Member of the month March 2015: Sol Plaatje Municipality

Sol Plaatje Municipality, including the city of Kimberley, is part of the Frances Baard District Municipality, which is located in the northeastern part of the Northern Cape province of South Africa. It covers approximately 1877 km2 and is home to about 300,000 people.

Sol Plaatje Municipality (SPM) has been an active member of ICLEI since 2002, and has implemented many sustainability initiatives in partnership with ICLEI since then. SPM has also been involved in a number of ICLEI campaigns and programmes on Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. In its mission statement, the city pledges to emerge as the solar capital of South Africa, in order to take the best advantage of the many days of sunshine in the Northern Cape province. This was the primary concern of its former Executive Mayor Agnes Nthlangula at the RIO + 20 summit in 2012, Brazil.

In 2007 the Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Unit (SECCU) was established, as part of the Community and Social Services Cluster. Since then, their mandate has been to foster the implementation of the Sol Plaatje Municipality Energy and Climate Change Strategy (SPECCS), by making every level of the municipal administration aware of the environmental issues, and willing to work together towards finding new solutions. SPM was the first African municipality to create such an internal institutional entity to promote sustainable energy objectives, and to combat the lack of awareness of Climate Change at the highest political level in South Africa.

In 2013, Sol Plaatje Municipality was one of the successful local authorities to be selected as one of the South African satellite cities for the Urban LEDS (Low Emission Development Strategy) worldwide project, implemented in partnership with ICLEI Africa, and funded by many foreign countries and organisations. This shall stand as a recognition of the Municipality’s efforts to implement sustainability projects, on both the mitigation and the adaptation side. This includes the installation of passive Solar Water Heaters in low-cost housing, as part of the Ministry of Energy Viva Free Hot Water programme; a focus on the mitigation of Green House Gases (GHGs); streetlight and municipal vehicles (to GPL) retrofitting.

We would also like to give recognition both to Sol Plaatje Municipality’s current Executive Mayor David Molusi, and former Executive Mayor Agnes Nthlangula, for the Municipality’s commitment to Climate Change and Energy Efficiency issues, and we proudly declare Sol Plaatje Municipality our member of the month!

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