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New research by CER partner groundWork shows how coal power is turning Mpumalanga Highveld into wasteland

21 November 2017 at 3:00 pm

At the launch of a new groundWork report entitled Destruction of the Highveld: Part 2 – Burning Coal in eMalahleni, “the place of coal”, yesterday, community members* confirmed the study’s findings that Eskom’s coal addiction is causing serious health problems and killing people in the Highveld. They also called for a community and worker-led process to drive a just transition, and end the way in which coal power is turning the Mpumalanga Highveld into a wasteland.

Furthermore, the report finds that people are already experiencing the severe effects of climate change and that a just transition requires the following:

  • A new energy system based on socially owned renewables;
  • New jobs in renewables;
  • Large scale restoration and detoxification of land and ecosystems injured by the fossil fuel economy on the Highveld;
  • A new and healthier food economy;
  • Properly built, energy efficient housing;
  • A new and healthier transport economy;
  • The reorientation and expansion of municipal services; and
  • A basic income grant for all.

Download the new report here together with groundWork’s 2016 report Destruction of the Highveld: Part 1 – Digging Coal. Read more about the 2016 report here.

* Community organisations represented at the event included the Highveld Environmental Justice Network and Vukani Environmental Justice Movement in Action.


For media queries, please contact:

  • groundWork:  Bobby Peek on 082 464 1383, or David Hallows on 083 262 4922
  • Highveld Environmental Justice Network:  Nomcebo Makhubelo on 072 120 1626
  • Vukani Environmental Justice Movement in Action:  Promise Mabilo on 079 748 9115

Together with Earthlife Africa Johannesburg and the CER, goundWork is a member of the Life After Coal/Impilo Ngaphandle Kwamalahle campaign. We discourage investment in new coal-fired power stations and mines; accelerate the retirement of South Africa’s coal infrastructure; and enable a just transition to renewable energy systems for the people.

Life After Coal Campaign contacts:



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Section 24of 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.

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