On the 15th of May, over a thousand protesters will descended upon the French Consulate in Johannesburg. The protesters, led by Earthlife Africa, will march on the French government and Engie (formally GDF Suez) in order to change the French government's destructive climate policy.
Protesters will march from the Johannesburg Alliance Française located at 17 Lower Park Drive, Parkview Johannesburg to the French Consulate situated in the Standard Bank building at 191 Jan Smuts Avenue Parktown North. The march will take place between 10:00am and 13:00pm.
The issue: Engie, a French government owned company, is investing in dirty coal in South Africa when it has the resources and technology to invest in clean renewables. Engie plans to build another polluting coal-fired power station in the ecologically fragile Waterberg in Limpopo province. Dominique Doyle, Energy Policy Officer at Earthlife Africa, explains that: “the Thabametsi power station will be a climate bomb for South Africa. We ask the that the French government pulls out of coal in South Africa and supports renewable energy projects instead.”
Earthlife Africa Johannesburg will also picket outside Engie's offices in Woodmead Johannesburg, located at 6-10 Woodlands Drive, from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm. A further picket will take place outside the French Embassy in Pretoria, located at 250 Melk Street Nieuw Muckleneuk in Pretoria, from 10:00 am to 12:00pm. But the major event will be the march by over a thousand people to the French Consulate in Johannesburg.
France has a history of poor climate and energy choices in South Africa. Medupi and Kusile, the third and fourth largest coal-fired power stations in the world, are being built in part by Alstom and were funded by French banks through loans guaranteed by the French Agency for Export Credit, Coface. According to Makoma Lekalakala, Senior Programme Manager, at Earthlife Africa Johannesburg: “France must answer: is it a climate leader or a climate destroyer? Especially since this year it will host crucial UNFCCC climate negotiations.
“We simply cannot rely on false climate solutions any more”, she says.
To join the march, contact Makoma Lekalakala
Senior Programme Manager
Earthlife Africa Johannesburg
Tel: +27 11 339 3662
Cell: +27 82 682 9177
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