South Africa’s R160 billion climate deal delayed


South Africa’s government will need another two to three months to complete an energy transition implementation plan, further delaying the flow of funds from an $8.5 billion (R160 billion) climate finance agreement with some of the world’s richest countries.

More work needs to be done on how to reskill workers from coal-dependent communities as coal-fired plants gradually close down, said Joanne Yawitch, head of the project management unit for the pact within the South African presidency.

Yawitch, who spoke at a Presidential Climate Commission event in Johannesburg on Tuesday, said a government decision that state utility Eskom would be limited in its ability to take on further loans and government debt guarantees had complicated matters.

“There are significant challenges on loan finance,” she said. That moratorium “impacts on what was in the investment plan,” she said.

France, Germany, the US, the UK and European Union offered finance to help South Africa transition away from coal, which is currently the source of more than 80% of South Africa’s power.

The so-called Just Energy Transition Partnership, a prototype for similar agreements with Indonesia and Vietnam, has been beset by political infighting and lobbying from businesses that profit from the use of coal.

The government had earlier said the implementation plan would be ready in March and later in August.


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