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Mandela Day: 350Africa, partners demand end to coal funding

“Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the action of human beings.” – Former South African President, Nelson Mandela

A power plant fired by coal

As the Mandela Day 2019 is observed on Thursday, July 18,  350Africa and partners are mobilising under the banner of “Action against poverty” and calling on finance minister of South Africa, Tito Mboweni, to order public financial institutions like the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA), Public Investment Corporation (PIC), Industrial Development Corporation (IDC) and others to halt all finance on coal, oil and gas exploration or infrastructure.

Rather, the activists are urging him to finance a “just and rapid transition to a 100% renewable energy future” and “alleviate the climate-crisis related poverty”.

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They maintain that, as sole shareholder of the DBSA, IDC and PIC, the Minister of Finance needs to ensure that all public finance institutions implement coal-free strategies to counter both the socio-economic impacts of climate change and the perverse effects of poverty on frontline communities.

350Africa insists that the National Treasury plays a pivotal role in the management of government expenditure with the aim of promoting growth and prosperity for all.

South Africa Divestment campaigner, Ahmed Mokgopo, says: “Investing in clean, sustainable energy infrastructure is critical if the government seeks to ensure energy security, energy access, and a low-cost, low carbon future. While the DBSA has already started on this path, the country’s future energy investments must prioritise clean energy development and shun fossil fuels to avoid exacerbating the severity of the climate crisis. Already the impacts of the climate crisis are with us in the severe flooding that resulted in the loss of a number of lives, damaging property and livelihoods in KwaZulu Natal

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“in April this year. The risk of hunger and famine is becoming greater every day and in order to create real and lasting change, the social, economic and political realities underpinning climate change must be addressed. Prioritising climate action should reflect in public financial flows.”

Mandela Day is a global call to action that celebrates the idea that each individual has the power to transform the world and the ability to make an impact. A large part of uTata Mandela’s legacy is focused on creating lasting change that will benefit the youth.

“Given the rise in youth activism around the climate crisis, we are using this opportunity to call on the Minister of Finance and to invest in an energy-future centred on social justice for future generations,” Mokgopo adds. 


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