Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Energy Transition Threatens 120,000 South African Coal Jobs

  • Country is heavily reliant on electricity generated from coal
  • Solar power and other renewable energy seen as alternative
South Africa produces almost all of its electricity from a suite of coal-fired power plants run by Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. in the eastern province of Mpumalanga. 

South Africa produces almost all of its electricity from a suite of coal-fired power plants run by Eskom Holdings SOC Ltd. in the eastern province of Mpumalanga. 

Photographer: Dean Hutton/Bloomberg

Updated on

As many as 120,000 jobs at South African coal mines and aging power plants that use the fuel are under threat from a drive to switch to electricity production methods that have less impact on the climate, a research consultancy said.

The transition could threaten economic activity in four municipalities with a population of more than 2.3 million people, said Muhammed Patel, an economist at Trade & Industrial Policy Strategies, known as TIPS, on a webinar on Tuesday. In the Emalahleni municipal area coal-related activities make up 44% of the economy. Most of the country’s coal is mined in the municipal areas, which lie in the eastern province of Mpumalanga.