Who does Gwede Mantashe think he’s fooling?
The mineral resources & energy minister has been leading a one-man, climate change-denialist charge against common sense and the country’s best interests with his inexplicable defence of fossil fuels. Whose interests is he fighting for, when his public statements are so at odds with logic, common sense and the country’s best interests?
Last month climate envoys from the UK, US, France, Germany and the EU came to SA to convince our government that Eskom should accelerate its shut down of coal-fired power stations, specifically nine of them by 2035. Please note that Eskom planned to shut these down, but only have to do it sooner.
Why are these wealthy nations courting Eskom, the world’s greatest polluter, as was recently revealed? Because, can you believe it, the do-gooders actually want to reduce the disastrous effects of climate change – which have finally begun impacting rich nations as much as the poor – and create net-zero emissions. The selfish bastards.
What’s in it for SA and Eskom, currently buried under R402bn in debt? R1.8bn in cheap green financing for building renewable power sources and for refinancing the grid, which is due to be spun-off as a separate division from power generation?
If only Mantashe didn’t have family “commitments” at the same time. Yeah, for all three days that these climate envoys were in town with their whopping cheque book.
Are you telling me that the family of a Cabinet minister isn’t used to being blown off at the slightest notice – like a Gupta wedding at Sun City?
This is the same coal rescuer & renewable naysayer who President Cyril Ramaphosa was forced to overrule in June by announcing that companies could generate up to 100MW of power themselves, using renewable or solar means. Ramaphosa had to “twist” his arm, the jovial bonhomie goes, belying the fact that Mantashe’s insanely obvious protection of SA’s coal-mining elite is, well, so obvious.
Mantashe told parliament in June that his department’s “research and survey, where we had about 10,000 people responding, [demonstrates] overwhelming support for the 10MW” of self-generation.
You might think that having been roundly laughed at for making up this clearly preposterous “survey,” Mantashe would find some moral fortitude. Oh no.
He was too busy trying to defend the indefensible over the utterly odd choice of a foreign-owned, allegedly corrupt company – Karpowership – that wants to park power ships in our harbours, which will destroy marine life while sucking vast amounts of money – for 60% of the 2,000MW required – out of the economy.
Meanwhile, at the mining indaba last month, as these climate envoys cruelly tried to make the world a better place, Mantashe stuck back on the side of vested mining interests by arguing for some kind of so-called “cleaner coal” solution.
“When we talk of carbon capture, storage and use, maybe it’s expensive. Renewable energy was expensive, we invested and brought that into the economy and the price is coming down – we must be prepared to invest in cleaner coal technology,” Mantashe said.
So much for how SA has berated the UK for its unscientific approach to keeping the country on its Covid red list when Mantashe goes all flat-earth with his logic about climate change. The key difference is Mantashe is immune to logic and his belligerence will cost SA, and the world, much more dearly.
This article first appeared in Financial Mail.