Environment Minister Creecy says SA hasn't signed any pledges at COP26 summit

Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Creecy said that South Africa may still accept a multi-billion rand clean-energy fund, given Eskom's growing need for additional support.

FILE: Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Creecy. Picture: Kayleen Morgan/Eyewitness News

JOHANNESBURG - South Africa has neither signed nor agreed to any of the pledges at the COP26 summit.

Speaking to Eyewitness News from Glasgow in Scotland, Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Creecy has denied reports that the country has already accepted a multi-billion rand clean-energy fund.

But she said that government may still accept, given Eskom's growing need for additional support.

"Eskom is due to decommission a number of its coal-fired power stations, so the offer that's on the table it's really to help us with this process and to ensure that as we do, so we are putting the interests of organised labour and coal-producing communities at the center of all of our plans," Creecy said.

And she claims that it is this hope to protect producers and workers that influenced the decision not to sign a pledge to stop using coal.

"In our approach to the just transition, we want to move at a speed that our country can afford. We've had 34% unemployment, you have to be considering the socioeconomic objective so that you can ensure that workers are re-skilled and up-skilled and that institutions are repurposed," the minister said.

As the summit draws to a close on Friday, the agreement signed by 40 countries so far pledges to stop funding coal power by at least 2040.