Just energy transition and unequal healthcare dominates meeting of The Elders

The president sat down with The Elders at the Union Buildings on Thursday.

FILE: "It would be dishonest to pretend coal has a future.” Said Robinson. Picture: Steve Buissinne on Pixabay

JOHANNESBURG - Conversations about a just energy transition and South Africa’s vastly unequal healthcare system have taken centrestage in a meeting between President Cyril Ramaphosa and a group of independent global leaders.

The president sat down with The Elders at the Union Buildings on Thursday.

The group was established by former president Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu to promote peace and human rights.

The group's chairperson Mary Robinson, who is also the former president of Ireland, has spoken out strongly about how South Africa must be assisted in moving away from coal energy.

“And I personally would like to start by acknowledging the long and proud history of coal mining in South Africa, the pivotal role it played in the country’s development and prosperity, the equally distinguished contribution made by the mine workers to the liberation struggle against apartheid. But it would be dishonest to pretend coal has a future," said Robinson.

She also pointed out the country's failures in providing quality healthcare.

“South Africa spends 8.1% of its GDP on healthcare, but apparently half of these resources are spent through inefficient private insurance schemes that only serve 16% of the population, and mainly white.”