groundWork is a South African environmental organization that works for climate justice and development with solidarity as a basis. The organization works for people affected by environmental degradation and supports the struggle of people and local associations claiming their rights.


The environment in South Africa, as in many other parts of the world, is often not in focus compared to the profits and the economic growth. Even though many of today’s industries are environmentally destructive which leads to consequences for the environment and the people, the industries are still being justified by the fact that they create jobs. Several of those living in South Africa’s mining areas are affected by environmental damages, as the mining industry and its factories often damage the environment.

The organization

groundWork works to support movements within the civil society, so that they will have a greater opportunity to influence environmental policies. Among other things, groundWork works in communities affected by industrial pollution. With support from groundwork people can, for example, get help testing the environment in their neighborhoods, get training on how they can reach the media and get legal assistance when needed. groundWork also works to raise issues about environmental problems in the public debate, for example in the media, and to find fair solutions to the problems that environmental degradation creates today. The organization is working on the exploitation and environmental degradation of mining companies.

Against the mining industry’s environmental degradation

In the coal mining in Witbank at the Mpumalanga province, the nature is now being damaged because of the mining industry. It also affects the human health. With support from groundWork, groups in the area have been able to test water and air emissions. They have been able to collect their own evidence, which shows that the environment has been affected by the industry. As a result, they have been able to spread the knowledge in society and demand that the authorities act.

“No one protects the population living in the area. We are struggling to be listened to, “says Mpumi Nkosi, who lives in the Mpumalanga province.

Through groundWork, she and other people who are engaged gets support for their struggle against the environment being subordinated to jobs and economic gain.

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