South African Energy Minister Gwede Mantashe refused to attend a top-level meeting held by President Cyril Ramaphosa with European leaders to sign a green energy memorandum of understanding, the Johannesburg-based Sunday Times reported.
The newspaper said that Mantashe didn’t sign the $1 billion agreement with the Netherlands and Denmark because it was drafted without his input, citing the minister and other officials. Others ultimately signed the pact.
The adoption of cleaner energy has been beset by infighting within the South African government as much of the ruling African National Congress’s traditional support comes from labour unions, including the National Union of Mineworkers. Both Ramaphosa and Mantashe are former leaders of the mining union.
State-backed firms from the Netherlands agreed to back a $1 billion of green hydrogen funds in South Africa.
According to statements, Climate Fund Managers, a Hague-based company owned by Netherlands’s development bank FMO and South African insurer Sanlam, and Invest International will help run and finance the initiatives.
South Africa estimates it will cost about R1.5 trillion over the next five years to transition away from the use of coal for power and create electric vehicles and green hydrogen industries.