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An irrational IRP can expect legal challenge from human rights organisations

17 May 2018 at 10:11 am

The Life After Coal (LAC) Campaign and Greenpeace Africa say that the Department of Energy (DoE) will face a legal challenge from them if the Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity (IRP) ignores constitutional obligations.

“We are not afraid to take the Department of Energy to court if the updated IRP ignores the provisions made in the Constitution. We were successful in halting the nuclear deal and we will fight again if necessary,” says Earthlife Africa Director, Makoma Lekalakala. A legal challenge would be a severe blow to a department that has seen four ministers in under a year, and could face another reshuffle before the 2019 elections.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced last week that the IRP will be released in August after a brief public participation process.

The Life After Coal Campaign and Greenpeace Africa believe that human rights – specifically the right to a healthy environment and to water – are as important as economic cost when planning South Africa’s energy future. For this reason, the IRP must take into account all of the external costs associated with the different technologies included in the IRP.

“There is no question that new-build solar and wind energy are cheaper than coal. We also need to take into account the cost of coal’s impacts to human health, water, climate, and the environment. Even if the updated IRP guarantees the cheapest electricity, if it ignores the costs of each energy source, it will be in violation of the Constitution,” says Robyn Hugo, Head of the Pollution and Climate Change Programme at the Centre for Environmental Rights.

Melita Steele, Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager at Greenpeace Africa, says that a rational and lawful IRP is crucial to setting South Africa on the right path towards a just and fair energy transition. “Urgent measures are needed to ensure that the IRP is in the best interests of all South Africans and we are prepared to take these measures, even if it means going to court,” she says.

ENDS

For media queries and comment, please contact:

Makoma Lekalakala

Director, Earthlife Africa

makoma@earthlife.org.za

082 682 9177

Melita Steele

Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager, Greenpeace Africa

melita.steele@greenpeace.org

072 560 8703

Annette Gibbs

Communications Manager, Centre for Environmental Rights

agibbs@cer.org.za

082 467 1295

The Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle is a joint campaign by Earthlife Africa JohannesburggroundWork, and the Centre for Environmental Rights.

Section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

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National Environmental Crimes & Incidents Hotline (24 hours): 0800 205 005

In addition, there are a number of national and provincial hotlines that may be useful.

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