If the world wants to avoid a climate catastrophe, countries need to put into place policies and actions now that will produce deeper impacts, longer-term results, and systematic changes. 

The South African climate justice movement which included the Co-Operative and Policy Alternative Centre (COPAC) and the South African Food Sovereignty Campaign and other civil organisations engaged in a process to develop a Climate Justice Charter for South Africa.  

“South Africa has to become a climate justice state that recognises the climate emergency, whilst strengthening our democracy.  It has to be guided by the vision, goals, principles and people-led systematic alternatives contained in a Charter and all its climate policies must be aligned to realise this Charter.”

On the 28th of August 2020 a new Climate Justice Charter was adopted by a number of environmental organisations, including the EMS Foundation.  On the 16th of October 2020 the Climate Justice Charter Movement handed over the Charter to the Parliament of South Africa demanding that it be adopted as per Section 234 of the South African Constitution. 

The Charter calls for climate justice by transforming our work environments, our communities and our political power structures.

The EMS Foundation will continue to highlight and report on issues pertaining to the importance of protecting the South African natural environment and the democratic rights of all South Africans. 

In order to commemorate Human Rights Day 2021, the EMS Foundation would like to acknowledge two South African environmental activists who have been assassinated during their campaigns highlighting the negative aspects of mining in their communities. 

Sikhosiphi Rhadebe, chairperson of the Amadiba Crisis Committee was assassinated on the 22nd of March 2016.  His campaign highlighted two major mining projects  in Xolobeni in the Pondoland region of the Eastern Cape.  Sikhosiphi Rhadebe was gunned down outside his home in the Lurholweni township in Mbizana.  A community leader, father and founder of a soccer club for unemployed youngsters.  Seventy families were at risk of being evicted from their ancestral land if these developments went ahead. 

Fikile Ntshangase, was gunned down on the 22n October 2020 at her home in Ophondweni near Mtubatuba in KwaZulu Natal.  Fikile Ntshangase was the vice-chairperson of a sub-committee of the Mfolozi Community Environmental Justice Organisation opposed to an open mine on the border of the iMfolozi-Hluhluwe Game Reserve in northern KwaZulu Natal.   She was lobbying for the protection of the community’s rights to a safe and clean environment.  

The EMS Foundation is extremely concerned by the fact that it is clearly not safe to exercise our fundamental human rights in defence of our environment in South Africa.  Furthermore, we are devastated to learn that no arrests have been made in either of these assassinations. 

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