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.

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EFT (Electronic Funds Transfers) within South Africa

Name of Bank: Nedbank Limited
Account holder: groundWork Trust a/c Community Relief Fund
Branch Code: 198765
Account Type: Savings
Account Number: 9021699583
Reference: Depositor's name

EFT (Electronic Funds Transfers) International

Name of Bank: Nedbank Limited
Address: Nedbank Corporate Saver
135 Rivonia Rd
Account holder: groundWork Trust a/c Community Relief Fund
Account No: 9021699583
Branch code: 198765
Reference: Depositor's Name
Health Care Without Harm logo

Beyond COVID-19: Toward healthy people, a healthy planet, justice, and equity - A statement by the Health Care Without Harm Global Network

18 September 2020 - As the world responds to COVID-19 and the intertwined social, political, and economic crises it has spawned, we find ourselves at a crossroads. One path takes us back in the direction we came, propping up old structures and systems that have led to this crisis in the first place. The other leads in the direction of an unprecedented set of opportunities and the urgent need to forge a just transition to equitable, resilient societies that provide decent work for all, universal health care, and contribute to a healthy climate.

For our civilization to survive and thrive, we must choose this second path and change systems that place profit over ecological sustainability, health, and wellbeing. We must build structures that benefit all people, especially the vulnerable and the poor. As part of this effort, we must recognize and address the political, social, and economic factors that govern how health or illnesses move through our communities. As many around the world rise up against systemic racism and discrimination, we must also forge a broad, interconnected agenda for change that fosters health equity, ecological sustainability, and social justice.

As part of this vision, the Health Care Without Harm network (HCWH) - our offices and partner organizations around the world - supports the WHO Manifesto for a Healthy Recovery and its prescriptions for a healthy, green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We believe it is essential to build a global movement for health and environment that contributes to, and becomes part of, the broader social movements for structural change necessary at this critical juncture. We see many hopeful signs of this movement emerging all around the world, taking initiative to forge positive social and environmental change locally, nationally, and globally. This statement is, in many ways, a reflection of that emergent movement, the key issues we believe it must tackle, and the fundamental actions it is already beginning to support.

You can read the full HCWH statement here.

Changing Markets Foundation releases new report exposing the corporate playbook of false solutions to the plastic crisis

17 September 2020 - In the face of the ever-pressing plastic pollution crisis, the plastics industry has continuously pledged their commitment to address this probing problem through voluntary efforts.

However, a new report by the Changing Markets Foundation reveals that these nice sounding promises to address this crisis are a form of distraction to delay and derail legislative solutions to the plastic catastrophe, creating a tidal wave of plastic pollution around the world. Based on research and investigations in over 15 countries across five continents, Talking Trash: The Corporate Playbook of False Solutions exposes how tactics to undermine legislation in individual countries are in fact part of a global approach by Big Plastic to ensure that the corporations most responsible for the plastic crisis evade true accountability for their pollution.

Read the full media release here.

groundWork joins CER call on government to heed public health professionals’ call for climate leadership

Childwearing oxygen mask16 September 2020 - A group of prominent South African public health experts and practitioners has written to Finance Minister Tito Mboweni calling for stronger leadership from the South African government on climate, energy and health in building a post-COVID-19 South Africa.

In a letter to Minister Mboweni on 14 September 2020, the Climate, Energy and Health Special Interest Group of the Public Health Association of South Africa (PHASA) writes that it is necessary to act now to combat climate change and build a new, resilient economy. The Special Interest Group has appealed to Minister Mboweni to lead his fellow Cabinet members toward securing ecologically sustainable development in South Africa. “People’s health is the bottom line of climate change,” writes the group.

Minister Mboweni is representing South Africa at a G20 health and finance ministers meeting on 17 September 2020, focused on planning for future pandemics.

The PHASA Special Interest Group has urged Minister Mboweni to “ensure that these plans include investments in health systems, that they are inclusive, and that they fully integrate environmental sustainability and effective climate responses for the health of present and future generations”.

Read the full media item here.

Prize Winners Today: Environmental Justice with Bobby Peek

15 September 2020 -

“A march is not a movement.”

“It’s just a point in time when people come together. Movements are everyday lived realities and processes. They are about change over time and not change through one moment.”

Equating the development of a social movement to a tree’s strengthening roots (slow, sustained, and motivated) and its marches and rallies to the tree’s flowers (vibrant, colorful, and expressive), Bobby Peek’s interpretation of today’s social upheaval reveals his foundational understanding of a long history of environmental injustice in South Africa. Needless to say, our team was eager to speak with Bobby as part of the Prize Winners Today series.

Since winning the Goldman Environmental Prize at the young age of 30, social activist and environmental champion Sven “Bobby” Peek (South Africa, 1998) has maintained an energetic drumbeat of community organizing. Over two decades later, he finds himself and his NGO, Groundwork, uniquely positioned to meet today’s global moment of social and environmental awareness.

You can read the full article by Goldman's Ellen Lomonico here.

Minister Revokes Karpowership NEMA Section 30 Directive

08 September 2020 - Sonnyboy Bapela, Chief Directorate of Compliance at the Department of Environment Fisheries and Forestry (DEFF) issued a verbal directive in terms of Section 30 (A) (1) of the National Environmental Act, 1998 (NEMA) on 26th June 2020 – authorizing Karpowership SA Pty Ltd to generate power in excess of 50MW from floating gas ships. These were to be located within the ports of Ngqura, Richards Bay, Saldanha Bay and Durban including the installation of 132KV steel towers and gas pipeline infrastructure along the seabed. On 16th July the written Directive was signed off by the Environmental Assessment Practitioner (EAP), Hanti Plomp, of Triplo4SustainableSolutions, and not DEFF. 

