Wednesday, 24 October 2012
groundwork, Earthlife and Greenpeace Africa charged for trespass only
Johannesburg 24 October 2012 - 14 Activists from three campaigning organisations (groundwork, Earthlife and Greenpeace) have been fined for “admission of guilt” on the offence of “trespass” by the Randburg Magistrate’s Court following their peaceful protest against energy utility Eskom.
According to the police, ESKOM laid charges of trespass, intimidation and malicious damage to property. Two of the three charges were dropped and the activists were convicted of trespass only.
Among the 14 activists were groundWork’s Bobby Peek , Earthlife Africa Jhb’s Makoma Lekalakala  and Greenpeace’s Melita Steele  and Olivia Langhoff. They were released on bail last night from the Sandton police station where they had been held in custody for 12 hours.
“The fact that the ridiculous charges of intimidation and malicious damage to property were dropped is a clear indication that Eskom and the police over reacted to the peaceful protest on Tuesday and were trying to silence the voice of the people” said Greenpeace Africa Executive Director Michael Onyeka O’ Brien.
“Our voices will not be crushed by those who abuse power. The South African government and Eskom have to put the people of this country first by creating a clean energy future” added Bobby Peek, groundWork Director.
According to Earthlife’s Makoma Lekalakala, “ coal continues to put all South Africans at risk and a just transition away from coal and towards renewable energy is critical for the health and safety of all people in this country”.
The activists took part in a peaceful protest at the Eskom Megawatt part on Tuesday against the utility’s reckless coal expansion.
Mbong Akiy, Greenpeace Africa Communications Manager: +27716881274 firstname.lastname@example.org
Melita Steele, Greenpeace Africa Climate and Energy Campaigner: +27725608703 email@example.com
Megan Lewis, Media, Information and Publications Campaign groundWork: +27834505541 firstname.lastname@example.org
Bobby Peek, groundWork Director: +27824641383 email@example.com
Makoma Lekalakala, Earthlife Africa JHB Programmes Officer: +27826829177 firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to the Editor:
1. Bobby Peek is the Director of groundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa
2. Makoma Lekalakala is Programmes Officer at Earthlife Africa JHB
3. Melita Steele is a Climate and Energy campaigner for Greenpeace Africa
4. Eskom uses 10 000 litres of water per second, the same amount as a single person would use in a year, based on access to the minimum 25 litres of water per day.
5. Greenpeace has just released a new report entitled ‘Water hungry coal: Burning South Africa’s water to produce electricity’. This report is available online: http://www.greenpeace.org/africa/Global/africa/publications/coal/WaterHungryCoal.pdf.
6. Follow the action here: www.bit.ly/NewManagement or on @Greenpeaceafric