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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.


Proposed new coal plants would make already dangerous levels of water pollution in Olifants River Catchment even more toxic

18 September 2017 - A 2014 epidemiological study conducted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR) and other scientific institutions reveals that communities relying on the Lower Olifants River are being exposed to alarming and unacceptable levels of dangerous contamination in the Olifants River. Despite this, the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) continues to authorise developments that will have further devastating impacts on the water quality of the Olifants River and connected water resources, placing the health and wellbeing of communities and ecosystems relying on this river at enormous risk.

Read the full media release here.

MPs to probe problems with air quality compliance, and impacts on health, tomorrow

12 September 2017 - On Wednesday, 13 September 2017, the Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs is hosting a Colloquium on South Africa's poor air quality at Parliament. The Colloquium focuses in particular in the challenges of achieving compliance with South Africa's Air Quality Act.

Read more here.

Air pollution from coal power stations causes disease and kills thousands of South Africans every year, says UK expert

12 September 2017 - Air pollution from coal-fired power stations kills more than 2,200 South Africans every year, and causes thousands of cases of bronchitis and asthma in adults and children annually. This costs the country more than R30 billion annually, through hospital admissions and lost working days.

Read the full news item here.

Download the report Health Impacts of Coal fired Power Plants in South Africa here.

Another two proposed coal power plants taken to court for failing to consider climate impacts

11 September 2017 - Environmental justice organisation groundWork, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, has instituted two new court applications in the Pretoria High Court against the Minister of Environmental Affairs and others, challenging the decisions of the Minister and the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) to authorise proposed independent power producer (IPP) KiPower and Khanyisa coal-fired power stations, without a full assessment of the plants’ climate change impacts.

Read the full media release here.

The True Effect of Mining

03 September 2017 - Mining is not part of a development plan.  It is a process that extracts minerals from the earth and enriches a few and impoverishes the majority, so the claim that mining is necessary for social and economic development, is a political promise that will not be delivered.

Let’s take a closer look at what mining provides a society.  The World Bank’s own research report, “Where is the Wealth of the Nations?” presents empirical evidence that mining reduces a country’s savings, i.e., it makes countries poorer rather than wealthier.

Read the short opinion piece by groundWork's Director, Bobby Peek, here.

Courts ban prospecting inside Barberton Nature Reserve, but there are lessons for conservation agencies

30 August 2017 - Two weeks ago, the Constitutional Court refused to hear an appeal by Barberton Mines against a judgment of the Supreme Court of Appeal. The Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had previously overturned the High Court’s decision to grant an interdict to allow Barberton Mines access to the Barberton Nature Reserve in Mpumalanga to prospect. The Constitutional Court refused to hear the appeal because it was of the opinion that Barberton Mines’ appeal had no merit.

Read the full Centre for Environmental Rights article here.

International Waste Pickers visiting South Africa

SAWPA members during an anti-incineration protest in Pretoria.

Pietermaritzburg, Monday, 22 August, 2017 - The South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA) and groundWork are hosting waste pickers from India and Brazil, from 21 – 31 August, to engage with local waste pickers, and share strategies to push back on waste privatisation, which destroys waste picker livelihoods globally and locally. Their visit will include visiting the Chemicals and Waste Phakisa meeting, visiting various landfill sites, SAWPA members and municipalities, as an important movement-building step for local waste pickers.

Read the full media release here.

New Treaty’s Entry Into Force Set to Curtail Global Mercury Crisis, Say NGOs

16 August 2017- Today’s entry into force of the Minamata Convention establishes the first new multilateral environmental agreement in over a decade.  The Zero Mercury Working Group has been calling for a legally binding treaty for over a decade and welcomes the new protocol.

Read the full media release here.

Bertha Gxowa Hospital Takes on Waste Challenge

Healthcare Without Harm logo14th August 2017 – Bertha Gxowa Hospital is the latest health care facility to join the internationally recognised Global Green and Healthy Hospitals (GGHH) initiative, which serves to create a global network of hospitals and health systems seeking to improve environmental performance, while sharing best practices and finding solutions to the common challenges they share.

This Wednesday, 16 August, Bertha Gxowa Hospital will launch its recycling campaign that hopes to move to zero waste as a long-term goal. The launch will be held among staff, patients and visitors. The event will start at 9:30 am and the hospital is inviting media to join the celebration.

Read the full media invite here.

Appeal against provincial approval for mine in water hotspot heard in Nelspruit this week

15 August 2017 - This week, the coalition of eight civil society and community organisations challenging the proposed coal mine inside the Mabola Protected Environment outside Wakkerstroom, Mpumalanga, is presenting their appeal of the environmental authorisation issued by the Mpumalanga environment department (MDARDLEA) for the proposed mine to an expert panel appointed by the Mpumalanga MEC for Environment.

Read the full media advisory here.

Thabametsi climate impact assessment reveals staggering greenhouse gas emissions

02 August 2017 - The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) could be giving the go-ahead for what will be one of the most greenhouse gas (GHG) emission intensive coal-fired power stations, not only in South Africa, but in the world. Its GHG emissions are likely to be 60% higher than Eskom’s new Medupi and Kusile coal plants.

This is apparent from the final climate change impact assessment for the proposed Thabametsi coal-fired power station, to be built near Lephalale, Limpopo. 

Read the full media advisory here.


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