COSATU welcomes the National Assembly’s adoption of the Climate Change Bill

29 October 20233

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) welcomes the National Assembly’s adoption of the Climate Change Bill.

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, increasing 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 thirst 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 of climate change 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 need for South Africa’s climate change responses to tackle not only the climate change crises, but also our employment and economic development needs simultaneously.  These cannot be tackled separately if we are to ensure a sustainable approach to these challenges.

The Federation welcomes the Bill’s provisions:

  • Establishing the Presidential Climate Change Commission, that will include key stake holders including organised labour; and help guide South Africa’s climate change responses.
  • Requiring national, provincial and local government as well as key State Owned Entreprises have climate change plans to reduce and mitigate their footprints.
  • Providing 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.
  • Synchronising 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.
  • Providing for strict penalties for government entities and businesses who fail to comply with environmental and climate change requirements.

COSATU looks forward to the National Council’s of Provinces passing this important Bill.  Whilst the Bill lays a progressive foundation for the nation’s response to climate change, it will only achieve its objectives if government resources its organs 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 comment please contact:

Matthew Parks
Acting National Spokesperson & Parliamentary Coordinator
Cell: 082 785 0687