Video Documentary Highlighting Complexity of Energy Transition in Mpumalanga

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  • South Africa has initiated the transition to a more sustainable development pathway that involves moving towards a low-carbon economy.
  • At the same time, South Africa still faces a number of developmental challenges related to poverty, unemployment and inequality, and the climate crisis further threatens vulnerable communities and people.
  • The need for a just transition to a low-carbon economy has emerged as an imperative to ensure the poor and vulnerable are not negatively impacted by the transition and are ideally better off through it.

In Mpumalanga, these challenges are exacerbated by the high reliance on coal-based economic activities, service delivery challenges, and environmental impacts from land, air and water pollution. These challenges have resulted in poor health, death and destruction to people, the communities and the environment. Encouragingly, in the transition process, many solutions are beginning to emerge that can help regions like Mpumalanga pivot towards more sustainable industries.

Related news: Satellite data identifies Mpumalanga as a global pollution hotspot

Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS), the National Labour and Economic Development Institute (NALEDI), groundWork and Peta Wolpe are engaged as a consortium in a project which aims to facilitate and co- develop a coherent just transition plan for affected communities in Emalahleni and Steve Tshwete in Mpumalanga.

Related news: South African court rules that clean air is a civil right

In 2021, the consortium produced a documentary to highlight and capture some of the issues, opportunities and challenges that these communities in Mpumalanga face as coal is phased out and we enter a new era. The documentary highlights the ‘on the gound’ challenges and opportunities the energy transition poses, drawing from personal interviews with community members, workers and businesspeople from the Steve Tshwete and Emalahleni municipalities, in Mpumalanga.

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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