COSATU has presented its submission in support of the Climate Change Bill to Parliament

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) presented its submission in support of the Climate Change Bill to Parliament’s Portfolio Committee: Environment, Forestry and Fisheries today, the 7th of September 2022.

Climate change is a real threat to workers, their families, communities and the economy.  Its effects are being felt with the pollution that claims the lives of thousands of workers annually, its detrimental repercussions that increase occurrences of devastating floods whilst some regions experience dwindling supplies of drinkable water, rising temperatures and arable land being lost to desertification.  The key causes of climate change result from the unsustainable behaviour of humanity and unbridled capital’s greed for profits at the expense of workers and society’s needs.

The Climate Change Bill is a welcome and long overdue intervention that seeks to provide a balanced approach for South Africa to try to manage the many crises that emanate from this phenomenon and to ensure that the transitions which are taking place, will be just and protect workers, their jobs and communities. 

COSATU engaged extensively on the Bill at Nedlac and is pleased that its concerns and proposals were accommodated in the Bill.  These include the acknowledgement that South Africa’s climate change responses must not only tackle the climate change crises, but they should also simultaneously address the country’s employment and economic development needs.  These cannot be combated separately if we are to ensure a sustainable approach to these challenges.

The Federation welcomes the Bill’s provisions to:

1.      Establish the Presidential Climate Change Commission, that will include key stake holders including organised labour; and help guide South Africa’s climate change responses.

2.      Require national, provincial and local government as well as key State Owned Entreprises to have climate change plans to reduce and mitigate their footprints.

3.      Provide for provincial and municipal forums for key stakeholders, including labour, business and communities to participate in the development and implementation of these climate change plans.

4.      Synchronise South Africa’s climate change responses with our carbon tax regime.  This is critical to maintaining trade relations with the European Union and other key partners.

5.      Provide for strict penalties for government entities and businesses who fail to comply with environmental and climate change requirements.

COSATU looks forward to Parliament’s role in strengthening and processing this important Bill.  Whilst the Bill will lay a progressive foundation for the nation’s response to climate change, it will only succeed in meeting its objectives if government adequately resources its institutions to implement it.  Equally important is for the private sector to plays its role, adopt less pollutive behaviour and invest in reskilling and not retrenching workers’ whose jobs are at risk. 

Issued by COSATU

For further information please contact:
Matthew Parks-Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687