SAFCEI takes the IRP to the Karoo
17 October 2018
Today, the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) – the same NGO that partnered with Earthlife Africa Johannesburg to stop the illegal nuclear deal – heads to the Karoo, in a bid to drive public participation in decisions about the Department of Energy’s (DOE) proposed Integrated Resource Plan (IRP).
According to SAFCEI’s Vainola Makan, this is SAFCEI’s second trip to the Karoo this year and forms part of the organisation’s national public education and participation roadshow – which also included trips to engage communities in the Northern and Eastern Capes. The NGO also seeks to understand how these communities feel about current government-to-citizen engagement around energy issues, with the goal of improving it.
Says Makan, “These communities – who have to deal with the consequences of nuclear waste and also the ongoing attempts at uranium mining and fracking (all of which threaten their livelihoods) – are particularly vulnerable and their voices are often excluded, due to their isolated locations and other social obstacles.”
SAFCEI is joined by partners the Support Centre for Land Change (SCLC) and the Karoo Environmental Justice Movement (KEJM), as well as community and faith leaders to update and educate the public about the IRP. We are committed to ensuring that every day citizens – particularly those communities that have first-hand experience of the consequences of government’s short-sighted decisions – get a chance to inform government of the challenges they face.
“If South Africans want sustainable and fair national development, then the IRP needs to shift from unsustainable and dirty to sustainable and clean energy sources. Furthermore, the energy plan should also play its part in mitigating the country’s contributions to climate change.”
“The IRP should benefit all citizens and should not be about the enrichment of a few. The bottom line is, coal and nuclear energy are too dangerous and costly for our people, and any energy plan that does not seek to phase these out in the near future, is unacceptable.”
“Sadly, public participation – which should be a cornerstone of our hard-fought democracy – has become less of a priority for government. It is therefore, important that we build the capacity of community and faith leaders to enable them to effectively participate in the country’s energy decisions. Since rural communities are often excluded, this is a key area for us. Faith Communities is suitably placed as keepers of the living earth and their faith compels them to care about social or environmental and energy justice.” says Makan.
The IRP hearings began in Parliament yesterday. Another round will happen on 23rd and 24th October where faith community and civil society voices will have their say.
From tomorrow, SAFCEI will meet with communities in at least four towns – including Murraysburg, Graaff Reinet, Willowmore and Rietbron – in the Karoo.
Thursday, 18 October
Murraysburg, Town Hall/Stadsaal: 10h00 – 13h00
Graaf Reinett, Verenigde Gereformeerde Kerksaal: 17h00 – 19h30
Friday, 19 October
Willowmore, Community Hall/Gemeenskapsaal: 10h00 – 13h00
Rietbron, Community Hall/ Gemeenskapsaal: 15h00 – 18h00
Saturday, 20 October
The team will be pamphleteering in different towns and met with communities and faith leaders
Issued by Natasha Adonis, on behalf of SAFCEI. For more information, kindly contact Natasha on 0797-999-654 (also available on WhatsApp).
Building a Just Energy Future in South Africa
Click on the links below to download the pamphlet
Interested persons and organisations are invited to submit written comments on the draft Integrated Resource Plan 2018 to the Director-General of the Department of Energy for the attention of Mr Tshepo Madingoane: IRP.Queries@energy.gov.za
Kindly provide the name, address, telephone number, fax number and e-mail address of the person or organisation submitting the comment. Please note that comments received after the closing date may be disregarded.
See SAFCEI’s submission here.
View the Karoo Roadshow photographs here.