New Eskom CEO– Facing Regional Challenge

22 June 2010 - Maputo, Mozambique and Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Brian Dames, Eskom’s new Chief Executive Officer is being challenged by African Civil Society Organisations to reverse South Africa and Eskom’s role in further destructive damming of the Zambezi River, through the proposed Mphanda Nkuwa Dam.

Justice Ambiental [1] is coordinating civil society organisations across Africa and in South Africa in particular to demand that Eskom stop relying on mega-hydro plants to service cheap electricity contracts for rmulti-nationals such as BHP Billiton who receive electricity at well below production cost.  Alarmingly the cost to society, in terms of loss of food sovereignty and human rights abuses including displacing and disposing people off their land, is not factored into such mega projects.

The African Rivers Network as well as Survivors of Lesotho Dams support this open letter to Brian Dames.  People will be forcibly removed to make way for the proposed Mphanda Nkuwa Dam.  Those that do not move will be ‘forcefully’ relocated losing their present livelihoods.  Evidence from the Lesotho Dams relocations has highlighted the damage to society once this occurs.

The Zambezi River already has two mega-dams on its course and has been irreversibly altered damaging peoples’ livelihoods and well-being during times of flooding. Adding another mega-dam with associated smaller dams would prove disastrous to these communities. The proposal is to build further dams within the Zambezi River valley on which people currently depend for their daily livelihoods which will be further destroyed.

‘Coming so short after the World Bank Eskom scandal [2] it is clear that Eskom has little regard for society and will continue to exploit Africa for the benefit of multi-national capital’, says Bobby Peek, Director of groundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa. [3]

Anabela Lemos, Director of the Board of Justice Ambiental, Friends of the Earth Mozambique, warns of not resisting Eskom’s imperialism.  ‘We have to ensure that Africans and critically South Africans are vocal about their resistance to Eskom’s role in Africa.  There is enough evidence of Eskom’s destruction of peoples’ environments in South Africa; we cannot let the rest of Africa become an extraction zone for Eskom to service the global elite at the expense of Africa’s society.’ 

For more information call:

Anabela Lemos
JA! Justica Ambiental, Friends of the Earth Mozambique
Tel: +258-84-310 6010
E-mail: anabela@ja.org.mz

Bobby Peek
groundWork, Friends of the Earth South Africa
Tel: +27-33-342 5662
Cell: +27-82 464 1383
Email: bobby@groundwork.org.za

Footnotes:

[1] Justiça Ambiental (JA) is an organization working on environmental justice issues in Mozambique, in particular. With the majority of our population directly dependent on natural resources for their very survival Mozambique is sacrificing the sustainable livelihoods and environmental health of our people for the sake of huge corporate profits. JA! focus is on water, climate change, air pollution and natural resources.

[2] See Eskom Report here ...

[3] groundWork is a environmental justice organisation working with community people from around South Africa and increasingly in Southern Africa on environmental justice and human rights issues focusing on Climate Justice and Air Pollution, Waste and Environmental Health. groundWork is a member of Friends of the Earth International.