Members of the public seem uninterested in environmental issues.

Members of the South African public who head to the polls on Wednesday, May 8, believe that South Africa has bigger problems than the environment to deal with.

Despite the increasing number of natural disasters and environmental crises in the months leading up tio the elections in South Africa, the environmental agenda is largely absent from party manifestos and voters’ concerns.

Project manager of Action24 with the African Climate Reality Project, Noëlle Garcin, told Wits Vuvuzela that, “Climate and environmental issues are intrinsically linked to key concerns such as economic and social inequality, health, housing and energy access, as well as governance and corruption.”

“You will find that what drives climate change is often the source of other social, economic and environmental ills,” Garcin added.

Voter Richard Wiedermann told Wits Vuvuzela, “I guess in South Africa, the environment is not really on the radar.”

“As a country we are not there yet. I believe we have bigger problems to deal with right now,” 49-year-old Wiedermann said.

Garcin, however, highlights the fact that, “The solutions for reducing and adapting to climate change just happen to give us the opportunity to achieve social and economic justice. Well-designed environmental and climate policies do not undermine socioeconomic welfare.”

The 53-year-old voter, Johan Troskie, said, “To be honest, I don’t even read the promises they [parties] make. We all know that the ANC will win these elections, and so it is more important for the public to check up on them after they have won and then hold them accountable for finding solutions for environmental issues.”

FEATURED IMAGE: Environmental issues are largely on the back seat for most South African voters. Photo: File.