/COMMUNITIES DESCEND ON ESKOM SAYING NO TO NUCLEAR & YES TO RENEWABLE ENERGY

COMMUNITIES DESCEND ON ESKOM SAYING NO TO NUCLEAR & YES TO RENEWABLE ENERGY

COMMUNITIES DESCEND ON ESKOM SAYING NO TO NUCLEAR & YES TO RENEWABLE ENERGY

28 September 2016. Durban, South Africa. South Durban community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) its allies from UBUNYA  BAMA HOSTELA,  communities of Sydenham , Phoenix,  Umlazi , Klaarwater, KwaMakhutha, Merebank and Wentworth  took Eskom head on today saying no to the secretive plans to build nuclear energy and yes to investing in renewable energy .

Over 200 hundred community members participated in a placard demonstration stating the ‘trillions of rand’s’ earmarked for the nuclear build could be better spent on providing free access to tertiary education for the poor. The songs and slogans on the placards vividly spoke volumes, calling upon President Zuma, the Minister of Energy, Ms Joemat Peterson, and the CEO of Eskom, Mr Brian Molefe, to be open and transparent about the development of nuclear and coal-fired enrgy production. There should be no secrecy and withholding of information.
The constant hike in tariffs, which most effects the poorest of the poor, is of grave concern, often leading to disconnections. The development plan of building coal fired power stations is harmful to human health and the environment.  The proposed nuclear energy and lack of commitment to renewable energy –  will only exacerbate the financial crisis, especially for the poor and marginalized. This energy crisis we face daily with regular disconnections and the increasing deterioration of the health of people living alongside these coal fired power stations is becoming more and more impossible to deal with. The high tariff increases, lack of consultation, unsustainable energy practices and lack of a vision by our government and the parastatal ESKOM is resulting in an everyday struggle of ordinary people of our beloved city and country at large.
The main objective of the protest was to also raise the following issues and community concerns with Eskom. Firstly renewable energy for the people. The commitment to renewable energy should be achieved soon and prioritized ahead of the procurement of new fossil fuel or nuclear options, which are expensive, hazardous, and dirty. Secondly, we strongly oppose any nuclear deal and we call for an open and transparent discussion with all stakeholders. Eskom and government  should be looking at  increasing investment in renewable and sustainable energy sources . Thirdly, Coal fired stations have a significant impact on human health and our scarce water resources, which contributes enormously to the climate crisis that affects all human, living species and plant life on the planet .
Eskom’s lack of compliance with air quality standards and numerous legislative requirements for its coal fired stations (as recorded in the Department of Environmental Affairs’ annual National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Reports [1]) aggravates these impacts, consistently violating constitutional rights to an environment not harmful to human health and well-being. Lastly, Eskom and government lack of transparency.
A memorandum was handed over to Eskom’s management. The memorandum had a list of all the demands from the south Durban members. The demands were as follows:
·         Stop all Nuclear development and use the funds for renewable energy
·         Eskom management must invest in programmes to provide a substantial amount of renewable energy, including subsidies to incentivize low-income people’s purchase of the long-promised millions of solar hot water heaters.
o   Eskom must allow Municipalities to invest in Renewable energy
·         Eskom meaningfully engage with the people of South Africa to develop an alternative energy plan that does not lead to the burden passed onto the poor and destroys the environment for the present and future generations.
·         Eskom and the South African government must stop investing in fossil fuels
·         South Africa must not invest in nuclear energy and put this investment in tertiary education for the youth.
·         Eskom meaningfully engage with the people of South Africa to develop an alternative energy plan that does not lead to the burden passed onto the poor and destroys the environment for the present and future generations.
·         Raise the free basic electricity amount to 200 kWh per household (Currently 50 in most places. In eThekwini it is 65 for those consuming less than 150 kWh/month) to ensure affordability of energy for the poor.
·         Electricity providers take meter readings every month (As done for water) as estimates are often over-estimated and consumers are penalised if they cannot pay on time People must be able to read their meters
Foot note:
Our Demands:-
·         Eskom must meaningfully engage with the people of South Africa to develop an plan for the provision of sustainable energy that does not lead to the financial burden being passed onto consumers, especially the poor, and destruction of the environment for the present and future generations.
·         Eskom  must stop any further investment in fossil fuels (this applies equally to the South African government)
·         Eskom must not enter into any deals or contracts for nuclear power supply without public scrutiny or approval.
·         Eskom management must instead invest in programmes to provide a substantial amount of renewable energy, including subsidies to incentivize low-income people’s purchase of the long-promised millions of solar hot water heaters.
·         Eskom must expand and not limit the Independent Power Producer network & renewable energy production, especially in localized rural communities.
·         Eskom must allow Municipalities to invest in renewable energy
·         Eskom must make public a plan and its commitment to meet the national targets and standard for carbon/toxic emissions within specified timeframes.
·         Where it is the provider of retail services, Eskom must raise the free basic electricity amount to 200 kWh per household to ensure affordability of energy for the poor.)
·         Electricity providers take meter readings every month (as done for water) as estimates are often over-estimated and consumers are penalised if they cannot pay on time. People must be able to read their meters.

By | 2017-07-13T07:07:53+00:00 September 29th, 2016|Energy & Climate Change|Comments Off on COMMUNITIES DESCEND ON ESKOM SAYING NO TO NUCLEAR & YES TO RENEWABLE ENERGY
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) is an environmental justice organization based in South Durban, South Africa. It is made up of 16 affiliate organizations and has been active since its formation in 1995. It is a non-government organization existing solely on finances sourced from funders and sponsors in order to remain totally independent. It makes no profit and exists solely for the benefit of the people it represents.