Open letter to Creecy: Concerns regarding COP28 accreditation

Princess Mthombeni is the founder of Africa4Nuclear. Photo: Supplied

Princess Mthombeni is the founder of Africa4Nuclear. Photo: Supplied

Published Dec 17, 2023


To: Minister Barbara Creecy

Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment

Dear Honourable Minister

Firstly, it is an absolute honour and privilege to introduce ourselves to the Minister in the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE).

We are Africa4Nuclear, a pro-nuclear group of professionals and energy activists who advocate for nuclear power as one of the key contributors to achieving Africa’s agenda for sustainable development.

Africa4Nuclear has South African roots, but African perspective and global vision.

We are writing to express our deep concerns and dissatisfaction with the recent experience regarding the accreditation process for COP28 held from November 30 until December 12, 2023 at Expo City, Dubai.

Despite our correspondence with your Department through the office of the Deputy Director General: Climate Change and Air Quality Management, we were denied accreditation based on the assertion that civil society groups are not issued COP badges, a policy seemingly contradicted by the presence of other civil society groups, including anti- nuclear activists such as Southern African Faith Communities'; Environment Institute, wearing government badges at COP28.

This inconsistency has raised questions about the fairness and transparency of the accreditation process. We, therefore, urge you to investigate this matter promptly to ensure that future processes are equitable for all stakeholders. While our own government refused to provide accreditation to its citizens, countries such as Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, etc., demonstrated support by accrediting their own citizens who are also nuclear activists.

It is genuinely disheartening that our own government is treating us as if we have no place, resembling the way street kids are often marginalised.

Furthermore, we would like to draw attention to the recent developments in South Africa's nuclear sector, notably the announcement by the Electricity Minister, Dr Kgosientsho Ramakgopa regarding the procurement of 2500MW of nuclear power.

Nuclear is regarded as a clean energy source and this has been confirmed by the European Parliament, which has voted for the inclusion of nuclear in their Green Taxonomy after the succesful hard work of nuclear activists at COP26 in Glasgow, 2021.

Sadly, the two-week program for the South African Pavilion at COP28 did not include any discussions on nuclear energy, despite the pledge by 22 nations to triple the world's nuclear power generation by 2050.

The South African nuclear sector holds significant importance in the country’s economy, primarily facilitated by the Koeberg Nuclear Power Plant and the South African Nuclear Energy Corporation (Necsa).

Particularly noteworthy is Koeberg's commendable track record of supplying clean, affordable and reliable electricity to the country for nearly four decades. It is unjustifiable to deny accreditation to South African nuclear activists for COP28, an event where nuclear matters were on the agenda, especially when accreditation is granted to anti-nuclear activists.

Given the significance of nuclear energy in South Africa's future plans and the global commitment to expanding nuclear power, we request that you review and address the omission of nuclear energy topics in the South African Pavilion program at COP28.

Your attention to these matters is crucial for fostering transparency and inclusivity within international forums.


Princess Mthombeni, the founder of Africa4Nuclear