Mpumalanga Premier Refilwe Mtshweni-Tshipane has welcomed the participation of mining companies and other local businesses in the two-day Energy Summit held in the province this week, saying it was important that these companies had joined discussions on how to implement a just energy transition.
Addressing delegates at the summit, in Emalahleni, she said the provincial government was working closely with stakeholders, such as power utility Eskom, on a just transition programme.
“Our intention is that such partnerships must assist, not only the transition to a carbon-neutral economy but also increase much-needed energy security through fostering renewable energy production, repurposing power stations and explore ways for creating opportunities for small businesses and decent work,” she added.
The Premier acknowledged that there was concern that communities in the province would feel the ramifications of the shift away from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources.
She said the transition to a low-carbon economy, less reliant on fossil fuels, would have a devastating impact on individuals and communities in these areas unless proactive and deliberate actions were taken.
Mtshsweni-Tshipane said she was, therefore, pleased that the programme of the summit was inclusive of discussions on financing a just transition.
She also highlighted the need for skills transfer and training, saying this was needed for community members to access opportunities in the green economy broadly and the renewable energy sector in particular.