Business Day reports that President Cyril Ramaphosa has appointed Daniel Mminele to head up the presidential climate finance task team. The team’s brief is to guide the government on the most efficient and effective use of the US$8,5-billion (about R131-billion) funding agreement which was secured during November’s COP26 meeting.
South Africa's energy sector is very heavily dependent on fossil fuels – mostly coal – which makes the country the largest CO2 emitter on the continent. The environmental damage, the high levels of air pollution, and the premature deaths of thousands of South Africans each year, caused directly by the mining and burning of coal is seen as being of such serious dimensions that other industrialised countries are willing to support South Africa's transition to a cleaner future.
South Africa's energy sector employs many millions of people, both directly and indirectly. The coal mining industry alone is one of the country's largest employers. Part of the team's work will be to help the country to transition to a cleaner economy without causing major job losses.
The money will be provided by a number of countries including the US, the UK, and Germany. It is to be used to support South Africa's transition to a lower-carbon economy, primarily by moving electricity generation away from coal and other fossil-fuels to renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, water and hydrogen. It has been estimated that this transition would cost about R300-billion and could take 30 years to accomplish.
Mminele is a former CEO of ABSA, was deputy governor of the Reserve Bank, and is currently an independent non-executive director at Alexander Forbes.