17 November 2011

South Africa: Green Accord to Create 300 000 Jobs

Cape Town — Government and its key partners, such as labour and business, have signed an all-comprehensive Accord geared to create 300 000 jobs in the next 10 years.

The Accord, signed by various ministers on Thursday in both Cape Town and Pretoria, is said to be one of the "most comprehensive social partnerships on the green economy anywhere in the world".

The agreement has the backing of the three labour federations in the country, whose joint memberships have more than two million workers. These are the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) and National Council of Trade Unions (Nactu).

Ten ministers actively involved in the development of the agreement include the Ministers of Environmental Affairs, Transport, Trade and Industry and Labour.

The agreement comes just before the start of the COP17 climate change talks to be held in Durban.

Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, who led the proceedings during the signing ceremony, said the Accord showed that government's social partners were ready for COP17.

Parties to the Accord had agreed to work with government during and after the conference.

"The green economy can create a large number of jobs, provide a spur for industrialisation and help to create a sustainable future for this and the next generations.

"This Accord is one in a series of agreements in which social partners commit to work to achieve the goals of the New Growth Path. South Africans are drawing together to achieve common national objectives," said Patel.

Some of the key points in the Accord include government's commitment to install one million solar water heaters by the 2014/15 financial year. Government also sets out to procure 3 725 MW of renewable energy for use in the grid by 2016 more than the energy usage of Cape Town.

The Industrial Development Corporation would provide funding of up to R25 billion for investments in the green economy over the next five years.

The agreement also commits business to develop benchmarks in support of the National Energy Efficiency Strategy.

It commits Eskom to consider new technologies that could improve the energy efficiency of its coal-fired power plants.

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