Molewa remembered as a Climate Change champion and 'woman of the soil'

2018-09-28 21:07
Edna Molewa

Edna Molewa

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A loving, intelligent "African woman of the soil" – this was how colleagues of late Minister of Environmental Affairs Dr Edna Molewa remembered her on Friday.

They were among hundreds of friends, family members and colleagues who gathered at Kirstenbosch Gardens in Cape Town to pay tribute to her.

Molewa died in a Pretoria hospital last Saturday after a short illness.

The minister was praised for her groundbreaking climate change policies.

"It is her work in the field of climate change that I want to remember her [by]. For many of us in this country, we saw climate change as something that others would deal with – it wasn't seen as an imminent danger," Tasneem Essop said on behalf of the National Planning Commission.

"Dr Molewa knew that it was a danger. She understood that this was a justice issue that needed to be dealt with. The impact of climate change will affect the poorest and the most vulnerable of our society."

When Molewa was appointed Minister of Water and Environmental Affairs in 2010, she immediately prioritised the global climate change crisis at both international and national levels.

As part of this effort, she facilitated the development of South Africa's National Climate Change Response Policy that was approved by Cabinet in 2011.

The policy includes a range of measures aimed at achieving both national goals, as reflected in the National Development Plan, and those under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

Several colleagues commented on Molewa's ability to grasp incredibly difficult concepts with ease.

Dr André Share, head of Operation Phakisa (Oceans Economy), recalled one occasion when Molewa asked him to brief her on an issue at her home.

Upon his arrival, he found a hairdresser doing her hair and a nail technician painting her nails.

"She told me to start talking and while I was talking she asked me to dial a number on her phone. She told me to keep talking while she was on the phone," Share joked.

"I thought she would forget everything, but a few minutes later she was briefing someone else on everything I had told her.

"She read every document you put in front of her and she would ask questions. You couldn't bamboozle the minister – even when you thought she wasn't listening."

Deputy general of Oceans and Coast Judy Beaumont became emotional when she spoke about Molewa's passion for conservation.

"It was your passion and your mission to do whatever it takes to make Section 24 of our Constitution – the right to a healthy environment – to make that Section 24 real," she said tearfully.

"..,reminding us consistently that this is what our work is about."

Molewa's official memorial service is expected to take place in Pretoria on October 3 and her funeral will take place on October 6.

The venues for both the memorial and funeral services are still to be confirmed.

Read more on:    cape town

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