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Bond, Patrick (2012) Hot air from Pretoria: President Zuma’s ‘sustainability’ talk rebutted by his pro-pollution walk. Eye on Society column, The Mercury : -.

Swept under carpet last week, in the drama of old versus young within the African National Congress, the State of the Nation speech, and the release of the ANC’s alternatives to mining nationalization, were some extraordinary socio-economic and environmental problems.

Government and business leaders are unanimous in saying they want more mega-infrastructure investments. But President Jacob Zuma apparently also wants to be considered a world eco-visionary.

As co-chairs of the United Nations’ High-Level Panel on Global Sustainability, he and Finnish president Tarja Halonen published an article last week entitled ‘Seizing sustainable development.’ Zuma and Halonen ask, “How do we begin to tackle the massive challenge of retooling our global economy, preserving the environment, and providing greater opportunity and equity, including gender equality, to all? The Panel’s report, Resilient People, Resilient Planet, offers suggestions.”

These include:

• Pollution – including carbon emissions – must no longer be free. Price- and trade-distorting subsidies should be made transparent and phased out for fossil fuels by 2020.
• We need to place long-term thinking above short-term demands, both in the marketplace and at the polling place.
• Promoting fairness and inclusion is the right thing to do – and the smart thing to do for lasting prosperity and stability.

Two days later, in his speech to the nation, Zuma declared, “Let me take this opportunity to congratulate the inter-ministerial committee on COP17 for making the conference a huge success. The final outcome of COP17 was historic and precedent setting, ranking with the 1997 conference where the Kyoto Protocol was adopted.”

Reality check
But who really won at Durban’s climate summit? The biggest polluters, it turns out, who got off scot-free on emissions cuts as well as on North-South fairness.

According to the New York Times, at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, a top aide to chief US State Department negotiator Todd Stern remarked that “the Durban platform was promising because of what it did not say.” After all, revealed Trevor Houser, “There is no mention of historic responsibility or per capita emissions. There is no mention of economic development as the priority for developing countries. There is no mention of a difference between developed and developing country action.”

Zuma’s ‘huge success’ was in reality a sell-out of the UN’s tradition of differentiated responsibility between rich and poor countries. As climate chaos hits, Africa will be the worst-affected continent, so who can blame the African Union for hostility to Pretoria’s leadership candidate last week? The only Africans who smiled when leaving Durban were those from South Africa’s mining and electricity-guzzling industry – along with oil extractors – blessed by COP17’s failure to make binding emissions cuts.

Civil society’s failure to punish errant COP17 negotiators must have encouraged Zuma to expand his to-do list of climate-destroying investments. For already we are constructing the world’s fourth-largest coal-fired power plant with the World Bank’s largest-ever project loan, at Medupi in the beautiful Waterberg mountains where there is insufficient water for cooling it.

Not far away in Mpumalanga, contracts are being signed for the world’s third-largest coal-fired plant, Eskom’s Kusile. The main beneficiary is BHP Billiton, which consumes more than 10 percent of SA’s electricity, and still gets the world’s cheapest power deal at Richard’s Bay, where the workforce has been shaved back by capital-intensive aluminium smelters to now fewer than 1500.

The other beneficiary is the Japanese firm Hitachi, which in 2010 pretended not to know that its owners included the ANC’s Chancellor House, and whose supply of boilers – for which they are paid a mind-boggling R40+ billion – is so far behind schedule that more Eskom load-shedding looms.

Zuma’s speech unveiled yet more eco-destructive capital-intensive projects: “First, we plan to develop and integrate rail, road and water infrastructure, centred on two main areas in Limpopo: the Waterberg in the western part of the province and Steelpoort in the eastern part. These efforts are intended to unlock the enormous mineral belt of coal, platinum, palladium, chrome and other minerals, in order to facilitate increased mining as well as stepped-up beneficiation of minerals.”

