So. Africa: Govt. official pledges to defend coal companies from claims that its product is 'dirty'

Author: Daily Maverick, (South Africa), Published on: 28 April 2019

"No Tomorrow, Part One: Gwede Mantashe, climate suicide & the ANC’s 2019 election manifesto"

 

Without mentioning the climate specifically, the ANC manifesto does place a heavy emphasis on renewable energy. Somehow, though, the numbers are out of whack there, too, while the ANC’s national chairperson, Gwede Mantashe, has a lot to say about the virtues of coal, while the party lauded the recent ‘economy saving’ discovery of a billion barrels of gas off the Southern Cape coast.

Stephen Cornell, the chief executive of Sasol, is very pleased. And why wouldn’t he be? On Friday 12 April 2019, when mineral resources minister Gwede Mantashe officiated at the opening of the R5.6-billion Impumelelo Colliery in Mpumalanga, the take-home message was that the ANC government wasn’t going to sit around idly any more while climate activists threw shade at fossil fuel companies. No, said Mantashe, it was time for the coal industry to push back against the lie that its product was “dirty”, particularly considering that such falsehoods had recently placed the entire industry “under siege”. Meanwhile, back in Pretoria, the minister’s people were preparing a press release that would tackle the misinformation head-on: “Gwede Mantashe has urged the coal mining sector to continue investing in clean-coal technology,” the communiqué from the Department of Mineral Resources stated, “in order to mitigate the effects of climate change.”

… The question, then, as Mantashe prepares for his next visit, is this: how much pressure will his party allow him to apply? Stun grenades and tear gas canisters are one thing, and we can fully expect the South African Police Service to deploy these in Xolobeni again, but the mining minister has so far been holding back on some of the most lethal weapons in his arsenal. As per the observations of Aninka Claassens, among the country’s foremost experts on the land rights of mining-affected communities, there are clauses in the relevant legislation that entitle the state to expropriate land where “it is in the interests of economic transformation to do so”.All of which is to suggest that seen through the lens of climate, which the party itself situates under the header of “radical land reform”, the ANC’s election manifesto is a 66-page impossibility.

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Related companies: Sasol