South Africa’s transition from coal to clean energy has kicked off with a multibillion-dollar aid package that is subject to negotiations and “did not mean the country must accept any unfavourable terms,” President Cyril Ramaphosa has told Parliament in Cape Town.
“This commitment from international partners does not mean we need to accept the offer as such, nor do we need to accept any unfavourable terms, especially if the financing arrangements could impact negatively on the public fiscus,” Ramaphosa said.
During the just-ended United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland, South Africa was the only African country to return home with a solid guarantee of US$8.5 billion in assistance from fossil fuel power heavyweights such as the France, United States, United Kingdom, Germany and the European Union (EU).
These countries had their billion-dollar investments in this country in mind when they decided to make the multibillion-dollar aid to South Africa which heavily depends on coal to generate electricity.
“This support will take the form of various financial instruments, ranging from grants to concessional loans at low interest rates,” Ramaphosa said.
The funding is expected to be mobilised “over the next three to five years, with a view to longer-term engagement,” he said.
Ramaphosa said the offer by developed countries was an initial commitment, which might increase as discussions progress and further funds are identified.
Opposition Economic Freedom Fighters leader Julius Malema had earlier Thursday asked Ramaphosa to provide the details of the terms and conditions of the COP26 aid package.