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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. groundWork is the South African member of Health Care Without Harm and Friends of the Earth International.


Civil society and community coalition wins crucial concession in fight against coal mine in water hotspot

28 June 2017 - Yesterday, the interdict application launched by the coalition of eight organisations challenging the proposed coal mine by Atha-Africa Ventures Pty Ltd inside the Mabola Protected Environment and Ekangala-Drakensberg strategic water source area came before the Pretoria High Court.

This morning, the Court granted an order which had been agreed between the parties, recording that Atha-Africa has given the coalition a written undertaking that it will not commence any mining or mining-related activities before giving 3 weeks' prior written notice to the Coalition's attorneys. Atha-Africa also agreed to pay its own costs in opposing the Coalition's interdict.

Read the full media advisory here.

New fact sheet: Proposed Mpumalanga coal mine - who benefits, and at what cost?

27 June 2017 - A new fact sheet – presenting the facts on the devastating implications of a proposed coal mine in the Mabola Protected Environment – was published by a coalition of eight NGOs and community organisations, earlier today.

The Mabola Protected Environment is situated outside Wakkerstroom in Mpumalanga and falls within what has been classified as one of 21 Strategic Water Source Areas by the South African National Biodiversity Institute, a government body, and the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research. Strategic Water Source Areas are the 8% of our land that provides more than 50% of our freshwater.

Read the full media advisory here.

Watership Down: The Reality of Mining Mabola

16 June 2017 - Mabola is a strategic water source that feeds four of South Africa's major rivers, but the government has approved a licence to mine coal there. Oxpeckers broke the story in 2015, and recently paid a site visit to the Mabola headwaters.

The Mabola river is a key component of the Mabola Protected Environment, a 8,772ha zone of protected wetlands, pans and endangered grassland ecosystem which together form the Enkangala strategic water source area.

Read the full news item here.

Why are SA’s banks facilitating climate change?

12 June, 2017 - Four of South Africa’s biggest banks appear to have no problem with funding new projects that will fuel climate change. They also do not seem to be concerned about the fact that climate change will place these very projects at risk. These banks are also funding new coal despite the fact that they have all made public commitments on climate change.

In March, in the precedent-setting judgment in Earthlife Africa Johannesburg v Minister of Environmental Affairs & Others, the Pretoria High Court set aside the environmental approval for the proposed new Thabametsi coal-fired power station, because there was inadequate consideration of the project’s significant climate change impacts. The judgment highlights how new coal-fired power stations carry major risks not only for the climate and the communities in which they are situated, but also for the investors in such projects, and for the banks that finance them.

Nedbank, Standard Bank, ABSA and Rand Merchant Bank are listed as contributing to the financing of the Thabametsi project.

Read the full media release from the Centre for Environmental Rights here.

Petrochemical giant wants to postpone compliance with new standards of environmental health and safety

01 June 2017 - Oil and chemicals giant Sasol will start public consultations next year as part of a process of applying to postpone compliance with some of the new airquality standards applicable by 2020, Sasol's executive vicepresident of Southern African operations Bernard Klingenberg said on Wednesday.

Environmentalists and local communities in the Vaal Triangle and Highveld have complained for decades about air pollution by heavy industry, mainly Sasol, ArcelorMittal SA and Eskom.

All three entities operate old plants, built before current airquality standards were put in place, and have argued it will be expensive and not entirely effective to retrofit clean air technology.

Read the full Business Day article here.

Cost of health and water impacts of coal still missing from energy plans

16 May 2017 - The Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle campaign, together with Greenpeace Africa, welcome the rigorous research undertaken by the energy unit of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). This research has been described as a “comprehensive alternative” to the draft Integrated Resource Plan Base Case (IRP) published for comment by the Department of Energy (DoE) in November 2016.

Two scenarios are developed by the CSIR team for their alternative IRP, calculated on the basis of “least cost” and “decarbonised”.  Both scenarios result in an energy plan that favours renewable energy, supplemented by storage and gas – with no new coal or nuclear plants.

These outcomes confirm the position of the Life After Coal campaign and Greenpeace Africa that there should be no new investment in coal-fired power plants, and that a just transition to renewable energy should be prioritised.

Read the full media advisory here.

groundWork releases its "Battle Map"

groundWork's Battle Map  

12 May 2017 - groundWork today released its new "Battle Map". This resource allows you to see the campaigns and issues in which we are involved, and where they are taking place.

You can see the map by clicking here.

CER to resist attempts by Australian mining company to intimidate attorneys and activists

05 May 2017 - A subsidiary of Australian mining company Mineral Commodities Limited (MRC), known for its controversial attempts to mine mineral sands at Xolobeni on the Wild Coast, has sued two Centre for Environmental Rights (CER) attorneys for defamation, claiming R500 000 in damages.

Strategic lawsuits against public participation, popularly known as "SLAPP" suits, are intended to censor, intimidate and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defence until they abandon their criticism or opposition. They are also aimed at sending a message to all activists that resisting that company, and others like it, poses personal risk. SLAPP suits have been made illegal in many jurisdictions around the world on the grounds that they impede freedom of speech.

Read the full CER media advisory here.


For more news and our news archives click here, or here to access our collection of media items.