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Climate change and the risks associated with it should be a key part of President Cyril Ramaphosa’s state of the nation address. How SA chooses to respond to climate change and its impact on the country will affect economic growth and social development for decades to come, yet climate change remains sidelined by the government and key sectors that are most vulnerable to its effects. The impacts of climate change are plain to see. Last year, Cape Town barely escaped a humanitarian and economic crisis when the city warned that Day Zero — the moment when the taps would literally run dry — was a real possibility. The crisis in Cape Town has abated, but much of the rest of the country remains in the grip of one of the worst droughts in decades. According to Agri SA, 30,000 agricultural workers have lost their jobs over the past year as a result of drought, and smaller municipalities in areas such as the central Karoo have had their budgets squeezed by the need to drill for groundwater t...

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