groundWork is a non-profit environmental justice service and developmental organization working primarily in Southern Africa in the areas of Climate & Energy Justice, Coal, Environmental Health, Global Green and Healthy Hospitals, and Waste.



Fuleni/Richards Bay, South Africa, 21 April 2016 – This morning an angry but well-behaved crowd of well over a thousand Fuleni residents forced the Regional Mining Development Environmental Committee (RMDEC) to abort their visit to Fuleni, the site of Ibutho Coal's proposed open cast mine on the boundary of the iMfolozi Wilderness Area. The site visit was to familiarise RMDEC with the area before the meeting tomorrow, at 10h30, at Enseleni Nature Reserve, KZN, to hear submissions from I&APs and their lawyers to substantiate their comments and objections to the Fuleni mine.

Irate Fuleni residents blocked the main road to Ocilwane with rocks and burning tyres to create a barricade to prevent vehicles entering Fuleni. Ocilwane is the village that will be most affected by the proposed coal mine. The police eventually managed to get assistance from members of the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation (MCEJO) and researchers from the Centre for Civil Society (CCS) – UKZN, who persuaded the local residents to assist with removing the rocks and tyres.

Click here to read the full media advisory.

GOVERNMENT TO SIGN ONTO SHAM OF A PARIS CLIMATE AGREEMENT - We can’t count on the Paris Agreement to stop climate change

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 20 April 2016 – The Paris Climate Agreement will this Friday be signed by representatives of over 130 nations, including South Africa, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. According to environmental justice organisation groundWork [1], the commitments made in Paris were too late and too weak. This means that the hope to keep the temperature increase to below 1.5 degrees has been overshot. 

This signing on by parties brings them one step closer towards ratifying a meaningless agreement through national parliaments in most cases – with nations turning their intended pledges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (known as INDCs) into their agreed actual climate contribution to the climate effort.

This does not bring the world closer to a real solution for climate change. To the contrary, it stands in the way of real solutions. The world’s leaders are calling on us to have faith in them but the call is made in bad faith; the world’s leaders are leading us to ever growing destruction.

Read the full media advisory here.


Sphiwe Mazibuko's 9 minute documentary exposes the intimidation and violence facing anti-mining activists on the Wild Coast and Zululand, in South Africa. Xolobeni residents have fought for 10 years to prevent an Australian company from mining their titanium rich dunes.

The unwavering response of the Pondo people to protect their traditional lands, a paradise where they have lived for over 1500 years, has been met by increasing intimidation and violence that culminated in the violent murder of Sikhosiphi “Bazooka” Rhadebe, on 22 March 2016. Two men posing as police arrived at night and shot Rhadebe 8 times in the head in front of his 15 year old son. The next person on the hit list, Nonhle Mbuthuma, is featured in this film together with four other activists on the Wild Coast whose lives have been threatened. In Zululand, mining activists from Fuleni, Somkhele and Melmoth also face death threats. Reverend Mavuso frequently has to go into hiding for fear of his life, while the police have been notified of recent death threats to Phila Ndimande. Bongani Pearce’s vehicle was burned after a peaceful protest march following 8 years of being silenced by corrupt traditional leaders and exploited by Tendele’s Somkhele coal mine.

The film was commissioned by Mupo Foundation (now EarthLore) and funded by the European Commission, and can be viewed here.


Durban, South Africa, 23 March 2016 – groundWork/Friends of the Earth South Africa offers our condolences and support at this time of tragedy to the Amadiba Crises Committee and family of their Chairperson. We learn with great sadness of the passing of Sikhosiphi Bazooka Radhebe, who was brutally assassinated outside his house in Mbizana, in connection with his activism against the titanium dune mining in Xolobeni. We understand that this forms part of on-going violence against members of the Amadiba community who are being harassed for their democratic right to freedom of speech and assembly around an activity that threatens the survival of their ancestral land on the Wild Coast.

Read the full media advisory here.


Protest over assasination of Berta Caceres

Honduras, March 17, 2016 – Representatives of social networks from different regions of the world will travel to Honduras today as part of the International Mission “Justice for Berta Cáceres”. The mission is organised by the Honduran organisation Consejo Cívico de  Organizaciones Populares e Indígenas de Honduras (COPINH) - from the National Network of Human Rights defenders in Honduras - and individuals, collectives and organisations making up an international network of solidarity with the people of Honduras. The mission demands an impartial investigation of the brutal assassination of the indigenous Lenca leader Berta Cáceres, on the 3rd of March.

