The Environmental Affairs Department has confirmed the new national climate change bill, that the department is holding public consultations around, is going to push for big co-operate companies to be punished for their excessive carbon emissions.

South Africans have until the end of August to comment on the draft Climate Change Bill. The bill aims to ensure that South Africa cuts down on greenhouse gas emissions.

In terms of the draft bill, provinces will also be obliged to put in place implementation plans. South Africa remains among the biggest per capita polluters in the world.

In dealing with climate change, there have been devastating effects including heat-waves and drought that ravaged several provinces.

The department held consultative hearings with key role players, including mining companies in Rustenburg in the North West.

The department’s Deputy Director-General Tlou Ramaru says, “We have been experiencing heatwaves in the previous year and the North West was hit by drought.’

“Water is one of the critical issues for the North West, so if we are coming together collectively as stakeholders both from business, NGOs and government to address this issue of climate change in a more coordinated and integrated way, I think we will make great strides in addressing the impact of climate change, ” says Ramaru.