Media Release: Global Climate Action 25 March

MEDIA RELEASE FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 22 March 2022

South African youth to lead intergenerational global climate action on 25th March, calling for “people not profit” in the wake of Human Rights Day, as the domestic environmental justice movement picks up greater momentum.

On 25th March 2022, South African youth and civil society will once again take bold action, gathering in front of Cape Town Parliament calling for climate and socio-environmental justice under the theme of #PeopleNotProfit. The action forms part of the Global Climate Strike led by youth climate activists all around the world.

The action in Cape Town is a collaborative effort spearheaded by the youth-led African Climate Alliance in partnership with the Climate Justice Charter Movement, Extinction Rebellion Cape Town, Feed the Future, Fight Inequality Alliance, Fridays for Future South Africa, Green Anglicans, Green Connection, Project 90 by 2030, SAFCEI, Youth Arise, 350Africa.org and other allied organisations.

This mobilisation also takes place in the wake of a landmark legal determination in the Pretoria High Court concerning the “Deadly Air Case” whose judgment was handed down ahead of Human Rights Day. The success of this case has reaffirmed our fundamental constitutional right to an environment that is not harmful to our health and wellbeing and coincides with other consequential legal determinations and civil-society breakthroughs encompassing:

  • The successful interdict served on the Amazon Headquarters for building on sacred indigenous and ecologically sensitive land, which rests on an at-risk floodplain which is due to bear the long-term impacts of climate change on the area concerned through sea-level rise and storm surges.
  • A commitment from the University of Cape Town to finally divest from fossil fuels by 2030.   

“It is clear with each year and every legal victory that passes, that our fundamental constitutional rights and human rights ultimately have prevailed, and it is the people of South Africa who are taking matters of social and environmental justice into our own hands,”  says Mitchelle Mhaka, programmes coordinator of African Climate Alliance. “For too long the rights and wellbeing of people have been sidelined for the purpose of creating wealth for a few. This has created a system that treats people and our natural resources as disposable, leading to many compounding crises: from income inequality, to the climate crisis.”

“When we say ‘people not profit, we mean that the rights of people must be put first and that an end must be put to exploitative actions in the name of greed and profit.” – Lydia Petersen from Fight Inequality Alliance

Young people adding their voice to the Uproot The DMRE protest – September 2021 (Mawande Sobetwa)

The mobilisation, which aims to raise awareness about the interlinkages of social, environmental and climate change justice while calling our leaders to account, will include speeches, poetry and musical performances from youth and civil society, including artivists such as Soundz of the South. The group will also be following up on the various demands handed over to government officials and political leaders at the last Climate Strike in September 2021 that have yet to be addressed: 

  1. The urgent establishment of a Parliamentary Joint Standing Committee on the Climate and Ecological Crisis to enable parliament to fully internalise the grave threat that the Climate and Ecological Crisis poses to our society, as well as to utilise this threat as an opportunity to address social inequality.
  2. Department of Basic Education must adjust the National Education Curriculum to improve coverage of Earth Sciences, with a specific focus on national literacy in Climate Change.
  3. In accordance with section 234 of the South African constitution, Parliament must table a motion to consider and debate the adoption of the Climate Justice Charter which aims to “end hunger, thirst, pollution and climate harms”
  4. An end to all public and private capital investment in fossil fuel-intensive industry.
  5. A commitment to eliminating all fossil fuel electricity production by 2035 at the very latest.
  6. Transformation of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and the firing of Gwede Mantashe which currently acts as the biggest stumbling block to a just transition in the country

The group is calling on the Speaker of Parliament, Ms. Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula as leader of our apex legislative body charged with protecting, upholding and safeguarding our constitution to live up to her own address she gave specifically calling for “swift Parliamentary action to reduce the effects of Climate Change” which she made while she was representing South Africa on the international stage on 21st March, 2022 at the 144th Plenary Assembly of the International Parliamentary Union in Indonesia. “She can translate this address into meaningful action by considering and implementing our list of Parliamentary Demands,” says Mhaka. 

In addition to the Cape Town action outside Parliament, African Climate Alliance ambassador Pètra de Beer is convening a protest outside Stellenbosch Town Hall with a set of demands aimed at the municipality and university. 

African Climate Alliance Youth coordinator Gabriel Klaasen will also be attending a gathering in Johannesburg with the Climate Justice Coalition, who are hosting an Online People’s Tribunal to put the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy on trial for their polluting and harmful policies and practices against our citizens and environment. At this event, people from across South Africa will testify as to how the DMRE’s actions are hurting our communities, our workers, our economy, and creating a harmful environment. 

“When we say climate change, people think it’s only an environmental issue. But climate change and ecological breakdown pose some of the greatest human rights challenges of our time,” says Gabriel Klaasen. “With this challenge comes a great opportunity to simultaneously address issues of inequality and our lived environment. This action is about more than just environmental justice or socio-economic justice, it’s about putting people first in all we do moving forward. We encourage everyone to join us in this movement, together we can and will bring change.” 

Details of Actions:

Cape Town Action: 

Date: Friday, 25 March 2022
Time: 12:00-14:00
Where: Cape Town Parliament
Event information: https://bit.ly/pplnotprofitinfo
Social share pack: https://bit.ly/peoplenotprofitshare
Contact: Sarah Robyn Farrell +27 83 409 5557 

Stellenbosch Action:

Date: Friday, 25 March 2022
Time: 13:30-15:00
Where: Stellenbosch Town Hall
Event Information: https://map.fridaysforfuture.org/map?e=6kjBwdJM/2022-03-25
Contact: Pètra de Beer +27 61 467 9564

Climate Justice Coalition: People’s Tribunal 

When: Friday 25th, 10am

Where: Online. 

Sign up here

Contact: Gabriel Klaasen +27 61 274 1719 (whatsapp)

For further information, or media queries contact Traverse Le Goff on +27 79 605 5363 

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