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The initiative aimed at driving large-scale, socio-economic development through collaboration of business and social partners
Mpumalanga's economic activity is underpinned by carbon-intensive industries which support livelihoods and negatively impacts quality of air and water. South Africa’s decarbonisation ambitions will as a consequence have a number of socio-economic impacts. The Just Transition puts people and communities at the centre of the energy and economic transformation and requires the private and public sectors to work in partnership in planning and transitioning to low carbon economic activities. Communities will also need to be intimately involved in these engagements and plans to ensure that we maximise the social and economic opportunities while minimizing and managing any challenges.
As the country transitions towards a lower-carbon economy, collaboration between government, business, labour and social partners is required. The Impact Catalyst, an initiative founded by Anglo American, the CSIR, Exxaro, and World Vision South Africa, was established in recognition of the need for partnership and collaboration to drive sustainable impact. Initiated in Limpopo, the Impact Catalyst welcomes new Mpumalanga partners including Sasol, Industrial Development Corporation, Mpumalanga Office of the Premier, Mpumalanga Green Cluster Agency and Eskom Development Foundation. It aims to drive large-scale, socio-economic development initiatives that enable a just transition in Mpumalanga and contribute to a thriving local economy.
“We must acknowledge the critical role played by coal mining in the socio-economic development and prosperity of the province. The imperative to transition is an opportunity to create a new future, together as social partners, and further the prosperity of the province. The Impact Catalyst Mpumalanga is the vehicle for such a bold vision,” Mzila Mthenjane the Chairman of Impact Catalyst.
Mpumalanga is an important economic contributor to South Africa’s economy with compelling advantages, including skilled human resources, solar and wind resource potential for renewable energy and extensive grid infrastructure.
The launch of Impact Catalyst Mpumalanga comes at a time when South Africa has launched its Just Energy Transition Investment Plan and is returning from COP27 in Egypt. Decarbonising activities are gaining momentum and it is clear that an inclusive approach with participation from key stakeholders, including communities and social partners, will be essential to ensure sustainable solutions are achieved.
“The release of the Just Energy Transition Investment Plan is a first step in South Africa achieving its ambitions of being an inclusive, green, globally competitive economy. Our success will hinge on our ability to collaborate and act with speed and transparency.” Joanne Bate - Industrial Development Corporation COO and Impact Catalyst Board Member.
Impact Catalyst is pursuing a number of initiatives, including supporting the re-purposing of power generation infrastructure, sustainable mine closure and environmental management for agricultural development, as well as exploring re-industrialisation opportunities. Priorities will be related to manufacturing initiatives, while enhancing essential services, such as digitisation of schools, early childhood development centres, primary health care and basic ICT to communities.
The first chapter of Impact Catalyst was launched in Limpopo Province followed by the Northern Cape. The programme has established a solid track record since its inception in 2019 with tangible benefits realised that have contributed to socio-economic development, community upliftment, basic healthcare improvement and living conditions in these regions.