While the country’s politicians were vying to secure support from citizens in the run-up to the 2019 national elections, a coalition of environmental and social justice groups hosted a public political party manifesto debate to draw voters’ attention to the growing threat of climate change.
The coalition included Project 90 by 2030, Southern African Faith Communities Environment Institute (SAFCEI), African Climate Reality Project (ACRP), AIDC-One Million Climate Jobs Campaign, and 350 Africa. It engaged representatives from the African National Congress (ANC), Democratic Alliance (DA), Congress of the People (COPE), Green Party, Dagga Party, Socialist Workers Party and Black First Land First (BLF) about their proposed approach to climate change.
The debate, which took place at Community House in Salt River, Cape Town, on 25 April, was open to the public. It emphasised the need for South Africans to elect a government that recognises the enormity of the threats posed by climate change and prioritises mitigating actions required to address them. According to the coalition, a public debate was necessary, since an analysis of the manifestos of more than 10 parties revealed a critical failure to prioritise climate action, environmental justice and a fair transition to a low-carbon society.