Parliament, Monday, 13 March 2023 – The Portfolio Committee on Forestry, Fisheries and Environment has concluded its public hearings on the Climate Change Bill in Gauteng.
The committee held public hearings in the City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, City of Ekurhuleni and in West Rand District Municipality to solicit citizens’ input on the draft legislation, which seeks to craft an effective response to the impacts of climate change and reduce carbon emissions in South Africa.
The Bill received support from those who appreciated the importance of saving the planet by taking care of the environment and reducing carbon emissions, as well as disapproval from citizens more concerned about the potential loss of employment as a result of the decommissioning of coal power stations and closure of coal mines and related industries. All of these contribute to greenhouse gas emissions.
West Rand was the last district visited by the committee. There, people supported the Bill, but also complained about mine dumps, slime dams, illegal dumping and sinkholes in the area. They told the committee that the dust from the mine dumps is causing respiratory diseases in the community.
Some participants asked if the renewable energy sector will create enough job opportunities to make up for the job losses that will come with the discontinuation of coal. In all three districts, citizens called for mass education campaigns to raise awareness about climate change and its impact to the environment and human life.
The Chairperson of the committee, Mr Pogiso Modise, thanked the people of Gauteng for participating in the public hearings and for their inputs towards improving the Climate Change Bill. “Climate change is real and it affects all of us. People don’t believe there is climate change. We respect their views, but we believe there is climate change and the world must develop adaptation and mitigation systems in response to the impact of the changing conditions, such as rising sea levels, heat and floods,” said Mr Modise.
The Climate Change Bill seeks to ensure the effective management of inevitable climate change impacts by enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change, with a view to building social, economic and environmental resilience and adequate national adaptation responses in the context of the global climate change response.
The committee will continue conducting public hearings in all the provinces to give every citizen an opportunity to participate in the process.
ISSUED BY THE PARLIAMENTARY COMMUNICATION SERVICES ON BEHALF OF THE CHAIRPERSON OF THE PORTFOLIO COMMITTEE ON FORESTRY, FISHERIES AND ENVIRONMENT, MR POGISO MODISE.
For media enquiries or interviews with the committee Chairperson, please contact:
Name: Sakhile Mokoena
Cell: 081 705 2130