There is much more: “Among the list of planned projects is the expansion of the iron ore export channel from 60-million tons per annum to 82-million tons per annum…, development of a new 16-million-tons-per-annum manganese export channel through the Port of Ngqura in Nelson Mandela Bay… and expansion of the iron-ore rail line between Sishen in the Northern Cape and Saldanha Bay in the Western Cape.”

Speaking to CityPress after Thursday’s speech, Zuma elaborated: “By 2014, I’d want to see the cranes, building, digging everything. I’d like to see people employed. We are looking at a new kind of city at Waterberg. That’s how Johannesburg began, as a mining town.”

Set aside that Johannesburg is the world’s least sustainable city, does Zuma know that there’s a vast national housing shortage and surplus of unemployed people, and that building homes doesn’t require cranes, but does create far more jobs per unit of capital spent?

Did he notice that Implats fired 17,000 workers just a week before his speech – whom if rehired will likely suffer a substantial cut in their pensions? Did he read the National Planning Commission’s finding that “South Africa needs to move away from the unsustainable use of natural resources”?

You can’t blame the president alone, given the extreme pressures he faces from greedy corporations. For instance, Toyota CEO Johan van Zyl last week argued, “Durban as a brand is not strong enough to simply say ‘come and invest in Durban’. What it needs to attract investors are big projects.”

At a Johannesburg seminar of the University of Pretoria’s Gordon Institute of Business Science and Business Day newspaper, van Zyl insisted, “Durban needs to keep ahead of the competition. China is building ports they don’t even know when they will use. If return on investment is the line of thinking we may never see the infrastructure.”

In other words, please supply more public subsidies to crony-capitalist fat cats. Our new city manager Sbu’ Sithole inherited a secretive R250 billion back-of-port plan for South Durban that will demolish Clairwood. Like Mabhida Stadium, King Shaka airport, uShaka water park and other big projects, these cannot provide a positive return on investment.

Also at the seminar was former Durban mayor Obed Mlaba, criticized in last week’s forensic audit for illegally hijacking a R3 billion waste-energy infrastructure tender at Bisasar Road landfill. Complained Mlaba, “Big projects or even creating clusters around them are hampered by small-town mentality.”

Typical of a big-town mentality was this banal command to Zuma in Business Day editor Peter Bruce’s column yesterday: “mine more and faster and ship what we mine cheaper and faster.”

If so, then bye-bye resilient people and resilient planet.

(I was in the process of lecturing about the global climate and financial crises along these lines in Harare last Thursday, but Robert Mugabe’s riot police prevented me and hundreds of others from entering the Jameson Hotel. Right then, we’ll try again tomorrow.)

Bond recently authored Politics of Climate Justice (UKZN Press), edited Durban’s Climate Gamble (Unisa Press), and directs the UKZN Centre for Civil Society.

Umoya oshisayo oqhamuka ePitoli

Inkulumo kaMongameli uZuma yokuzimelela iphikiswa ukuthi uhambisana
nemigomo eqhubezela phambili ukungcoliswa komoya

NguPatrick Bond Yahunyushwa nguFaith ka-Manzi

Okungagxilwangwa kukho ngesonto eledlule, kulesisiphithiphithi
esiphakathi kwabadala kanye nolusha ngaphakathi kukaKhongolose,
Inkulumo Esizweni (State of the Nation speech), kanye nokubheka
ngezinye izindlela kweANC mayelana nokuthi ezokumbiwa phansi kube
ngokwesizwe, izinkinga ezingaphezulu kwalokho ngezenhlalakahle-
nezomnotho kanye nezemvelo.

