Molewa’s conservation credentials a matter of record
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
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