President Cyril Ramaphosa receives recommendations from the Presidential Climate Commission

Statement on the handing over of the Presidential Climate Commission’s first recommendations regarding South Africa’s draft updated Nationally Determined Contribution

President Cyril Ramaphosa recently received the first set of recommendations from the Presidential Climate Commission. The President established the Commission on 15 December 2020 to advise government on pathways to transition to a low-carbon economy and climate-resilient society. The Commission is comprised of representatives from business, labour, NGOs, the science community and government, and its recommendation are the product of engagement between the social partners.

The Commission’s first set of recommendations deals with South Africa’s Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), which is a statement by the country of its commitment to address climate change, made in terms of the Paris agreement and submitted to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). The Paris Agreement was born out the Durban Platform for Enhanced Action developed at COP17 under South Africa’s leadership.

South Africa continues to advocate for a just transition sensitive to the needs of developing countries, especially those on the  African continent. At COP26, South Africa will submit a credible NDC that reflects increased ambition.

The Commission highlighted the risks South Africa faces from a rapidly decarbonising global economy. Many of South Africa’s trading partners have adopted net-zero targets and will be looking to lower their emissions and impose trade barriers on emissions-intensive products.

The Commission also suggested that additional measures to lower emissions should be undertaken, such as decommissioning coal-fired power stations at the end of their commercial life, increasing renewable energy investment and rolling out green transport initiatives. Setting more ambitious emissions targets will lower the transition risk, improve energy security and attract additional international finance.

Commission Deputy Chair Valli Moosa said: “Higher ambition is possible without negatively impacting the economy, and will set the stage for longer-term competitiveness. Also, higher ambition will lead to a net jobs increase.”

However, the Commission pointed out that international support will be needed to accelerate the transition, including for managing the decommissioning process and social adjustment costs in the coal sector.

President Ramaphosa welcomed the report and commended the Commission on producing its first set of recommendations within such a short timeframe.

“The country’s emissions targets are fundamental not only to our transition to a low-carbon economy; they are also critical in influencing the pace and the nature of our country’s transformation. A more ambitious approach to reducing our emissions must be accompanied by greater attention to the work we must do to protect communities, jobs and the broader economy from the effects of climate change,” President Ramaphosa said.

The President will consider the recommendations made by the Commission. These recommendations, together with other submissions received during the public consultation process, will form part of Cabinet’s deliberations as it finalises the updated and revised NDC.

President Ramaphosa encouraged the Commission to continue with its work, which is crucial for successfully steering the country through the climate transition.

The Commission’s report can be downloaded from


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President Cyril Ramaphosa on an amendment to Schedule Two of the Electricity Regulation Act

10 Jun 2021

Good afternoon,

We are holding this briefing today in a time of great hope and great difficulty.

The difficulty, because we are in the midst of the worst economic crisis in our country’s recent history, which has seen a dramatic increase in unemployment and hunger and a significant decline in economic growth.

Hope, because we are already starting to see the results of our efforts to recover and to rebuild.

In the GDP figures released by Statistics South Africa this week, in the encouraging signs of a revival in many sectors of our economy, and in rising business confidence, we are seeing the green shoots that emerge after a devastating fire.

We are witnessing, as I predicted in the State of the Nation Address only a few months ago, the rebirth of our resilient protea.

The economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic has been severe, not only for South Africa but for the global economy.

As a country, however, our challenges predate the pandemic. We have experienced low economic growth and high levels of unemployment for many years, due to the structural constraints that hold our economy back.

There is no doubt that the prospect of a continued energy shortfall and further load shedding presents a massive risk to our economy. That is why we have identified the achievement of energy security as one of the priority interventions in our Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan.

Our ability to address the energy crisis swiftly and comprehensively will determine the pace of our economic recovery. Resolving the energy supply shortfall and reducing the risk of load shedding is our single most important objective in reviving economic growth.

In the past weeks and months, we have made some important progress in addressing the energy crisis under the leadership of the Minister of Mineral Resources and Energy.

This includes the announcement of 11 successful bidders for the Risk Mitigation Power Procurement Programme and the opening of Bid Window 5 of the renewable energy programme to procure 2 600 MW of new generation capacity from wind and solar PV projects.

Eskom is working hard to improve the performance of its existing fleet of power stations, reduce its debt burden and complete its restructuring process.

While these steps are positive and necessary, they are not enough to address the immediate and significant energy shortfall that threatens our economic recovery.

We know that to confront the energy challenge will require bold and urgent action now.

Incremental measures will not be sufficient to meet the scale of this challenge.

We also know that in responding to any crisis, we must remain agile and willing to adapt our interventions to match the circumstances that we face. The interventions that we planned yesterday may not be sufficient to meet our needs today.

For this reason, we are today announcing a significant new step in further reforming our electricity sector towards achieving a stable and secure supply of energy.

Following an extensive public consultation process and a significant amount of technical work undertaken by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, we will be amending Schedule 2 of the Electricity Regulation Act to increase the NERSA licensing threshold for embedded generation projects from 1 MW to 100 MW.

This intervention reflects our determination to take the necessary action to achieve energy security and reduce the impact of load shedding on businesses and households across the country.

It is evidence of our intention to tackle this economic crisis head-on, by implementing major economic reforms that will transform our economy.

It also demonstrates our commitment as a government to listen carefully to experts, to engage closely with our social partners, and to take on board new ideas to address our longstanding challenges.

This measure will be crucial in developing a response to the energy crisis that is ambitious enough, bold enough and urgent enough.

The amended regulations will exempt generation projects up to 100 MW in size from the NERSA licensing requirement, whether or not they are connected to the grid. This will remove a significant obstacle to investment in embedded generation projects.

