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Activists graduate from Centre’s 2018 Environmental Rights & Remedies School

14 September 2018 at 8:27 am

Environmental activist Tokelo Mahlakoane, pictured with former Constitutional Court Judge, Bess Nkabinde, at the graduation ceremony of the Centre's second Environmental Rights & Remedies School for Activists last week.
Environmental activist Tokelo Mahlakoane, pictured with former Constitutional Court Judge, Bess Nkabinde, at the graduation ceremony of the Centre's second Environmental Rights & Remedies School for Activists last week.

A spirited graduation ceremony – which included an address by former Constitutional Court Judge Bess Nkabinde – last week marked the successful close of the Centre’s second Environmental Rights & Remedies School for Activists.

The ceremony marked the end of an intensive two week period of learning in which the selected fifteen activists covered various areas of environmental law, with practical learning about how to use legal remedies available to activists, as well as general skills like presentation skills and dealing with the media, as well as fundraising for their own organisations.

Their training, which was held at Schoenstatt Centre in Constantia, also included a visit to Parliament and the Magistrates’ Court, as well as Kirstenbosch.

CER attorney Matome Kapa, says: “Our focus was to provide seasoned activists from communities affected by environmental rights violations with new tools for their activism. Our course work was designed to empower the participants to use the law to assert their rights, to encourage and enforce compliance, and to hold government and the private sector accountable for violations of environment law.

“Assigned CER attorneys will continue to provide these activists with mentorship and guidance. We look forward to working with them to strengthen their defence of Section 24 of the Constitution on behalf of their communities.”

Sekhkhune-based environmental activist Tokelo Mahlakoane (pictured), says: “We learned how to use the Constitution, the the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA), about protest and many other things. The course was very useful for me as an activist, because it provided us with tools to fight for our rights.”

END

Section 24 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

Report a Violation

National Environmental Crimes & Incidents Hotline (24 hours): 0800 205 005

In addition, there are a number of national and provincial hotlines that may be useful.

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