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Greenpeace Africa has criticised Minerals and Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe, who at the opening of the Africa Energy Week conference in Cape Town called for “African solidarity” and defended fossil fuels. Mantashe’s stance is based on the idea that developing nations are less inclined to adopt a just transition over developed ones as their economies are more dependent on investment in fossil fuels.

This comes after Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister, Barbara Creecy, who attended COP26 in Glasgow, said that South Africa would not support a pledge signed by 40 nations and institutions to end coal financing by the 2030s for major economies, and the 2040s for poorer nations. “South Africa has not signed the move away from coal pledge. Our position in negotiations is that any decisions need to be made in the process of formal negotiations through the convention. And I think that we would be worried about situations where there’s an increase in tendency to set up platforms and pledges that are outside of the negotiation process. We think that it disadvantages developing countries,” Creecy said.

Creecy said despite the nation’s stance, there was an emphasis on a just transition and accessing the necessary financing to ensure that marginalised communities aren’t further disadvantaged in the move away from coal. The minister said if there were a rush to disinvest from coal, this was likely to result in stranded assets – infrastructure no longer able to earn an economic return.