People's Voices: Key priorities and challenges for a Just Transition in Emalahleni and Steve Tshwete: How can the public participation of workers and communities be improved in South Africa's coal transition?

  • Date: Tuesday, 30 November 2021
  • Venue: Zoom Meeting
  • Organisation: Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies (TIPS) and the National Labour and Economic¬†Institute (NALEDI), supported by groundWork and Peta Wolpe

South Africa has initiated a transition to a more sustainable development pathway that involves moving towards a low-carbon economy. South Africa is a highly unequal society with many poor and vulnerable people. The need for a just transition has emerged as an imperative whereby the poor and vulnerable should not be negatively impacted by the transition and should ideally be better off through it. In Mpumalanga, these challenges are exacerbated by the transition away from coal activities, as well as the health, air and water pollution that has led to disastrous impacts on people and the environment. Yet the voice of the people living in affected communities is often not heard. 

This Development Dialogue webinar aims to provide a platform to hear from and engage with peope from Mpumalanga. It aims to unpack key concerns, aspirations, visions and the needs of people in Mpumalanga, focusing on what is required to shift the status quo and make a positive change in employment, poverty, energy, health, and the environment. 

This is the third event of a series. It forms part of a larger project, funded by UK PACT, that intends to facilitate the co-development of a coherent just transition plan for affected communities in Mpumalanga, with a particular focus on Emalahleni and Steve Tshwete.

The specific aim of this event is to unpack what is meant by public participation and how it can be improved, through existing and/or new platforms. What would facilitate the co-development of solutions to a just transition, enabling communities and workers to be empowered and creating a space for local voices to be heard?  


14:00 - 14:05: Welcome and introduction, Peta Wolpe

14:05 - 14:25: Why participatory justice matters. Key principles and interventions. Gaylor Montmasson-Clair, Senior Economist, TIPS

14:25 - 15:00: Sharing success, challenges and proposals for better engagement: What are the key interventions that would foster improved public participation?
  • Matshepiso Makhabane, CEO, Green Business College and Coordinator, Gender and Energy Network of South Africa (GENSA)
  • Hameda Deedat, Executive Director, National Labour and Economic Development Institute (NALEDI)
  • Michael Nkosi, Local Economic Development Department, Steve Tshwete Local Municipality
  • Matthews Hlabane, National Organizer of the Right to Say No in South Africa and environmental justice activist in Emalahleni
15:00 - 15:50:  Open discussion

15:50 - 16:00: Wrap up