Matimba Coal Power Station in South Africa. © Shayne Robinson

A view of Matimba coal power station, with an informal settlement in the foreground. Medupi, which will be one of the biggest coal power stations in the world when completed, is under construction in the same area. © Shayne Robinson

Johannesburg, 5 November 2018: Responding to accusations of recklessness made by NUM, as reported by TimesLive, Greenpeace Africa Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager, Melita Steele has said:

“People’s lives are on the line, and air pollution is clearly a public health crisis that can no longer be ignored. it is in the interests of all South Africans, of all ages and economic backgrounds, to breathe clean air. It is particularly important for our children, who are most vulnerable to the devastating health impacts of breathing polluted air”.

The groundbreaking Greenpeace analysis of satellite data reveals that there is nowhere to hide and Mpumalanga is the worst NO2 pollution hotspot in the world.

“Exposing the truth about air pollution in South Africa is a must. What would be reckless would be to withhold information from the people of Mpumalanga and Johannesburg/Pretoria about the devastating pollution that they are exposed to, and to pretend that there are no alternatives”.

“The true cost of coal is devastation at every step, and our deadly reliance on coal is literally killing us. Renewable energy can light the way to a better future, but we have to choose it now. Greenpeace Africa has made no secret of the fact that we support Eskom investing in renewable energy, and also for the barriers to rooftop solar being removed. The South African government needs to get behind renewable energy – particularly in the coal belts – to replace dirty coal power stations and create new jobs and opportunities with clean renewable energy.

“We invite NUM and other unions, to engage with Greenpeace Africa on a Just Transition that would create greener jobs and protect people and workers in the sector”.

For media enquiries and interviews, contact Communications Specialist for Greenpeace Africa, Oliver Meth on 060 604 6690, ometh@greenpeace,org