The mission will coincide with a number of mass demonstrations, protests and other actions by Honduran civil society in the coming three days. The protests will condemn the assassination of Berta Cáceres and show solidarity with Gustavo Castro, who was injured in the attack against Berta. Gustavo has been denied permission to leave Honduras, despite cooperating with the police investigation and indicating his willingness to answer any further questions from Mexico.

Read the full media advisory here.

SA DROUGHT UNDER THE CLIMATE CHANGE SPOTLIGHT- Friends of the Earth International Climate Justice and Energy group speaks out

Durban, South Africa, 14 March 2016 – As the world’s leaders once again side-stepped commitments on emission reductions at the annual climate negotiations in Paris 2015, South Africa continues to be in the midst of its worst drought in the last two decades. The continent is set to burn, as Africa’s temperature will soar an extra 2 degrees above the global average temperature increase if nothing is done to curb climate change.

This week, key members of Friends of the Earth International, the largest network of grassroots organisations in the world, will meet in Durban, South Africa. Meeting with local organisations, groundWork (Friends of the Earth, South Africa) and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance. The Friends of the Earth group will strategise on how to tackle the global threat to climate and energy justice.

Read the full media advisory here.


Honduras, 11 March 2016 – Gustavo Castro, the Director of Otros Mundos Mexico/Friends of the Earth Mexico is in danger in Honduras. Help us get him home. Gustavo Castro was wounded in the same attack as Berta Cáceres one week ago. As a witness to Berta's murder, we consider him to be at risk in Honduras. He is currently not allowed to leave the country.

Help us to ensure Gustavo returns safely home and to protect other community and environmental activists in Honduras.

Click here to sign the petition hosted by Friends of the Earth UK.


South Africa, 10 March 2016 – While most of South Africa’s attention is focused on Medupi and Kusile – South Africa’s much delayed and over-budget, new coal-fired Eskom power stations – little public attention has been given to the additional 2500 megawatts (MW) of privately owned coal-fired electricity that the Minister of Energy has planned.

The new coal energy will be sold to Eskom by those independent coal-fired power producers (IPPs) that are successful bidders in terms of the Coal Baseload Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (CBLIPPPP). These plans are, however, under threat of widespread public resistance via environmental justice organisations that are opposed to coal-fired power because of its detrimental impact on the environment and human health.

Read the full media advisory here.

GLOBAL MERCURY AGREEMENT UNDERMINED BY UNCONTROLLED PRODUCTION & TRADE - Groups ask governments to fast-track ratification, early implementation of Minamata Treaty

Amman, Jordan, 9 March 2016 - Commitments toward stronger global mercury controls are being hampered by illegal, unreported and unregulated mercury production and trade, an international NGO coalition revealed today on the eve of a UN mercury treaty meeting in Jordan.

The Zero Mercury Working Group(ZMWG) said that global efforts to reduce emissions of mercury may be derailed if gaps in mercury production and trade controls are not addressed before the treaty enters into force.

Read the full media advisory here.


08 March 2015 – As the world celebrates International Women's Day, Women in Europe for a Common Future (WECF), is proud to announce the launch of its new publication Women and Chemicals: The impact of hazardous chemicals and women. Women and Chemicals a deeper look at the nexus between gender roles and women's exposure to hazardous chemicals worldwide.

Women are exposed to a range of hazardous chemicals at home and at work. The publication, developed with support expertise from the United Nations, civil society and scientific institutes, looks at impacts on women's health from amongst others highly hazardous pesticides, mercury and endocrine disrupting chemicals.

Read the full media advisory here.


Durban, South Africa, 7 March 2015 – Today marks the 15th anniversary of the environmental and public health disaster that occurred in Kodaikanal, India at the Hindustan Unilever mercury thermometer factory operations, where toxic mercury waste was dumped in a nearby forest and a scrapyard in a crowded part of town, killing several workers and poisoning the community.

Read the full media advisory here.


Durban & Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 3 March 2016 – groundWork and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, on 1 March 2016 launched an appeal to the Minister of Environmental Affairs against the environmental authorisation granted to Colenso Power (Pty) Ltd for its proposed coal-fired power station near the town of Colenso.

The entire Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process was conducted within just a few months, in keeping with the severely-restricted timeframes in the latest EIA Regulations. groundWork and SDCEA argue that these timeframes fail to provide an adequate opportunity to assess the significant negative impacts the power station is set to have on people and their ability to live in a clean, healthy environment, or for interested and affected parties to participate meaningfully in the EIA process.

Read the full media advisory here.


03 March 2016 – Berta Cáceres, 2015 Goldman Environmental Prize winner, was murdered last night in her home. Reportedly, her assassins waited until well after dark before breaking into the house where she slept.

Read the full Friends of the Earth International media advisory here.

Read the Goldman Environmental Prize winners' statement here.


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