In a nation that's become used to operating in the shadows, sometimes even the mention of sunlight can be met with disbelief. But sunlight is what President Cyril Ramaphosa offered in his pledge to UN secretary-general Antonio Guterres during the climate summit in New York -- R160-billion worth, for a plan that could turn the Mpumalanga coalfields into one of the largest renewable energy generators on Earth.
If there's any reason to believe that we're about to embark on a massive industrialisation drive, a project that will drastically reduce our carbon emissions and deliver long-term energy security, it's that the economic alternatives are too dark to contemplate.
For a moment it was light, then it was dark again.
On 24 September 2019, when most South Africans were embracing the public holiday as a welcome relief from the news, President Cyril Ramaphosa sent a statement to United Nations secretary-general Antonio Guterres that may have been the best news of the year. The pledge, South Africa's core submission to the UN Climate Action Summit in New York, made reference to an $11-billion renewables funding facility that would represent "the largest climate finance transaction" the world had ever seen. Two days later,...