On 27 November, in another peaceful demonstration, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg joined scores of women – community activists from the Women’s Energy and Climate Change Forum – outside the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) in Pretoria. The women are calling for the DMRE to move away from both dirty fossil fuels and dangerous nuclear energy, to more inclusive and sustainable renewable energy. The WECCF says that it rather wants to see more decisive action on climate change, with government making a stronger commitment to a just energy transition.
“We have gathered here, outside the DMRE, to send a clear message to government: Stop abusing the women of this country even more, by refusing to move away from fossil fuels and nuclear energy. These are dirty and harmful, and do not serve the needs of the women in this country. During this period of 16 Days of Activism, we want to government to know that we feel abused as a result of being forced to suffer because the DMRE refuses to embrace a new energy future,” says Earthlife’s Nomalizo Xhoma.
Xhoma says, “This year, women have had to deal with the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown that came with it. Not only has this pandemic increased women’s vulnerability – through job losses, food insecurity, and more – it has exposed us to even greater risk of gender-based violence in and outside the home. And, we will continue to suffer, as a result of the DMRE’s short-sighted energy plans.”
Earthlife’s Researcher Bongiwe Matsoha says, “As a young woman, I am here to demand climate justice from the department. Women are the primary caregivers in many of our communities and are the ones who have to deal with the impacts of these bad choices. We want the DMRE to know that women are fed up. We want affordable electricity that comes from clean and safe sources, that does not aggravate climate change any further, and does not harm our environment nor any of our fellow South Africans.”
Matsoha says, “Women must be united in our fight for equity because our struggle is literally everywhere. In the home. At work. On the street. Everywhere. But, these are not considered in the current system. Today we are here to take action to change the system.”