Press Releases 2012
- FOEI Chair Nnimmo Bassey to be awarded 2012 RAFTO prize
- Fracking: Down a dead-end one way road
- SAWPA Members gather in KZN for Waste Pickers first national exchange
- Environmental injustice – Environmental nakba
International NGO observer mission to Palestine: “The occupation is an injustice”
Friends of the Earth International
29 August 2012 - Upon invitation of Friends of the Earth Palestine (Pengon), a Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) delegation is visiting the West Bank to observe the environmental injustices of the occupation and to gather testimonies and evidence from those affected. Read more...Smokestack blog: Lonmin mine / Marikana massacre
- Waste pickers vulnerable without government protection
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 03 August 2012 – The death of teen waste picker Nqobile Maphumulo at the New England Road landfill site on Wednesday is evidence that those already facing extreme poverty remain unprotected by government. Read more...
- RIO+20: The future we wanted?
- The latest news from Rio+20 and the People’s Summit
- Durban harbour expansion to push farmers off land – communities to lose cheap produce source.
- High levels of benzene in recent Eastwood river contamination
- World Bank agrees: Medupi poses social and environmental risk
- People empowered to prove reality of air pollution
- National Waste Management Strategy public hearings
- Community workshop highlights air quality challenges in Vaal
- Community workshop exposes real impact of Medupi
- groundWork leads seminar on green health care risk waste management
- Vaal community indoor air quality monitoring
- See groundWork’s letter to the World Bank on its response to the Inspection Panel report into the Medupi project. Read the letter ...
- Community Planning Meeting hosted by groundWork
- Polluting Brazilian Mining Giant Vale Exposed
DAVOS (SWITZERLAND) / PORTO ALEGRE (BRAZIL), 25 JANUARY 2012 - With more than 21,000 votes, the Brazilian mining giant Vale is highly likely to be crowned the 'world's worst corporation of the year' at the January 27 'Public Eye Awards' in Davos, Switzerland. Read the media advisory from Friends of the Earth International ...
- Civil Society and Community Organisations Challenge Draconian South African Weather Service Amendment Bill
- Taking time out from COP…
- Community people could face criminal charges for reporting on air pollution
Friends of the Earth International
BERGEN (NORWAY) / LAGOS (NIGERIA), September 27, 2012 – Friends of the Earth International, the world's largest federation of grassroots environmental organisations, is proud to announce that its chair, Nnimmo Bassey, who is also Executive Director of Friends of the Earth Nigeria , will be a recipient of the 2012 Rafto Prize for Human Rights.
22 September 2012 - Many studies have shown the dangers associated with fracking, and unconventional fracking is under ban or moratorium in more than a 140 places around the world. Over 250 communities in the U.S. have passed resolutions to stop fracking, and Vermont, France and Bulgaria have already stopped it.
groundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa
South African Waste Pickers Association
07 September 2012 - groundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa, invites all media to attend the National Waste Pickers Exchange co-ordinated by groundWork and the South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA). Read more...
24 August 2012 - groundWork’s latest blog SOUTH AFRICA DOES NOT SUPPORT THE DEATH PENALTY, OR DOES IT? is out! Almost a week after the Marikana Massacre and in the midst of a week of mourning for those who were tragically killed at the Lonmin mine, the groundWork team sends their condolences to the families of the deceased and reflects on what this series of events means for South Africa. Read the blog...
Durban, South Africa, 9 July 2012 – The Rio+20 conference on Sustainable Development ended with the formal adoption of a 50 page document entitled ‘The future we want,’ which gives a thorough overview of the varied and urgent challenges the global community faces.
You are cordially invited to a Rio+20 report back.
Date: 17 July
Time: 17h30 for 18h00 – 20h00
Venue: Mirriam Cele Room, Diakonia Centre in Diakonia Avenue, Durban
19 June 2012 - Two decades ago, various representatives from 179 countries met in Rio de Janiero, Brazil for the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) or Earth Summit to create an international agreement that would build the foundations for a global partnership between those concerned with protecting the environment and creating sustainable development practices. Of significance was the international recognition that environmental protection was closely interlinked with socio-economic challenges and with the development of societies based on principles of equity and justice. This was founded on the concept of sustainable development that had been coined in 1987 by the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development’s (WCED) Brundtland Report, defined as “development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs”. Read more...
Keep track of related news and follow what other Friends of the Earth member organisations are up to at the People’s Summit here
Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, 5 June 2012 – While the Baynespruit sewer pipeline has been repaired by the Msunduzi municipality, results from samples taken of the Eastwood River show high levels of benzene. Over two weeks ago, groundWork staff visited the site after a concerned member of public alerted the organisation to a white, oily liquid pouring out of the pipeline into the river. Read more...
Pietermaritzburg and Johannesburg, South Africa, 1 June 2012 – The World Bank Board has agreed that the development of the Medupi Power Station entails substantial environmental and social risks that have to be considered. This was in response to the Inspection Panel’s 2010 investigation called for by local residents and supported by Earthlife Africa (Jhb) and groundWork, Friends of the Earth, South Africa. Read more...
A view of the unfinished Medupi Power Station from a nearby bridge.
Thomas Mnguni and another community member learning how to use the MiniVol sampler.
