In light of industrial action by truck drivers in the coal transportation sector on Wednesday morning, in protest at Eskom's expected signing of power purchase agreements with more independent power producers, which they believe threaten their jobs, Greenpeace Africa campaigner Nhlanhla Sibisi notes that the protest are concerning, as it highlights the fact that the upskilling of miners and truckers in the coal sector is not happening as envisioned in the National Development Plan.
“This process is important for the necessary transition to a low-carbon economy. Government has committed to decarbonising the electricity sector; however, job losses can be mitigated through the reskilling of the labour force in South Africa in a just transition away from coal and to renewable energy.
“There are many more opportunities in the renewable-energy industry; in fact there is a growing global trend away from coal and fossil fuels and to renewable energy. It is essential that South Africa follows this trend to ensure that we are not left behind in the global economy,” said Sibisi.
The South African Renewable Energy Council (Sarec), meanwhile, noted that the renewable-energy sector globally has shown itself to be even more successful at job creation than the coal or nuclear industry. It said it believed it could prove that in South Africa also.
Sarec further noted that South Africa, along with the rest of the world, is transitioning from coal to other energy sources, be it renewable energy, gas or nuclear.