This was wrong for many reasons. Firstly, Section 30 (A) 1 does not authorize new generation capacity in the particular circumstances. It only allows for specific activities to prevent an emergency situation such as a discharge of excess water to prevent a dam burst. This implies that there must be a degree of urgency. The long construction times and need to obtain necessary licenses and permits cannot provide instantaneous relief for emergencies.

Read the full media report here.

groundWork Submits Comment on DEFF’s Notices to Fast Track Environmental Assessment Processes

08 September 2020 - In response to a Public Notice calling organisations to engage with the DEFF, groundWork has prepared detailed comments on various Environmental Management Instruments. Our comments were delivered to the Director-General of the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries (DEFF) on Friday 4th September 2020.

Public participation processes have not reached all the people and communities living in the affected areas. The greatest impact of fossil fuels and their infrstructure is felt by poor and marginalised communities. The proposed increase in gas pipelines, infrastructure and related activities, will result in increased risks and will impact negatively on human health, ecosystems and water resources.

Specialist studies and reports have been excluded from SEA processes. The oil and gas industry, worldwide, already contributes 71% to global greenhouse gas emissions. Gas development in South Africa will increase our greenhouse gas emissions and must not be falsely described as a source of clean fuel. Job creation within the industry has not been properly addressed. The development of gas pipeline infrastructure will not create sustainable jobs. Gas infrastructure will become redundant (and dangerous) in less than 20 years, while the lifespan of solar installations currently is 30 years.

Read the full media item here.

Friends of the Earth Africa and African Climate Justice Groups' Statement on the Oil Spill on the Coast of Mauritius

Partial view of oil spill. Source: Sky News.

24 August 2020 - We, organizations in Friends of the Earth Africa, the African Climate Justice Group, and Friends of the Earth Japan stand in solidarity with the people and Nature of Mauritius. We send our salutes and commend the Mauritian people in their incredible collective efforts, passion and commitment towards containing the spill and its impacts. Nevertheless, we condemn in the strongest possible terms, the oil spill from a Japanese owned ship, MV Wakashio and the demonstrated incompetence of the incumbent authorities in preventing it, and in dealing with the spill's aftermath .

The Japanese owned ship, MV Wakashio, carrying 4,000 metric tons of oil, ran aground just off the coast of the small island nation of Mauritius on July 25, 2020 and broke apart on Saturday August 15, 2020.

Over 1000 metric tons of the oil in the ship has spilled into the surrounding waters and there are concerns that more oil will spill from the ship. This spill is already and will continue to cause substantial damage to the Island's ecosystem and local livelihoods. This without mentioning the expected long-term damage to marine environments expected from the disposal of the shipwreck after it is removed.

Mauritius is a biodiversity hotspot and the spill occurred near two environmentally protected marine ecosystems and the Blue bay marine reserve park which is a wetland of immense international significance. Coral reefs, protected lagoons and the nation's shorelines have already been impacted.

Read the full Statement here.

REDZ Decision Making is Everybody's Business

14 August 2020 - The Department of Environment Fisheries and Forestry (DEFF) is attempting to push through and fast track processes around the proposed Renewable Energy Development Zones (REDZ) which includes gas pipeline corridors. The Public Notice was only advertised between 23rd and 31st July, shortening the available time for response by six to fourteen days for those who saw the advertised notices. The Public Notice was advertised in three provinces and only in English. However, the area of impact of the proposed REDZ and corridors extends into all nine provinces. In addition, the links on the adverts did not work, making the information inaccessible for those using popular search engines.

On 4 August 2020 groundWork in a letter to the DEFF Director General, Dr D Fischer, highlighted these and other concerns around the REDZ notification and requested an extension of the processes until all measures are taken for the national public participation required. Particularly under the State of Disaster where provision must be made for alternative and suitable forms of notification. DEFF intends to ‘streamline’ the environmental impact processes. This would enable authorization through shortening or exclusion of environmental assessment timeframes and administration, which may further exclude participation.

Read the full news item here.

Water Tribunal says climate change must be considered in water licence applications for coal power plants

05 August 2020 - A landmark decision by the Water Tribunal confirms that water licensing authorities must consider the impacts of climate change when deciding whether or not to grant water use licences to coal-fired power stations.

In its decision handed down on 21 July 2020, the Tribunal upheld an appeal to set aside the two water use licences granted by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation to ACWA Power for the development of a new coal-fired power station, Khanyisa. The Tribunal found that the water use licence applications were procedurally flawed, but also that the licensing authority had not adequately weighed up the impact of climate change on water security in the region.

“This decision means that, when considering a water use licence application for a coal power plant like Khanyisa, the Department of Water and Sanitation must consider the impacts of climate change on water when deciding whether or not the project will amount to the efficient and beneficial use of water in the public interest,” says Michelle Koyama, attorney at the Centre for Environmental Rights. “Prior to this, there was no explicit requirement to include the impacts of climate change when considering factors relevant to the decision to issue licences under the National Water Act.”

Read the full media release here.

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

Cover of June 2020 Newsletter

Read our latest Newsletter (June 2020) here.

Cover of March 2020 newsletter

Read our March 2020 Newsletter here

Read the 2019 groundWork report: Down to Zero - the Politics of Just Transition


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