SA delegation briefly locked out at climate summit

2009-12-16 15:56

Some members of the South African delegation to the UN climate

summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, were locked out and could not access the main

conference venue today, President Jacob Zuma’s spokesman, Vincent

Magwenya said.

“Danish authorities locked us and some NGOs as well as media

representatives out of the conference due to a protest that was taking place

outside the conference venue,” said Magwenya.

He said he was with Steyn Speed, communications chief director in

the presidency, and the chief of state protocol, Ambassador Lucas Mahlasela


“For an hour we were locked outside in sub zero temperatures. For a while, no-one communicated with us until at all...and when

people started pushing and getting restless, they said they were blocking us

because of the protest.  They were eventually let in," said Magwenya.

Meanwhile, Johannesburg Mayor Amos Masondo on Wednesday joined

local government leaders from 80 cities present at the climate talks in their

quest for the consideration of cities in a future climate deal.

A wing of the Government Communication and Information System, Bua

News, said Masondo joined New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Boris Johnson of

London, Toronto’s David Miller and others at the conference that sought to find

lasting solutions to the imminent catastrophic climate change.

Urban areas were said to account for at least two-thirds of CO2

emissions and Johannesburg, being SA’s economic hub with the largest population

in the country, was also the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases (GHG)

responsible for climate change.

“We have come here to add our voices to ensure that we are part of

the solution,” Masondo said.

He said there was a need for community participation in curbing

climate change because it directly affected local people.

“It is our view that this battle has to be won or lost at local

level,” he said.

Masondo called on leaders at the summit to do everything possible

to empower local governments to enable them to better respond to the challenges

of climate change.

The City of Johannesburg wants to plant more than 200 000 trees by

June next year.

Masondo said the city was on right track to meet that target

including that of a massive reducing of GHG emission by at the beginning of


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