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.



Another nail in the coffin for doomed Khanyisa private coal plant project

18 February 2020 - The expiry of one of its key operational licences is the latest major setback for developer ACWA Power’s proposed Khanyisa coal-fired power station in the Mpumalanga Highveld.

This private coal power project, like the other projects conceived as part of the now outdated 2014 Coal Baseload Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (“the Coal IPP Programme”), has been plagued by obstacles over the past few years. These include the withdrawal of funding by a number of commercial banks under pressure to stop funding coal power, and a barrage of legal challenges by civil society organisations of the multiple authorisations required for these projects.

In one of these legal challenges, environmental justice group groundWork, represented by the Centre for Environmental Rights, has challenged Khanyisa’s environmental authorisation in the Pretoria High Court. groundWork is asking the court to set aside the then Minister of Environmental Affairs’ decision to issue ACWA with an environmental authorisation without conducting a legally-required climate change impact assessment.

Read the full media release here.

SONA 2020: Progress on clean energy, but still talk of dirty coal

14 February 2020 - The Life After Coal campaign welcomes a number of announcements made by President Cyril Ramaphosa in the State of the Nation Address last night on lifting barriers to new generation of clean, more affordable electricity from renewable energy.

We also welcome the acknowledgement of the existential threat of climate change, and the President’s commitment not to leave behind any African child in the transition to a “low-carbon, climate resilient and sustainable society”.

We welcome the announcement that municipalities in good standing will be allowed to procure electricity from renewable energy. However, we see no commitments to local, social and community-owned renewable energy generation. We call for concrete plans to support such local capacity for “people’s power”– essential for a just transition.

We are dismayed at the President’s reference to any new generation from coal. Here are all the reasons why coal is too expensive, kills people and destroys the environment - Environmental justice organisations condemn SA’s plans for more coal generated electricity

We are also disappointed that no mention was made in the President’s address of the toxic air pollution by the ongoing and flagrant violations of Eskom’s dirty coal plants with air pollution laws, which kills and impairs the health of thousands every year, including children. These are ongoing violations of people’s Constitutional rights which require an urgent response. Read more about the court case brought against government here - Environmental groups take government to High Court over violation of Constitutional right to clean air.


Lerato Letebele Balendran lbalendran@cer.org.za or
Tsepang Molefe, media@groundwork.org.za - 074 405 1257

NGOs challenge Eskom's latest application to escape compliance with air pollution laws

September 23, 2016. Kriel Power Station. Coal mining and power stations in Mpumalanga. Picture: JAMES OATWAY

7 FEBRUARY 2020 - Eskom has for a 5th time applied to escape compliance with South Africa's air pollution laws.

The Life After Coal campaign, consisting of groundWorkEarthlife Africa and the Centre for Environmental Rights, has filed comprehensive submissions opposing Eskom's latest application to delay or completely avoid meeting the April 2020 pollution limits for its coal power plants.

Despite being the biggest polluter in South Africa and already receiving widespread postponements of compliance deadlines, Eskom is still attempting to delay or completely avoid meeting the April 2020 pollution limits in the Minimum Emission Standards (MES) for 14 of its 15 dirty and deadly coal-fired power stations. Eskom's various applications across its fleet of power stations blatantly undermine the MES, which exist to protect people's health and wellbeing, social and economic development, and the environment.

Read the full media release here.

Africa Energy Leaders Summit

07 February 2020 - From 28th to 29th January 2020, groundWork attended the MELCA-Ethiopia, Oil Change International, Health of Mother Earth Foundation, Oxfam, and Power Shift Africa convening of the Africa Energy Leaders Summit at the Ambassador Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. At the Summit, civil society leaders – representing twenty-seven organizations, networks and community resistance groups from Africa and around the world – deliberated on issues including fossil fuels dependence, climate change, energy access and the just transition.

This is a call to interested organizations, networks, and community resistance groups to please visit the Communiqué of the 2020 Africa Energy Leaders Summit here, where you can download the Communiqué and add your endorsement of the document.

2020 Environmental School for Activists

07 February 2020 - The 2020 EJS will run for four weeks from 15 March to 5 April 2020 (three weeks) and 12 to 18 July 2008 (the fourth return week). The participants will be drawn from groundWork partner and other allied organisations.

Organisations can identify suitable participants who can then apply for acceptance.

For more information click here or contact us on: 033 342 5662 or email media@groundwork.org.za

Tshwane waste pickers gearing up to work with the City.

29 January 2020 - The South African Waste Pickers Association is hosting the Tshwane waste pickers mass meeting at the Atteridgeville Community Hall (corner Ramakgopa and Hlahla Streets, Atteridgeville, Pretoria). The main purpose of the meeting is to report back to the waste pickers about negotiations that started in June 2019 between the council and the waste pickers of the City of Tshwane. The organisation will also utilise the gathering as part of their national roadshow to register and officially document all the waste pickers who are interested to join the movement. A 2020 strategy will also be developed on what needs to be done to strengthen the waste pickers organisation in Tshwane. 

Read the full media release here.


Read about the highlights of 2019 here

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