missing the opportunity to create more than 155 000 renewable energy jobs, and other climate-related jobs we could tap into.”
The Climate Strike in front of Parliament on the 24th September will deliver the following demands to the South African government and all political parties:
- The urgent establishment of a Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the Climate and Ecological Crisis.
- 1.5°C compatible NDC target for COP26.
- Department of Basic Education to adjust the National Education Curriculum to improve coverage of Earth Sciences,
with a specific focus on national literacy in Climate Change.
- An end to all public and private capital investment in fossil fuel-intensive industry.
- A commitment to eliminating all fossil fuel electricity production by 2035 at the very latest.
- Parliament to table a motion to consider and debate the adoption of the Climate Justice Charter which was first
presented to Parliament in 2020 by the Climate Justice Charter Movement.
- Transformation of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy in line with the national #UprootTheDMRE
A memorandum of demands will be handed over to the President, the Speaker of Parliament, senior government
officials and representative Leaders of all the various political parties who will be in attendance.
In keeping with the identified demands and the #UprootTheDMRE campaign calling for the phase out of fossil fuel electricity, the African Climate Alliance (ACA), together with groundWork (gW) and Vukani Environmental Movement (VEM) are directly challenging the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy and the National Energy Regulator of South Africa’s (NERSA’s) decision to procure 1500MW of new coal fired power capacity. On 17th September 2021 a letter of demand was delivered to Minister Gwede Mantashe and NERSA by the coalition’s attorneys, the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) notifying all parties that they will institute legal proceedings on behalf of ACA, gW and VEM in the event that the South African government persist in pursuing the development of new thermal coal power capacity. (The same letter will be issued to Parliament on 24th September.)
“The alarm bells are deafening, and the evidence is irrefutable: greenhouse‑gas emissions from fossil-fuel burning and
deforestation are choking our planet and putting billions of people at immediate risk.” – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres
Details for Editors:
Time: 11h00 – 13h00
Venue: Parliament of the Republic of South Africa, 140 Plein Street, Cape Town, 8000
Media Contact: email@example.com
● Traverse Le Goff – Mobile: +27 79 605 5363
● Sarah Robyn Farrell – Mobile: +27 83 409 5557
Event Page: https://act.350.org/event/sa-day-action-september-22-2021/25272
Uproot the DMRE website: https://uprootthedmre.org/
Map of Global Climate Strike Events: https://fridaysforfuture.org/action-map/map/
About African Climate Alliance:
African Climate Alliance (ACA) is a youth-led grassroots organisation born out of Cape Town’s first-ever major climate protest in March 2019. Since then, their work has transformed to meet many of the challenges posing the African youth climate movement. The group aims to act and advocate for climate justice whilst inclusively building up and amplifying youth voices across sectors of society, bridging connections to create organising potential. Currently the organisation works through four project areas:
education, advocacy, action, and an ambassador programme which has 15 ambassadors from 3 African countries. The group also has a number of activist networks which span across Africa which exist to connect and deliver opportunities and news. Having initially taken the lead from the European climate movement, with time it became clear that this way of climate organizing doesn’t fit the South African mold, often excluding those most affected by inequality and climate injustice. It is with this in mind that the group has been transforming and working with a focus on afrocentric climate literacy and social inclusion. The aspirational name of the organisation was chosen by an interschools climate council with the long-term hope of building youth-led climate alliances across Africa.
Allied Organisations coordinating the organisation of the Global Climate Strike in Cape Town:
African Climate Alliance
Eastern Cape Environmental Network