A recent digital dialogue analysed how SA’s climate change commitments translate to energy policy
SA needs to “own” its drive for energy security as it seeks to ensure environmental sustainability. That is according to Prof Lwazi Ngubevana, director of the African Energy Leadership Centre at Wits Business School.
Ngubevana was one of several experts who spoke during a digital dialogue on July 15 that unpacked how SA’s climate change commitments translate to energy policy. This event — watch the recording below — was hosted by the department of mineral resources & energy (DMRE), department of forestry, fisheries & the environment (DFFE) and the Petroleum Agency SA (Pasa).
Ngubevana told attendees that SA and the rest of the continent needs country-specific solutions to energy challenges, instead of following internal trends.
“A just transition for me is based on innovation and ownership models,” he said. “We need to set the agenda — how and when we transition to renewables — with our own policies. We need to own our resources.”
Pasa COO Bongani Sayidini said SA’s energy security challenges could be addressed if the country’s significant indigenous reserves were embraced and optimally used.
Seismic surveys have been resisted by environmental activists who mounted legal challenges around the consultation process and the potential negative affect on marine life.
Sayidini said there was no proof that seismic surveys had damaged marine life, but instead the legal challenges chased investors away. “We halted investment of up to R1bn within a space of not even two months.”
Pasa CEO Dr Phindile Masangane said consultation ahead of surveys was “critical”. “The pushback sometimes is not informed by the latest technological developments. We want consultations to be meaningful. We will publish new guidelines this December on how to consult with communities,” she added.
DMRE director-general Jacob Mbele said oil and gas will be part of the global energy mix and that of SA for the foreseeable future.