Generators will also be allowed to wheel electricity through the transmission grid, subject to wheeling charges and connection agreements with Eskom and relevant municipalities.

However, generation projects will still need to obtain a grid connection permit to ensure that they meet all of the requirements for grid compliance. This will ensure that we are able to bring online as much new capacity as possible without compromising the integrity or stability of our energy system.

Generation projects will also need to have their registration approved by the regulator to verify that they have met these requirements and to receive authorisation to operate.

Municipalities will have the discretion to approve grid connection applications in their networks, based on an assessment of the impact on their grid.

They will also have to undertake an Environmental Impact Assessment and all other requirements of existing legislation.

This will ensure that while we enable as much new generation capacity as possible to come online, we also ensure the orderly development of the energy system.

This reform is expected to unlock significant investment in new generation capacity in the short and medium-term, enabling companies to build their own generation facilities to supply their energy needs.

This in turn will increase the available supply of energy and reduce the burden on Eskom, allowing Eskom to proceed with its intensive maintenance programme and reduce its reliance on expensive gas and diesel turbines.

The final version of the amendment to Schedule 2 will be published by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy within the next 60 days or sooner.

We are faced with the significant challenge of achieving a swift and lasting economic recovery, following many years of economic decline.

This government has the task of building a new economy in the wake of a global pandemic, and of placing our country on a strong footing for the next decade and beyond.

While the challenges we face are steep, our starting point must be to acknowledge the severity of the crisis.

If we recognise the challenge, if we understand its root causes, we can fund and implement solutions.

We are a country that is blessed with tremendous resources and resourcefulness. We have a bright future ahead of us.

Today’s announcement takes us one significant step further towards that future.

I would like to thank the Minister and his team for working tirelessly to secure our energy supply and to forge a modern, forward-looking and sustainable energy system for our country.

I would also like to thank the Operation Vulindlela team headed by the Deputy Minister of Finance and the staff who have worked on this in the National Treasury and in my office.

I thank you.


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President Cyril Ramaphosa: Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change

8 Jun 2021

Opening statement by President Cyril Ramaphosa at the Committee of African Heads of State and Government on Climate Change (CAHOSCC)

Good afternoon.

It is fitting that we are meeting just a few days after celebrating World Environment Day on the 5th of June, which focused on creating a good relationship with nature, and coincides with the launch of the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration 2021-2030

Since I assumed the role of Coordinator of this Committee in February last year, much has changed across the world and on our continent.

The global crisis brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic has affected all countries.

On our continent, the pandemic has exposed our socio-economic vulnerabilities and increased debt burdens.

It has created new challenges as we work towards the Sustainable Development Goals, responding to climate change as envisaged in the Paris Agreement, as well as attaining our Agenda 2063 aspirations.

While the continent is dealing with the impact of the pandemic on human health, our societies and our economies, Africa continue to bear the brunt of climate change, with annual costs to African economies of between 3 to 5 per cent of their GDPs on average.

Africa continues to be one of the most affected regions and frequently experiences phenomena associated with global warming.

These include droughts, floods, cyclones and other extreme weather events, which have caused enormous damage to infrastructure and displaced thousands of people.

This CAHOSCC meeting takes place soon after the virtual Climate Summit of World Leaders convened by the President of the United States on 22 and 23 April 2021, in which more than 40 world leaders participated.

The Summit reaffirmed that the international community needs to significantly scale up its efforts, raise the level of ambition and support developing countries with the means to implement climate actions.

Progress in addressing the global challenge of climate change can only be made when we all honour our mutual commitments and respect our common, but differentiated responsibilities.

It is absolutely imperative that everyone must contribute their fair share if we are to limit global warming to the agreed target of well-below 2 degrees, build the resilience of our economies and ensure the safety and well-being of our citizens.

Therefore, at this critical juncture, Africa needs to speak with one clear voice to emphasise the primacy of multilateralism and to express our unwavering support for the full implementation of the UN Climate Change Convention and its Paris Agreement.
We need a strong and well-coordinated Common African Position.

We need to adopt key messages that encapsulate Africa’s aspirations and work together in the spirit of unity and solidarity as a Continent.

We need to send a clear message that all African countries require support from international partners and that our development space should be respected to achieve our climate goals and ambitions, while contributing our fair share to the global effort.

We need recognition of our different national circumstances and capacities as it is not realistic to expect us to meet the same timelines as developed countries to transition our economies and to disinvest from fossil fuels.

This is important, especially given the high levels of inequality, unemployment and developmental needs across our Continent, particularly among women and the youth.

Furthermore, we need to send a clear signal that implementation and ambition apply equally to mitigation, adaptation and support.

Increased ambition for action must be matched with enhanced ambition for support.

While this pandemic is having a profound impact on sustainable development and our efforts to combat environmental degradation, it also presents opportunities to set our recovery on a path of transformative sustainable development.

In this regard, many governments and regions are prioritising a green recovery as part of their stimulus packages to address the crisis.

The African Green Stimulus Programme adopted by the African Ministerial Conference on the Environment in December 2020 is an innovative African-led initiative to support the continent’s recovery.

The African Green Stimulus Programme seeks to harness the opportunities of a green recovery through a more coordinated approach and the scaling up of resource mobilisation, capacity building and technology development.

In conclusion, it is clear that Africa will need climate change, environment and sustainable development initiatives to be implemented at a much larger scale.

This is not only to contribute significantly to Africa’s green recovery, but also to fully realise the Africa We Want as espoused in Agenda 2063.

We must therefore do everything within our means to ensure a successful outcome of COP26 in November this year, particularly for Africa.

I thank you.


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