‘We didn’t come here without a plan,’ Ramaphosa tells COP28 delegates

South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa. REUTERS.
South Africa's President Cyril Ramaphosa. REUTERS.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has told delegates attending a UN climate change conference that while the government continues to focus on managing the energy crisis, South Africans should play their part by speaking positively about the country.

“Much as we have got our own challenges, climate change, energy and electricity related, even as you talk about it, talk gently about it,” he said laughing.

Ramaphosa was speaking at South Africa’s pavilion at the UN Conference of Parties (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), on Friday. 

Welcoming delegates to the conference, he said: “We are telling the world that we are going through an energy crisis, which we are addressing. Our energy action plan is also part of our plan going forward, so we did not come here without a plan.

“We have a plan, we have ideas on what we should do and fortunately we’ve got good people who are well versed in a number of disciplines and some of them are here.” 

He said he was pleased that team South Africa was well represented in Dubai.

“Remember you are part of team South Africa, so even as we speak let’s talk our country up, let’s showcase our country and let’s tell the world that we have got enormous opportunities. We are well endowed, and we are not plan-less. We are full of plans and let’s go out there and execute our plan.” 

He told the gathering, after addressing world leaders, South Africa hoped COP28 would yield better results than the previous one. 

“We have also brought our just energy investment plan. At COP26 we struck a deal with a number of countries that were prepared and able to invest up to $8,5bn and the number has since gone up because more countries have since committed to investing more money. I think we are now at $11.2bn and we are hoping that it will keep on increasing.”

South Africa has also been advocating for a larger portion of grants and concessional loans so it can address the challenges it is faced with. 

“We need much more money than what is currently on offer to address our own transition into a better future. We are saying that as we transit, what has to underpin our efforts is that we make sure that it is community based so that we don’t leave anyone behind.” 

This could be seen in the coal mining sector, he said. 

“Our own transition is going to require a lot of money and that we engage at a deep level with our people.” 

He said he was pleased a deal had already been signed at COP28. 

“One of the real upfront agreements is to address loss and damage and that a fund has been set up and money is going to be set aside to address the loss and damage that climate change has brought in our people’s lives and communities.” 

Ramaphosa said South Africa wants more money to be contributed than what has been put on the table because $350m is “far too little” to address the challenges climate change has imposed on communities.

“We as countries that have not contributed much, if at all, to climate change are feeling the effects much more strongly than those countries that have contributed immensely.” 

He said South Africa was now capitalising on a number of technologies and new industries, like green hydrogen, that could be yielded from the current challenges.



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