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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.


Coal power is turning Mpumalanga Highveld into a wasteland – new research, The Destruction of the Highveld: Call for a Just Transition.

21 November 2017 - Affected community groups have called for a shift away from coal and a just transition taking care of communities and workers at a meeting in eMalahleni.  At the launch of the groundWork 2017 report, Destruction of the Highveld: Part 2 – Burning Coal in the ‘place of coal’ yesterday, community members confirmed that Eskom’s coal addiction is causing serious health problems and killing people in the Highveld. They called for a community and worker led process to drive a just transition, and end the way in which coal power is turning the Mpumalanga Highveld into a wasteland.  

The new study reports that people are already experiencing the severe effects of climate change and that a just transition requires the following elements:

  • A new energy system based on socially owned renewables; 
  • New jobs in renewables;
  • Large scale restoration and detoxification of land and ecosystems injured by the fossil fuel economy on the Highveld;
  • A new and healthier food economy;
  • Properly built and energy efficient housing;
  • A new and healthier transport economy;
  • A reorientation and expansion of municipal services; and
  • A basic income grant for all. 

Download the new report from groundWork’s website here.

You can download the 2016 report - “Destruction of the Highveld: Part 1 – Digging Coal” here.

groundWork’s latest report will also be launched in Johannesburg at The Cottages, 30 Gill Street, Observatory, today, Tuesday 21st November, @ 14:30 hrs, with lunch at 13:30 hrs.

Read the original Media Release here.

Statement by Civil Society on the current situation in Zimbabwe

16 November 2017 - 22 Civil Society organisations today released a statement concerning the current situation in Zimbabwe.

Noting that “the people of Zimbabwe have continuously been subjected to oppression, exploitation and poverty, and the current developments have the potential to exacerbate their suffering” the organisations “call on the role-players within the country to exercise restraint and to place the well-being and protection of the Zimbabwean people at the top of their priority objectives [and]  to ensure that the civil liberties of the people of Zimbabwe are recognized and respected and that their physical integrity and democratic principles are guaranteed”.

Read the full text of the statement here.

Another environmental authorisation for a coal mine set aside

16 November 2017 - Another proposed coal mine, this time in the Waterberg in Limpopo, has been stopped in its tracks.

Earlier this year, environmental justice group Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the Concerned Citizens of Lephalale, assisted by the Centre for Environmental Rights, launched an appeal against the decision of the Department of Mineral Resources (DMR) to grant an environmental authorisation to Groothoek Coal Mining Pty Ltd for the proposed construction of a coal mine in Lephalale, Limpopo.

The proposed mine had local residents in an uproar, as it was planned to be built inside the residential boundaries of the town of Lephalale. The opencast coal mine would have been located a few hundred metres from a block of flats, and from the provincial hospital in Lephalale. Most of the Onverwacht suburb of Lephalale would have fallen inside the blast zone of the mine.

Read the full media advisory here.

Waste Pickers: Building movement

13 November 2017 - Waste Pickers of South Africa working on the streets, in the community and on dumpsites, came from forty-nine work places from various towns in South Africa to attend the 4th SAWPA Biennial meeting.

A total of 116 waste pickers, speaking nearly all South African languages, attended. Women were in the majority and we had young and old waste workers. Some of the waste pickers had travelled out of their province for the first time and we had people from cities as well as from small rural towns. They gathered from the 27th to the 31st of August 2017 at the Elijah Barayi Training Centre, Midrand, Gauteng, South Africa.

In solidarity there were waste pickers from the Movement of Collectors of Recyclables Materials (MNCR) in Brazil and Kagad, Kach, Patra Kashtakari Panchayat (KKPKP) in India.

Read the full article by groundWork staffer, Musa Chamane, in the September Newsletter here.

Time for Impact Divesting - NGOs Launch “Global Coal Exit List” for Finance Industry

09 November 2017 - At the UN Climate Summit today in Bonn, the German environment NGO Urgewald and its partners published the “Global Coal Exit List” (GCEL), a comprehensive database of companies participating in the thermal coal value chain. While most coal databases used by the finance industry only cover around 100 companies, the GCEL provides key statistics on over 770 companies whose activities range from coal exploration and mining, coal trading and transport, to coal power generation and manufacturing of coal plants. The database and charts on the coal industry can be viewed at www.coalexit.org

Read the full media advisory here.

groundWork and the Church Land Programme (CLP) appeal exploration right

01 November 2017 - groundWork and the Church Land Programme (CLP) have appealed the exploration right granted to Rhino Oil and Gas (12/3/317 ER) on behalf of Rural Network, Sisonke Environmental Justice Network, Farm Eviction and Development Committee, Botha's Pass Community, Siyanqoba Rural Transformation Forum, Siyaphambili Emajuba Farm Dwellers Association and the Landless Peoples Movement.

During our engagement with these affected communities, it became apparent that they were not consulted and did not have prior knowledge of this application.

You can view the appeals documentation submitted by clicking on the links below:


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