Abaholi bakahulumeni kanye nabezohwebo bayavumelana ekutheni bafuna
izizinda ezinkulu zokutshalwa kwezimali. Kodwa uMongameli uJacob Zuma
kubonakala sengathi ufuna ukwaziwa emhlabeni njengesazi sezemvelo.
Njengomunye wosihlalo weqoqo leNhlangano Yezizwe elikhuluma ngendlela
yokugcina kahle umhlaba (United Nations’ High Level Panel on Global
Sustainability), yena kanye nomongameli waseFinland uTarja Halonen
bashicilele umbhalo ngesonto eledlule othi ‘Sibamba ukugcinwa komhlaba
okunentuthuko.’ UZuma noHalonen babuza bathi, “Siqala kanjani
ukubhekana nengqinamba enkulukazi yokwenza kabusha izinsiza zomnotho
womhlaba, ukugcina ezemvelo, kanye nokuza namathuba amakhulu kanye
nokulingana, okuhlanganisa nokulingana kobulili, kubobonke? Umbiko
waleliqoqo, Abantu Abaphikelelayo, Umhlaba Ophikelelayo, baveze

Lokhu kumbandakanya:
• Ukungcoliswa komoya – okuhlanganisa ukuphumela kwensizi engcolisayo
– okungasafanele kube mahala. Inani- kanye nokuxhasa ngezohwebo
okungenalo iqiniso okufanele kwenziwe kube sobala bese kuphela
ukusetshenziswa kwezokubasa zemvelo ngonyaka ka2020.
• Sidinga ukubeka imicabango ebhekela isikhathi eside ngephezulu
kwebhekela isikhathi esifushane, ezimakethe kanye nasezindaweni
zokuvota khona.
• Ukugqugquzela ukuphathwa ngokufanayo kanye nokumbandakanywa iyonanto elungile ukuthi yenzeke –nenokuhlakanipha ukuze kube khona ukuzuza okungapheliyo kanye nokuhlala ngokuzinza.

Kodwa ezinsukwini ezimbili ezandulela lokhu, enkulumweni yakhe eyethula kwisizwe, uZuma wathi, “Othi ngithathe lelithuba ngokuncoma ikomidi elalibambizene nomnyango ngeCOP17 ngokwenza lengqungquthela ibe impumelelo enkulu. Umphumela wokugcina weCOP17 wawuyingqophamlando futhi wenza nesibonelo, waba sezingeni lengqungquthela yango1997 lapho kwakqalwa khona ukuthathwa izinqumo ngeKyoto Protocol.”

Kodwa-ke akesibheke amaqiniso
Kodwa ngempela ubani owaphumelela kwingqungquthela yesimo sezulu eyayiseThekwini? Abangcolisi abakhulu bomoya, masekucaca, abakwazile ukuthi bangashushiswa ngokuncishiswa kwezisisi ezingcolisa umoya kanye nokuthi kube khona ubulungiswa phakathi kweNtshonalanga-kanye neNingizimu.

Ngokusho kwephephandaba iNew York Times, Kumbuthano Womhlaba Kwezomnotho (World Economic Forum) kungekudala-nje eDavos, eSwitzerland, omunye ongumsizi omkhulu kwisikhulu esiphezulu kwizingxoxo somnyango weUS State Department uTodd Stern waphawula wathi “indawo yaseThekwini yayithembisa ngengakushongo.” Vese-nje uma eseveza obala uTrevor Houser, “akukhulunywa ngokuqoshwa komlando kokubhekelelwa. Akukhulunywa nhlobo ngokuthuthukisa ngezomnotho njengesidingo esibalulekile kakhulu emazweni asathuthuka. Akukhulunywa komehluko ngesenzo phakathi kwamazwe athuthukile kanye namazwe angathuthukile.”

‘Ukuphumelela okukhulu’ kukaZuma empeleni kwakungukudayiswa kwisiko leNhlangano Yezizwe ekubhekeleni okwahlukene phakathi kwamazwe acebile kanye namazwe ahlwempu. Njengoba isiphithiphithi sesimo sezulu siqhubeka, iAfrika ilona zwekazi eliyozwela kakhulu, ngakho-ke ubani ongagxeka iAfrican Union ngokungakhombisi uzwelo kubuholi basePitoli ngesonto eledlule? AmaAfrika ayehleka ngenkathi sekuhanjwa eThekwini ilawa aqhamuka kwizimboni zaseNingizimu Afrika zokumbiwa phansi ezidla kakhulu amandla kagezi – kanye nabambi bamafutha – bebusiswa ukwahluleka kweCOP17 ukwenza izinqumo zokwehlisa izisisi ezingcolisayo ezibophezelelayo.

