Sunday Times

Molewa’s con­ser­va­tion cre­den­tials a mat­ter of record

- Edna Molewa · Iceland · Montreal · Paris · Paris Agreement · Belarus · Constitutional Court · Belgium · Johannesburg · South African Police Service · Austria · Bheki Cele

Chris Bar­ron’s obit­u­ary of the min­is­ter of en­vi­ron­men­tal af­fairs, Edna Molewa, (Septem­ber 30) con­tains fac­tual in­ac­cu­ra­cies, makes un­sub­stan­ti­ated state­ments, and ap­pears to rely heav­ily on sub­jec­tive view­points so­licited from NGOs.

The first prob­lem­atic as­ser­tion is that the min­is­ter was ac­cused of “putting com­mer­cial in­ter­ests above those of the en­vi­ron­ment and con­ser­va­tion”.

This old-fash­ioned line of think­ing is wholly out of step with the global sus­tain­able-de­vel­op­ment agenda. No­body talks of “com­mer­cial in­ter­ests vs the en­vi­ron­ment” any more — but more of the need for hu­man de­vel­op­ment and, with it, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, in a man­ner that does not re­sult in nat­u­ral re­source de­ple­tion and degra­da­tion. Min­is­ter Molewa was recog­nised glob­ally as a cham­pion of the sus­tain­able de­vel­op­ment agenda.

That she “down­played con­cerns about the threat of cli­mate change and the need for greater reliance on re­new­able en­ergy” is an ex­tra­or­di­nary claim. It was un­der her ten­ure that SA’s first na­tional cli­mate change re­sponse pol­icy and adap­ta­tion strat­egy were for­mu­lated. She was also in­stru­men­tal in the draft­ing of a na­tional Cli­mate Change Bill. It is thanks to her ef­forts that SA is to­day im­ple­ment­ing phase 1 of a green­house gas emis­sion re­duc­tion sys­tem, with car­bon bud­gets al­lo­cated to sig­nif­i­cant emit­ters.

While she was in of­fice SA also rat­i­fied the Ki­gali amend­ment to the Mon­treal pro­to­col on the pro­tec­tion of the ozone layer. It was Min­is­ter Molewa who led the ne­go­ti­at­ing team to Paris and paved the way for SA to sign the Paris Agree­ment.

Claims about her sup­posed lack of com­mit­ment to re­new­ables are sim­i­larly base­less. In the past fi­nan­cial year Min­is­ter Molewa’s depart­ment, by means of its en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact as­sess­ments, au­tho­rised in ex­cess of 53,828MW of re­new­able en­ergy ap­pli­ca­tions. This fig­ure has been in­creas­ing year on year.

There are glar­ing er­rors on mat­ters of wildlife con­ser­va­tion. It was in fact the Pre­to­ria high court in 2015, fol­lowed by the Con­sti­tu­tional Court in 2017, that over­turned a gov­ern­ment ban on rhino horn trade. The min­is­ter was the un­suc­cess­ful ap­pel­lant in the mat­ter.

In a sim­i­lar vein your writer fails to men­tion that quo­tas for the ex­port of lion skele­tons em­anated from a 2017 CITES de­ci­sion; were de­ter­mined in ac­cor­dance with ad­vice pro­vided by SA’s CITES Sci­en­tific Au­thor­ity; and fol­lowed a stake­holder con­sul­ta­tion process.

Min­is­ter Molewa’s con­tri­bu­tion to con­ser­va­tion in SA is a mat­ter of pub­lic record. A ha­giog­ra­phy is not ex­pected in an obit­u­ary, but fair­ness cer­tainly should be. Khadija Ma­gardie, who served as Edna Molewa’s spe­cial ad­viser

Speak­ing against gen­der in­equal­ity

Although SA has pro­gressed re­gard­ing racial and gen­der trans­for­ma­tion, prob­lems re­main, es­pe­cially among those with lit­tle or no voice. Poverty, for ex­am­ple, is the great­est so­cial deter­mi­nant that af­fects women’s in­equal­ity.

Other con­cerns in­clude the in­ter­sect­ing health is­sues of risk for HIV, preg­nancy, and gen­der-based vi­o­lence that still loom large for ado­les­cent girls and young women.

Global is­sues in­clude ac­cess to sex­ual and re­pro­duc­tive health care, lit­er­acy and ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes, de­layed sex­ual de­but or mar­riage, rape and gen­der-based vi­o­lence. And there is the on­go­ing, per­va­sive is­sue of shame, stigma, and dis­crim­i­na­tion suf­fered by gen­der and sex­ual mi­nori­ties.

Lead­ing global gen­der ex­perts, sur­vivors, and par­tic­i­pants from more than 30 coun­tries will be gath­er­ing in Jo­han­nes­burg to­mor­row and on Tues­day for the “End­ing Gen­der In­equal­i­ties: Ev­i­dence to Im­pact” con­fer­ence. Come and be part of the di­a­logue and so­lu­tions. Wendee Wechs­berg, con­fer­ence chair, direc­tor,

RTI Global Gen­der Cen­tre

West­bury won’t be ig­nored

The writ­ing is on the wall! West­bury has be­come a war zone due to the sheer in­com­pe­tence and dere­lic­tion of duty by the SAPS over the years.

The po­lice are sim­ply turn­ing a blind eye be­cause they are en­riched by the ill­got­ten pro­ceeds de­rived from crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.

How many more moth­ers, fa­thers and in­no­cent chil­dren must die at the hands of these ruth­less killers be­fore the po­lice will step in and do what is ex­pected of them?

Come 2019, we will place our crosses as uni­fied com­mu­ni­ties. No more cheap talk. No more sell­ing of our vote. Our crosses we will hold closely to our chest and de­cide as a uni­fied coloured na­tion who we will sup­port in the elec­tions.

We do not want a party that is push­ing an agenda while we as in­dige­nous peo­ple are marginalis­ed and left out of the de­bate. Den­zil Jones, West­bury

Make space for Bheki Cele

While Bran­dan’s car­toons usu­ally pro­vide valu­able in­sights, his ef­fort of Septem­ber 30, in which min­is­ters Gi­gaba and Dlamini find them­selves in the Out box on the pres­i­den­tial desk, is a missed op­por­tu­nity. Bheki Cele is ab­sent from the box.

Our cur­rent min­is­ter of po­lice was dis­missed as com­mis­sioner of po­lice af­ter find­ings of dis­hon­esty and in­com­pe­tence were made against him af­ter your news­pa­per broke the story of ou­tra­geous rentals ne­go­ti­ated for po­lice head­quar­ters.

The Moloi in­quiry rec­om­mended that Cele be in­ves­ti­gated for cor­rup­tion by “the ap­pro­pri­ate au­thor­i­ties”. Ask­ing the Hawks to in­ves­ti­gate Cele is akin to ask­ing tur­keys to vote for Christ­mas.

Paul Hoff­man SC, direc­tor, In­sti­tute for Ac­count­abil­ity in South­ern Africa

Write to PO Box 1742, Sax­on­wold 2132; SMS 33662; e-mail: tel­lus@sun­day­times.co.za; Fax: 011 280 5150 All mail should be ac­com­pa­nied by a street ad­dress and day­time tele­phone num­ber. The Edi­tor re­serves the right to cut let­ters

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