The DA stands ready to hold KZN Premier, Sihle Zikalala, to the promises he made earlier today to combat climate change during the Provincial Climate Change and Sustainable Development Summit in Durban.
Premier Zikalala made ‘big promises’ to tackle climate change, environmental degradation and the scourge of pollution in the Province – commitments which will be monitored by the DA with a view to ensure that they are acted on.
The DA welcomes the Premier’s pronouncements, particularly around plastic pollution on our beaches and oceans the question remains – what significant action did he take while MEC for Environmental Affairs in the province?
Recent years have seen climate change raised as a massive issue. Regrettably, it seems that today’s event comes a little too late while being more of an elaborate PR exercise than anything else.
KZN’s beaches have already been contaminated with millions of tonnes of plastic while government has done very little to control sewerage discharges into our rivers due to failing infrastructure. This is coupled with government’s inability to effectively control air pollution emissions, which directly drives climate change. Monitoring stations have in recent weeks indicated that Durban’s air quality is worse than that of Beijing – a sad indictment on our province.
The DA also notes the Premier’s comments today on the eThekwini Mayoral debacle, saying all is “under control and not a crisis”. A lack of political leadership generally leads to a lack of administrative focus – and eThekwini has certainly proved that it is largely unable to get its environmental House in order. How smaller towns and municipalities will monitor and enforce environmental bylaws and laws – when eThekwini as the powerhouse of the province cannot get it right – remains to be seen.
Our environment is deserving of more than a ‘talk shop’. The DA will be closely monitoring the promises made by the Premier, and will hold him accountable.