Ukwehluleka kwezinhlangano zemiphakathi ukujezisa ababengamele izingxoxo zeCOP17 abaziphatha ngobudedengu ikona okwagqugquzela ukuthi uZuma anyuse azokwenza mayelana noxhaso olucekela phansi isimo semvelo. Ngoba kumanye simatasatasa sakha isizinda esikhulukazi sesine samandla samalahle ngemali yembolekiso evela kwiBhange Lomhlaba (World Bank) enkulu kakhulu eyake yaba khona ngokwenziwa kwalesizinda, eMedupi ezintabeni ezinhle kakhulu zaseWaterberg lapho kungekho khona amanzi anele okupholisa lesisizinda.

Bube buduzane-nje eMpumalanga, kusayindwa izivumelwano ngokwakha isizinda esikhulukazi sesithathu umhlaba wonke samandla amalahle, iEskom iseKusile. Ozuza phambili lapha iBHP Billiton, edla ngaphezulu kwamaphesenti angu-10 kagesi waseNingizimu Afrika, futhi iqhubeke ithole isivumelwano samandla kagesi esishibhe kakhulu emhlabeni wonke eRichard’s Bay, lapho abasebenzi bediliziwe ukusebenza kulezizimbiza zokushisa ialuminium yongxiwankulu badilizwa baba ngaphansi kuka1500.

Omunye futhi ozuzayo imboni yaseJaphani iHitachi, okwathi ngo2010 yenza sengathi ayazi ukuthi abanikazi babehlanganisa iChancellor House yeANC, ababelethela izimbiza – ababebakhokhela imali exaku kwenza enguR40 wezigidigidi (+ billion) – futhi abasemuva kakhulu ngokohlelo kubonakala sengathi sizobuye sifike futhi isikhathi sikaEskom sokunqamula ugesi.

Inkulumo kaZuma yaveza izindlela ezinkulu zongxiwankulu zokucekela phansi ezemvelo: “Okokuqala, sihlose ukuthuthukisa sihlanganise izizinda zokuthutha ngemizila ngezitimela, ngemigwaqo kanye namanzi, okuzinza ezindaweni ezimbili eLimpopo: eWaterberg ngasentshonalanga yesifundazwe kanye naseSteelport engxenye yempumalanga. Lemizamo izobe ihloze ukuvula ezokumbiwa phansi zamalahle, iplatinum, ipalladium, ichroma kanye neminye imikhiqizo embiwa phansi, ukuze sidale ukumbiwa kakhulu futhi sinyuse inzuzo kulemikhiqizo embiwa phansi.”
Kunokunye okukhulu kakhulu: “Kwizinhlelo zamaprojekti ahleliwe ukwandisa ukudayiselwa ngaphandle kweiron ore kusukela kumathani angu60-wezigidi ngonyaka kuya kumathani angu-82 ngonyaka. . . ukuthuthukisa amathani amasha angu16 wezigidi ngonyaka kamanyazini ezodayiswa ngaphandle ihambe igudle iChweba laseNgqura eNelson Mandela Bay. . . kanye nokwandiswa kukalayini womzila wesitimela weiron ore phakathi kweSishen eNyakatho Kapa kanye neSaldanha Bay eNtshonalanga Kapa.”

Ekhulume nephenphandaba iCityPress emva kwenkulumo yakhe yangoLwesine, uZuma wanaba wathi: “Ngo2014, ngifuna ukubona imishini emikhulu, izakhiwo ezinde, ukumbiwa, ukumbiwa kwakho konke. Ngifuna ukubona abantu beqashiwe. Sibhekelela inhlobo entsha yedolobha eWaterberg. Laqala kanjalo iGoli, njengedolobha lezokumbiwa phansi.”

Ngaphandle kokuthi iGoli ilona dolobha elingakwazi ukuqhubekela phambili emhlabeni wonke, ngabe uZuma uyazi ukuthi kunesidingo esikhulu sezindlu kanye nenqwaba yabantu abangasebenzi, nokuthi ukwakha izindlu akudingi imishini emikhulu, kodwa kudala imisebenzi eminingi uma kubhekwa nemali esuke isetshenzisiwe iszwe?

