SA women to be honoured for halting government's nuclear deal

SA women to be honoured for halting government's nuclear deal”

Lekalakala, aged 53, is the director for Earthlife Africa.

Two South African women have been awarded a prestigious global environmental award for their work in winning a crucial court case against plans by the government to proceed with a nuclear build programme.

The prize is awarded in recognition of grassroots activists who perform outstanding work in the area of environmental issues.

The nuclear agreement had been keep secret, bypassing the required legal processes, excluding any public consultation or parliamentary debate. Members of Cabinet have said repeatedly that the government would not immediately pursue nuclear as it was unaffordable. They worked tirelessly and passionately with fellow citizens and NGOs against the secret nuclear deal with Russian Federation, thereby restoring a sense of faith in justice in this country - even if just for a moment.

Liziwe has been campaigning against nuclear energy for decades; hence her reasons for continuously trying to draw the government's attention towards alternative energy sources are based on the following observations: 'there is so much we don't know about the future impacts of nuclear waste, which continues to grow every year.

Ahead of receiving the award on Monday, Lekalakala said nuclear potentially remained a major threat to the livelihood of South African citizens, adding that there were are other, cheaper and cleaner ways of generating energy. It is not sensible to think that what used to work in the past, can still apply now, particularly since the evidence is overwhelming against nuclear technology and fossil fuels'.

Their fight and mobilisation saw the Western Cape High Court rule against the deal on April 26, 2017, terming it unconstitutional thus saving the country from the expansion o the nuclear industry and radioactive waste production.

South Africa's Liz McDaid and Makoma Lekalakala received the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize for the work which prevented a nuclear deal between SA and Russian Federation.

In a statement, award organisers say their achievement is vast for South Africa.

"Makoma has been a tireless campaigner for environmental justice in South Africa", said Melissa Fourie, the executive director for the Centre for Environmental Rights.

The deal would have seen the development of eight to ten nuclear power stations throughout South Africa that would see the production of 9.6 gigawatts of nuclear energy. "It is fantastic to see their courage recognised at an worldwide level".

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