SOUTH AFRICAN GOVERNMENT SHOWS POOR COMMITMENT TO THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

8th DECEMBER 2009 - Copenhagen: At a side meeting for African civil society organisations, the Chairperson of the G77 and China, from Sudan, mentioned that Africa is getting a raw deal and is being forced to sign their death sentence. He highlighted the division within the Africa group and mentioned that South Africa has been key to the division that has been created.

This is of concern to us given the South African government’s triumphant press release on Monday 7th of December 2009 on its emission cuts. It is clear that there is fundamental disagreement between the South African negotiators and the rest of the African group. South Africa must stop selling the continent to the highest bidder.

The meeting supported the following course of action:

The Ambassador concluded saying that: “I would rather die with dignity than sign an agreement that will tunnel my people into an inferno. And if there is no equitable deal then let there be no deal.”

We call on the South African government to stop playing political games and to ensure that they do not sign a watered down agreement. Their true commitment can be seen in how they will respond to the big polluters in South Africa.

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who are in Copenhagen at present.

Footnotes:

[1] groundWork is an environmental justice organisation working with community people from around South Africa and increasingly in Southern Africa, on environmental justice and human rights issues focusing on Air Pollution, Waste and Environmental Health.  groundWork is the South Africa member of Friends of the Earth International.

[2] Earthlife Africa Johannesburg is a non-profit organisation, founded in Johannesburg, South Africa, in 1988, that seeks a better life for all people without exploiting other people or degrading their environment. We want to encourage and support individuals, businesses and industries to reduce pollution, minimise waste and protect our natural resources.

[3] The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance is a network of 14 local community organisations based in south Durban, South Africa, and works on mobilizing local communities against the further industrialization of their residential neighbourhoods by government and corporations such as Shell and BP.