Greenpeace Action at Kusile Power Plant, South Africa

Greenpeace activists chain themselves to the front gate of the construction site of Kusile coal plant in Mpumalanga, South Africa, in protest of South Africa's addiction to coal power. © Greenpeace / Shayne Robinson


Today, Greenpeace Africa has brought something very far away from the minds of most South Africans to the top of talking trends. "Confronting Kusile" is the phrase making the rounds online this morning, and it's got many regular South Africans talking about our country's addiction to dirty coal power.

Kusile has seldom been conversation-worthy before because most South Africans don't think of dirty, smoggy coal-fired power plants using up 17 million tonnes of coal a year when they turn on their kitchen lights in the dusk. But that is where our power comes from. 90% of the country's power, to be exact.

We came here today to highlight that the battle to stop Kusile is not one that is waged between activists and corporations like Eskom - it is a battle that will be waged by every South African citizen - rich or poor, young or old - in the years to come, because the true cost of coal is devastation at every turn.

When we arrived at the construction site of Kusile this morning, we took local workers and guards by surprise. Activists held up their banners in front of the gates as guards ran around looking for something to catch these peaceful protesters out with. They had nothing, but soon removed the chained activists with bolt cutters. The seven Greenpeace volunteers left peacefully.

At the time the boltcutters were going in to action, six Greenpeace climbers were starting to scale one of the construction cranes. Climbers were up with great speed and in place to hang their bright yellow banners off the crane before Eskom security even knew something was amiss.

The Greenpeace climbers hung two banners off the 150m crane, reading 'Kusile: Climate Killer', to emphasise just what we are doing to our world by letting the construction of this power plant continue.

Because the bottom line is there is no future in coal for South Africa, or for any other country, for that matter. We need to phase out fossil fuels and start taking advantage of our fantastic renewable energy resources now if we don't want the prophecy in these banners to come true.

After hanging the banners, three Greenpeace activists were officially arrested. Information on what they have been arrested for is not yet know.

The rest of the climbing team remains on the Kusile crane. Watch this space...