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During a Policy Expert roundtable on Tuesday morning, jointly hosted by Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS), experts took to the podium to paint a very grim picture of the globe’s climate outlook. They stressed that it is important for every government to prioritise climate change and the effects it has on our economy and poorer South Africans who often shoulder the brunt.
The Climate & Environment Policy expert panel was addressed by KAS Regional Energy Security and Climate Change in Sub-Saharan Africa’s Anja Beretta, WaterCAN & OUTA’s Dr Farriel Adam, South African Cities Network’s Liteboho Makhele, and ActionSA Western Cape Provincial Chairperson, Michelle Wasserman.
Dr Adam lamented that the increased frequency of climate change occurrences in South Africa continues to adversely affect our access to potable water and asserted that 50-52% of South Africans do not have access to safe water. In conducting its work, WaterCAN and OUTA are effectively asking for those corporations and government agencies to be fined and held criminally liable for the precipitously increasing pollution in our water and river systems. Dr Adam also highlighted that corruption has had a devasting effect on our water systems, most recently evidenced in Hammanskraal and the cholera outbreak that has ensued.
Makhele advanced that the government ought to focus on trying to incentivise the integration of waste-pickers in the waste value chain on the way to cultivating a more climate-conscious and sustainable communities and cities around South Africa. Makhele also advanced that we are to look at the funding models to address the perverse incentives that governments have that exacerbates climate and environmental concerns.
Beretta advanced that demonstratable political will from developing nations would go a long will to instilling confidence and attracting investment in projects that will assist South Africa’s sustainability. For as long as governments view climate change as “a future problem”, we will continue to erroneously invest in projects and programmes that are not sustainable and that will be relegated to obscurity by the most recent events.
All experts were at pains to emphasise that civic education on clime change and the environment, and the effects it has on indigent communities, is vital to get buy-in from the communities who are often on the receiving end of such climate occurrences.
Today’s expert panel – the third in a series of 11 such panels – forms part of ActionSA’s broader policy engagement process ahead of our inaugural policy conference in September where we are also asking experts, our members, and the people of South Africa for solutions to the most pressing issues in our society.
ActionSA believes that solutions on how to fix South Africa won’t come from politicians but will come from experts and ordinary citizens who are most affected. Together we will be able to provide a clear alternative for South Africans and usher in change in the 2024 elections. Submissions can be made on ActionSA’s public platform here.
Issued by ActionSA Director of Policy Johann Krige F