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Climate justice activists strengthen call for a transformed Eskom

Climate Justice activists are calling for people to come together to mobilise for an Eskom that serves people and not profits. In a new video series titled: “Transforming Eskom Together”, members of the Climate Justice Coalition are strengthening their call for a Green New Eskom.

Alex Lenferna
Alex Lenferna, 350.org South Africa Climate Justice Campaigner

In a programme run by 350Africa.org campaigner Alex Lenferna, the three films were shown publicly for the first time on Wednesday, September 1, 2021. The first film, “Transforming Eskom: Africa’s biggest polluter”, was released last week and shared on YouTube and all 350Africa.org social media platforms while the second “Working Class Climate Justice” was made live post the event and the third, “Youth Securing a Just Climate Future”, will be live on Monday, September 6.

Gabriel Klaasen, socio-environmental justice activist at the African Climate Alliance, said: “I was quite inspired to watch the other two videos as well, I think it really showed something we often hear about in the coalitions and these meetings. It really brought forward the clear intergenerational mobilisation that exists within climate justice which is why I think it’s important and I’m very grateful that young people are being represented in the space — especially in a Green New Eskom.”

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Klaasen said being part of this campaign has really highlighted the importance of youth participation so they are not only inheritors of decision making processes but also contribute to spaces where change is being enacted.

For Ferron Pedro, working class coordinator at the South African Federation of Trade Unions (SAFTU), these videos are going to help her in the work she does to ensure that there is education and inclusion among workers who might not see climate change as a priority right now.

“It’s (climate change) so linked to everything else that we are fighting for. As Saftu, we only see under capitalism nightmare scenarios for the working class and it’s the same kind of short-sighted profiteering that pollutes our air, dirties our water and causes the climate catastrophe that exploits workers. That leaves them out of the economic system when there are these mass retrenchments that we are seeing all over so we need to make those links clear and we have a lot of work to do,” Pedro said.

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Cleopatra Shezi, an activist from the Soweto Electricity Crisis Committee, is a big proponent of solar energy. Shezi says she has been working hard to mobilise people in her community because she believes that a Green New Eskom is in every South Africans best interest.

“It will benefit all of us whether you are rich or poor because if Eskom wakes up tomorrow and says ‘we have run out of coal and we have to change to solar and wind energy’ then all of us are affected,” Shezi said. The series launch forms part of a greater programme of events for a mobilisation calling for change in the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) on September 22, 2021.

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