Ramaphosa appoints long-awaited climate change commission

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President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Presidency)
President Cyril Ramaphosa. (Photo: Presidency)
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed a 22-member climate change commission.
  • The commission is tasked with overseeing a just transition to a low-carbon, an inclusive and a climate change resilient economy and society.
  • Among those in the commission are the head of Eskom's Just Energy Transition Office Mandy Rambharos and head of the United Democratic Movement Bantu Holomisa.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed the long-awaited Presidential Climate Change Commission, to oversee the country's just transition to a low carbon, inclusive, climate resilient economy and society.

According to a statement issued by the Presidency on Thursday, the appointment of the 22-member team, effective today, is a result of a resolution reached at the Presidential Jobs Summit held in 2018. Social partners had agreed to the appointment of the statutory body.

Earlier this year, during the State of the Nation Address, Ramaphosa said the commission would ensure no one would be left behind as the country pursues a low-carbon growth path.

"The commission is tasked with advising on South Africa's climate change response. This includes mitigation and adaptation to climate change and its associated impacts," the statement from the Presidency read. The commission will also provide "independent monitoring and review" of the country's progress in meeting emissions reduction targets and adaption goals, it said.

As per its terms of reference, the commission will advise and facilitate a common understanding of the just transition – which is cognisant of the socio-economic, environmental and technological implications of climate change.

Importantly, it will provide a platform for key stakeholders to engage on the impact on jobs and ensure reporting on the progress on Sector Job Resilient Plans, the Presidency indicated.

The commission comprises representatives from government departments, state entities, business organisations, labour, academia, civil society, research institutions and traditional leadership.

The head of Eskom's Just Energy Transition office, Mandy Rambharos, is a member of the commission. Rambharos has previously said that while the power utility seeks to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, it also needs a transition plan to create sustainable jobs. The transition to a cleaner and greener energy future would have to be accompanied with new job opportunities, especially for workers and communities impacted by the switch from coal to renewable energy technologies, Rambharos said during a webinar in November. 

Other members of the commission include leader of the United Democratic Movement Bantu Holomisa, Dr Brian Mantlana of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, chief operations officer of the Industrial Development Corporation Joanne Bate, Cosatu's labour market policy coordinator Lebogang Mulaisi, activist and director of the Johannesburg branch of Earthlife Africa Makoma Lekalakala - who famously opposed the controversial nuclear deal - and teen climate activist Ayakha Melithafa. 

The full list of members is as follows:

1. Valli Moosa (Deputy Chair)

2. Ayakha Melithafa

3. Dr Brian Mantlana

4. Mandy Rambharos

5. Joanne Bate

6. Dhesigen Naidoo

7. Mapaseka Lukhele

8. Shamini Harrington

9. Princess Tsakani Nkambule

10. Setlakalane Molepo

11. Joanne Yawitch

12. Mbulaheni Mbodi

13. Lebogang Mulaisi

14. Jacques Hugo

15. Mac Chavalala

16. Bongani Mwale

17. Louise Naude

18. Bobby Peek

19. Happy Khambule

20. Bantu Holomisa

21. Melissa Fourie

22. Makoma Lekalakala

The presidency said that the process of receiving nominations and making appointments is ongoing and will be finalised soon.

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