On the 1st of December 2016 more than 500 women from Environmental Justice organisation, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, and her grassroots partner organisations will descend on the Eskom regional offices in Braamfontein.
Dressed in black, the message that the woman wish to send to Eskom is clear:
South Africa’s new energy plan, released on the 22nd of November 2016, is farce and does not reflect the energy needs of women, and the communities that they support.
The demonstration will take place at the Eskom regional offices in Braamfontein located at 204 Smit Street in Braamfontein from 10: 00 am on the morning of the 1st of December 2016.
These women have been fighting and campaigning for an Integrated Energy Plan (IRP) that meets the needs of women, children, and future generations since the previous 2013 version mysteriously disappeared because it did not support an unconstitutional nuclear build. The IRP produced by the Department of Energy on the 22nd of November simply does not fit the bill and is a total disappointment to the rights and well-being of South African women.
While the costs of renewables have dramatically dropped over the past couple of years, and renewable energy has the potential to produce employment and energy independence for struggling communities; the government insists on following a plan intended to maintain the interests of the vested elites in nuclear and coal. Interests which belong predominantly to men.
Like other civil society groups, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and partner organisations reject the long-awaited IRP and its flawed base case scenario.
The women make the following demands of the Department of Energy and Eskom:
- The Department of Energy and Eskom must explain to civil society why it has released a cost non-competitive base case scenario that will spell dire economic, health and environmental impacts for most women in South Africa;
- The Department of Energy and Eskom must explain why it promotes the application of 20 GW of new nuclear and 15 GW of new coal by 2050 to the national grid while these energy types will force the price of electricity to sky rocket;
- The Department of Energy must supply civil society with all the supporting documents and the process used in developing the flawed base case;
- The Department of Energy and Eskom must allow for adequate pubic participation in the process. Holding public hearings in December is simply unacceptable. Furthermore, the Department of Energy and Eskom must hold public education and consultation workshops on the plan and must give the public adequate notice to participate. Women are the most affected by these poorly constructed energy plans and need to be given a priority voice in a democratic energy decision making process.
Furthermore, and most importantly for the women who will be demonstrating on the 1st of December, is that the revised proposed IRP 2016 does nothing to address current energy poverty. The proposed IRP offers no solutions to the grievances which women and communities on the ground face with the accelerated electricity costs produced by prepaid maters.
As Martha Mokate, spokesperson from the Soweto Electricity Crisis Community (SECC) explains: “Smart meters, like the new IRP are anything but smart, and nuclear and coal are not the solution. The new IRP does not even mention the most affordable way to provide communities and women with the Free Basic Electricity that they are entitled too, and in these uncertain economic times this should be the absolute priority of a government which claims to be working for the people”.
In short… Eskom and the Department of Energy have produced a plan which is nothing less than violence against women and the people that they care for.
Energy Policy Officer
Tel: +27 11 339 3662
Cell: +27 79 331 2028
Education and Outreach Officer
Tel: +27 11 339 3662
Cell: + 27 76 246 0352
International Coal Network Assistant
Earthlife Africa Jhb
Tell: +27 11 339 3662
Cell: +27 73 326 1553
For more about Earthlife Africa, refer to www.earthlife.org.za
To view other NGO press releases, refer to www.ngopulse.org/press-releases.