Ngabe wabona ukuthi iImplats ixoshe abasebenzi abangu17,000 isonto-nje ngaphambi kwenkulumo yakhe – uma kungase kwenzeka abaqashe kabusha kungenzeka kwehliswe kakhulu izimali zabo zempesheni? Ngabe wayifunda imibiko eqhamuka Kukhomishani Wokuhlela Kazwelonke (National Planning Commission) ukuthi “INingizimu Afika idinga ukusuka emqondweni wokusetshenziswa okukngeke kuqhubeke kwemikhiqizo yendalo.”?

Angeke-ke usole umongameli yedwa, uma usubheka ingcindezi enkulu abhekene nayo eqhamuka kwizimboni ezinomona.

Njengesibonelo-nje, Umphathi-Jikelele weToyota uJohan van Zyl ngesonto eledlule waphikisa wathi, “ITheku njengendawo alinamandla kakhulu ukuthi ngeke uvele uthi nje ‘woza uzotshala imali eThekwini’. Elikudingayo ukuheha batshali bezimali amaprojekti amakhulu.”

Kwenye ingxoxo eyayisesikhungweni semfundo ephakeme sasePitoli iUniversity of Pretoria eGoli kwiGordon Institute of Business Science kanye nephephandaba iBusiness Day, uvanZyl wagcizelela wathi, “ITheku lidinga ukuba phambi kwezokuqhudelana. Izwe laseShayina lakha amachweba alingazi noma liyowasebenzisa yini. Uma inzuzo ekuxhasweni kuyiyona ndlela yokucabanga kungenzeka singaziboni izingqalasizinda.”

Ngamanye amazwi, siyanicela lethani ukuxhasa okuningi emphakathini kubangani bongxiwankulu abayizicebi ezizicabangela zodwa. Umphathi wethu omusha wedolobha uSbu’ Sithole uhlangabezane necebo lokwakhiwa kwechweba elibiza uR250 wezigidigidi eNingizimu neTheku okuyocekela phansi iClairwood njengeNkundla iMabhida, isikhumulo sezindiza iKing Shaka, inkandla yamanzi uShaka kanye namanye maprojekti amakhulu, lokhu ngeke kube nanzuzo enkulu enomthelela omuhle ekuxhsweni.

Kulezizingxoxo kwakukhona nowayenguSobaba omdala weTheku uObed Mlaba, owagxekwa ngesonto eledlule lapho kubhekwa amabhuku ezimali ngokuzibambela ngenkani ithenda yesizinda yomgodi wezibi ekuBisasar Road esibiza uR3 wezigidigidi. Kukhononda uMlaba, “Amaprojekti amakhulu noma okwakhiwa eduze kwawo kuvinjwa umqondo wabantu bedolobha elincane.”

Njengokujwayelekile mayelana nomqondo wedolobha elikhulu ilesisiyalezelo nguZuma kwiphephandaba iBusiness Day kumbhalo womhleli uPeter Bruce izolo: “akumbiwe kakhulu futhi ngesivinini bese kuhanjiswa ngemikhumbi esikumbayo ngamanani aphansi futhi ngokushesha.”

Makunjalo, abavalelise abantu abaphikelelayo kanye nomhlaba ophikelelayo.

(Ngangimatasatasa ngifundisa ngesimo sezulu emhlabeni wonke kanye nengqinamba yezezimali eHarare ngoLwesine olwedlule, kodwa maphoyisa kaRobert Mugabe abhekene nezibhelu angivimba kanye namakhulu abanye ukuthi angene eJameson Hotel. Njengamanje, sizozama futhi kusasa,)

UBond usanda kubhala iPolitics of Climate Justice (UKZN Press), wahlela iDurban’s Climate Gamble (Unisa Press), futhi ungumqondisi weUKZN Centre for Civil Society.

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