Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu Natal, 23 January 2014 – Communities from across South Africa facing various types of environmental pollution daily will next week present their struggles and engage with local Pietermaritzburg justice-based NGOs at a meeting hosted by groundWork.

“Popping the bubble: Engaging with Environmental Justice struggles and resistance beyond our own localities” will feature communities resisting environmental injustices as a result of poor service delivery as well as rampant and uncontrolled pollution from the likes of the mining, petrochemical and energy industry – such as Sasol, Eskom and Engen – and challenging for their right to have decent and recognised work as people working on the very many waste dumpsites throughout South Africa.

These are community members that come from industrial pollution hotpots in Witbank, Sasolburg and south Durban, together with waste pickers from throughout South Africa. Four key speakers [1] from these areas will briefly share their experiences, followed by an open dialogue to draw out some common experiences and modes of struggle.

Local environmental justice NGO groundWork’s [2] Bobby Peek explains why this is a critical meeting:

“We believe that this gathering of people is a good opportunity for us in Pietermaritzburg to engage with activist from other settings and to have a dialogue about resistance and struggle for change.  While we are from different geographic regions and at times have different social and environmental justice struggles, the forces that determine the injustices on the ground are the same throughout.”

Media are invited to this meeting.

Details for the meeting are as follows:
Date: Wednesday, 29 January 2014
Time: 16h30 – 18h30
Venue: 1 Alan Paton Avenue, Scottsville, Pietermaritzburg


[1] See attached Programme of events and key speakers
[2] groundWork is an 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 Air Quality, Climate Justice and Energy, Waste and Environmental Health. groundWork is the South African member of Friends of the Earth International.


Megan Lewis
Media and Communications Campaign Manager
(W): 033 342 5662
(M): 083 450 5541

Bobby Peek
(W): 033 342 5662
(M): 082 464 1383

groundWork (Friends of the Earth South Africa)