Middelburg, South Africa, 25 May 2012 – Winter has arrived in the Highveld resulting in increased burning of fossil fuels by people for cooking and spatial heating as electricity is unaffordable. On 20 May, groundWork  trained local community members to use various air sampling devices to test the air quality within their homes during a time when air pollution is at its worst. Read more...
Cape Town, 25 May 2012 - groundWork was invited to attend and present at the public hearings on the National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS) held in Cape Town from 29 May to 1 June 2012. Advocate Johnny De Lange chaired the meeting, where the Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental affairs was briefed by various departments on the submissions of stakeholders that were made during public consultations on the National Waste Management Strategy. Read more...
Vaal, Gauteng province, South Africa – On the 24th April 2012, groundWork staff were involved with a community workshop held in the Sebokeng township in the Vaal. The Vaal Triangle was declared an Air-Shed Priority Area in April 2006 by the Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, and continues to maintain this title to this day. It was labelled as such since the proposed ambient air quality standards were, and continue to be exceeded, resulting in negative impacts on the environment and communities that live in the area. Various community members in the Vaal have been engaging with issues of air quality for a number of years, and this workshop was used as platform to revisit past issues, new challenges and to assist in people’s deeper understanding of the broader impacts of air pollution.
Community members grapple with the air pollution issues that are of concern to those living in their area.
Lephalale, Limpopo Province, South Africa – groundWork facilitated a workshop attended by over 80 people at the Mogol Club in Onverwacht on Saturday 21 April 2012 to assist community members to voice concerns related to the world’s third largest coal-fired power plant, Medupi. Read more....
Community members from broader Lephalale attend the workshop held by groundWork
Groundwork, in partnership with eThekwini Metro Municipality and the KwaZulu Natal Department of Health, began the first of many workshops concerned with the public health sector on Tuesday 10th April 2012 at Albert Luthuli Hospital in Durban. Read more...
Vaal, Gauteng Province, South Africa, 7 March 2012 – Winter in the Vaal means average temperatures of about 8º Celsius. When it’s that cold, you need to keep yourself warm but many communities in this area are not afforded the basic right to electricity, which forces them to rely on cheap fossil fuels to do so. On top of this, dirty industries situated near these communities pollute throughout the day and night, adding to the mix of noxious gases that people breathe in. Read more...
Towards the end of January, groundWork facilitated a Community Planning Meeting in Pietermaritzburg, where people from communities across South Africa gathered to discuss the past year and future plans. Those at the meeting included community members from the Highveld and Vaal fighting the mining industry and Eskom, representatives from Lichtenburg and New Brighton communities resisting cement kilns, representatives from the South Durban community against the health impacts of local industry, as well as waste pickers from across the country whose livelihoods stem from recyclables on land fill sites and the streets. Joining the discussion was a lawyer from the Center for Environmental Rights (CER) who has begun work with groundWork and the above-mentioned communities.
Standing: Thebeyame Lethoko, Lydia Ngwenya, Kholisile Frans, Khotso Polori, Samson Mokoena, Kgomotso Modiselle.
Top step and side walls: Phumla Fani, Nompumelelo Njana, Caroline Ntaopane, Rico Euripidou, Patrick Jacobs, Koos Sikhosana, Siziwe Khanyile, Robyn Hugo, Bongani Mthembu, Bobby Peek.
Middle step: Joyce Mokoena, Mmaphuti Moabello, Martha Molapo, Lushendri Naidu, Musa Chamane.
Bottom step: Douglas Maphumulo, Mmapula Baloyi, Simon Mbata, France Maseko, Nonhlanhla Mhlophe, Cynthia Nkosi
Monday, 23rd January 2012 - Tomorrow, 24 January 2012, and 25 January 2012, Parliament will hold public hearings on the South African Weather Service Amendment Bill, 2011.
Many civil society and community organisations – groundWork, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), and the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance (VEJA) - are particularly concerned about the offence the Amendment Bill proposes if an air pollution-related warning (which is not defined in the Bill) is issued without written permission from the South African Weather Service. Read more...
Friday, 20 January 2012 - Whilst climate change negotiators were caught up inside the COP17 in Durban, members from US-based civil society groups put on their hard-hats and paid a visit to the new 4 800 MW coal-fired Kusile power station and a coal-mine in the Highveld region of Gauteng. Environmental activists Karen Orenstein (Friends of the Earth) and Nicole Ghio (Sierra Club), journalist Kate Sheppard (MotherJones), and Tom Kruse (Rockefeller Brother Foundation) were taken on a tour by Bobby Peek, Director of groundWork where they discovered the reality of coal on the ground in South Africa.
See Motherjones blog
See Friends of the Earth US blog
See Sierra Club blog
Thursday, 12 January 2012 - Amendments to the South African Weather Services Act, 2001 (“the Act”), proposed by means of the South African Weather Service Amendment Bill, 2011 (“the Bill”), make it a criminal offence if community people or academics report on air pollution events in South Africa. See submission by groundWork, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance and the Vaal Environmental Justice Alliance to the Portfolio Committee on Water and Environmental Affairs, prepared by the Centre for Environmental Rights.
Read the submission...
See Daily News article on SAWS Bill Amendment...