New groundWork Report Launch:  Contested Transition: State and Capital against Community

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 Contested Transition: State and Capital against Community

Corporate South Africa looks for a just transition to bail it out of dirty, dead end businesses and fix capital in bright new ‘green’ megaprojects, but without disturbing the underlying logic of the system. Against that, communities want to see a just transition for all, one that upends unequal relations of power to transform the lives of ordinary people and make for a society founded on justice. This is the political fight for the future – indeed, for any future.

 Johannesburg, South Africa, Friday 24 March 2023. Environmental justice organisation groundWork will today launch their latest report on the state of environmental justice in South Africa. The report titled Contested Transition: State and Capital against Community

 The groundWork Report 2022 follows the 2019 and 2020 reports in its focus on the just (or unjust) transition. Since 2019, the debate has moved fast with the appointment of the Presidential Climate Commission in December 2020 and the announcement of the Just Energy Transition Partnership between South Africa and the Northern powers at the Glasgow climate negotiations in November 2021. It also impelled by the ongoing collapse of Eskom and the uneven decline of the minerals energy complex centred on coal, as well as the shutdown of major crude oil refineries.

This groundWork report incorporates the work and insights of the 2022 community activist researchers from different areas around the country. The report posits in detail the on-the-ground realities around burning topics like, climate finance, the end of coal, and a nationally determined consensus. Drawing from recent developments and events such as the KwaZulu-Natal floods of 2022, and the closure of Komati Power Station in Mpumalanga and its repurposing plans.

This report concludes by highlighting five big steps in the next to do list for the environmental justice movement and these include: drive systems change; support communities through the environmental justice movement; practically support measures that drive towards more social justice; use monitoring and evaluation opportunities to make sure communities and activists can oversee and influence the implementation and further development of the transition; and finally, remain involved in local, national and international debates while keeping a hawk’s eye on other actors and developments.

groundWork has always called for a just transition. From the early days of fenceline struggles of oil refinery and toxic waste dump resistance with affected communities, to the very recent formal process of the Presidential Climate Commission. The  demands have always been clear: for there to be a just transition, the system has to be changed and the momentum for a just change must come from “movements struggling for deep transformation of the way the world works”.

groundWork Report Launch Details:

  • Friday 24 March 2023
  • 10am to 1pm
  • Room G17, groundfloor, Professional Development Hub on Wits Main Campus (See attached doc for directions)

Live streaming  link :     

YouTube: groundWork SA


For media enquiries contact:

Tsepang Molefe | Media & Communications Campaign Manager

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