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Mantashe slams NGOs ‘weaponising climate change against development’

Khulekani Magubane Financial reporter
A small crowd of young people were seen outside the Cape Town International Convention Centre carrying signs reading 'we need oil and gas now'.
A small crowd of young people were seen outside the Cape Town International Convention Centre carrying signs reading 'we need oil and gas now'.
Image: Khulekani Magubane

Minister of mineral resources & energy Gwede Mantashe says the energy transition and causes of climate change are being “weaponised” against development on the African continent through its natural fossil-fuel endowments. 

“The recent sizeable discoveries of oil in Namibia and Côte d'Ivoire and gas in South Africa are proving to be a game-changer and have intensified the need to step up exploration campaigns on the African continent. This is an opportunity for Africa to benefit from its endowment of these natural resources, as it is with critical minerals,” said Mantashe. 

In South Africa we suffer from something called load-shedding. It is not because we do not have enough coal or enough plants.  We have that. It is because we do not have transmission capacity
Gwede Mantashe, mineral resources and energy minister 

“A binding constraint to Africa’s increased oil and gas exploration programme this conference must help us find solutions to is the weaponisation of climate change against development, at the centre of which are foreign funded non-governmental organisations (NGOs).” 

Mantashe was speaking at African Energy Week in Cape Town on Tuesday morning.

The event was attended by delegates from global energy companies and government officials from across Africa. 

Mantashe said South Africa and the African continent needed to have “the correct approach” to the energy transition. He said South Africa needed to strengthen its energy baseload as it partnered with producers of renewable energy. 

“In South Africa we suffer from something called load-shedding. It is not because we do not have enough coal or enough plants. We have that. It is because we do not have transmission capacity,” Mantashe said. 

Executive chair of the African Energy Chamber NJ Ayuk said Africa was being told to stop extracting coal, oil and other fuels and move to clean energy despite new discoveries in South Africa, Namibia and Nigeria which indicate  the continent has a chance to drive energy investment on its own terms. 

“From frontier exploration, countries like Namibia that were known as frontiers are no longer frontiers. They are hotspots. But also in countries like Senegal we see people saying don’t leave it in the ground,” he said. 

Ayuk said while proposals to move to clean energy were valid, Africa had a more urgent need to feed, power and sustain its economies than developed economies.

“We also have to be very truthful to ourselves. We have to listen to what young people are telling us this morning. Drill, baby, drill. You cannot produce gas if you don’t drill. We have to do that. 

“It shouldn’t take too long to produce a project by the time you need to sign it. Sign, baby, sign. We need to create an enabling environment for energy investment. Our industry has not been the best to 52% of Africa. Women continue to be the last hired and first fired in our sector,” Ayuk said. 

During the event, a small crowd of young people could be seen outside the Cape Town International Convention Centre (ICC). They carried signs reading “we need oil and gas now” and “energy for all”, but appeared to be unaware of the event in the ICC.

TimesLIVE

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