South Africa Says Finalizing Climate Plan as Finance Head Quits

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(Bloomberg) -- South Africa is finalizing an implementation plan for an $8.5 billion climate finance deal with some of the world’s richest countries even as the head of the Presidential Climate Finance Task Team quit, a government spokesman said.

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An offer to extend the contract of Daniel Mminele, the head of the team, for three months “is on the table,” Vincent Magwenya, spokesman for President Cyril Ramaphosa, said by text message late Thursday. Mminele quit after his contract expired as of the end of the year, Business Day reported earlier, adding that it had been expected that he would stay in the post.

The deal, the Just Energy Transition Partnership, was announced at the COP27 climate summit in November and is designed to reduce South Africa’s reliance on coal. It is seen as a prototype for similar agreements with other coal-dependent developing nations. South Africa concluded the agreement with the US, UK, France, Germany and the European Union.

“We remain in constant discussion with the partner countries,” Magwenya said. “The remaining contract staff in the Presidential Climate Finance Task Team will work out the rest of the contract period.”

Magwenya said additional funds have been sourced from donors to support the implementation of the plan. Business Day said funding for salaries for the members of the task team and its secretariat has largely come from the World Bank’s Climate Investment Fund, without saying where it got the information.

The CIF, in response to questions, said it “has fulfilled a mandate to convene and resource an independent technical secretariat” but does not cover salaries at the task team.

Mminele referred questions to the presidency when contacted by Bloomberg. He is a former South African central bank deputy governor and commercial bank chief executive officer.

(Updates with CIF comment in second last paragraph)

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