On 25th March 2022, South African youth and civil society gathered in front of Cape Town Parliament calling for climate and socio-environmental justice under the theme of #PeopleNotProfit. The action formed part of the Global Climate Strike led by youth climate activists all around the world.
The action in Cape Town was 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.
The mobilisation aimed to raise awareness about the interlinkages of social, environmental and climate change justice while calling South African leaders to account.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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”
- 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.
- Transformation of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy and including Gwede Mantashe stepping down which currently acts as the biggest stumbling block to a just transition in the country
The demands were accepted by the Regional Director of the presidency Mr. Charles Ford.
The full memorandum can be viewed here
Our full event checklist can be seen here. Preparations included:
- A month of of local prep meetings
- Event notification through permits
- Educational & Mobilising pack
- A press release and media engagement
- Preparation of demands and invitations to officials
- Event running order, MC and MC script
- Coordination of transport for those wanting to attend the protest
- Social Media Marketing
- Logistics: marshalls, sound truck, playlist, stage manager
- Chants & songs
- Documenting: photos & video
- Mitchelle Mkaha and Sarah Robyn Farrell both arrived at parliament from 10:30am
- In meetings it was agreed that the expense of toilets was too much to incur, however it was difficult to find a place to use the bathroom / send people to use the toilets if needed. Eventually a place was found but something had to be bought in order to use the facilities
- Petty cash used for bathroom needs
- The soundtruck initially parked at Keizergracht street and then once called moved over to parliament
- The police insisted that the soundtruck wait across the road until just before 12, and that we could under no circumstances block the road / cause obstruction to traffic
- As such we parked the truck so that the stage would face parliament and the area in between the truck and cobblestones/barriers was used for protestors to gather, with spill over into the cobblestone area on the right hand side (if facing parliament)
- Due to accidents and traffic on the highway much of the rest of the team were late, as well as a number of the expected people arriving for the protest
- The protest eventually kicked off at 12:30 and the programme began (as seen below). The programme was tight and did not go exactly according to plan (which is to be expected). However, it was a powerful line up of people, and included the opportunity for an open-mic style session in which protestors could also contribute their voice, as well as a handover of demands.
- Due to running late, the police became antsy and wanted to shut down the protest from 1:45. Sarah bought as much time as possible, rationalising with the police and asking for time until 2:15pm. This was not received well and she eventually experienced some degree of non-physical intimidation in which 5 or so police enclosed her in a circle and threatened her with arrest / the fact that the protest would ‘come back and bite her’ as an organiser. One of the police went to the MC Thabiso to shut down the event. He also tried to bide time. Sarah tried to ensure that the other police stayed away from the crowd,negotiating with them to give more time with the promise to shut down by 2:15. The negotiating eventually went past 2oclock and the event was finished by 2:15 as promised. In hindsight, it would have been ideal to have applied for a longer permit which would have allowed for leeway in the overrunning of the programme
- Apples were handed out at the end when programme – 480 apples in total (P90 and XR assisted with handouts) – many people had more than one
- Overall people seemed to truly enjoy the day and a powerful message was delivered. We have also since received communications from government to communicate and discuss possible ways forward which is the most constructive post protest communication we have received to date
Getting crowd going and uniform – Neville Van Rooy
Response to extractivism in Nigeria faced by Ogoni People & the ties here in South Africa – Barry Wugale
Indigenous justice Poem – Linda Seekoie
Rap & Song by Fairdale Highschool learners representing the Mfuleni community
Project 90 by 2030 Youlead warriors
Demands handover – Mitchelle Mhaka and Sibusiso Mazomba – Charles Ford, Victor Ngalecka
Spoken word and performance – Soulitude (Monwabisi Dasi)
Delilah on behalf of Fridays for Future
Spoken word from Fairdale highschool in Mfuleni
Music by Sounds of the South (SOS)
- At 14:30 the crowd disperses. Taxi’s collected people.
- Sarah, Mitchelle and Stella were the last to leave
Please contact us for further information or for access to the protest budget.