May 13, 2016

Despite dismissal of court case, peaceful action to Break Free from fossil fuels still planned

JOHANNESBURG- Despite attempts to silence the people speaking out against the Gupta family and their dirty corrupt mining deals, a peaceful action organised by Break Free South Africa[1] will still converge at the Zoo Lake tomorrow morning to demand a just response to climate change.

This gathering will take place several blocks away from the controversial Gupta family compound, at No.1 Saxonwold in Johannesburg, where it was originally planned to take place. The gathering at the compound was prohibited by the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) citing pressure from an intelligence agency, in a clear violation of the South African citizens’ basic constitutional rights to gather, demonstrate and speak.

The Gupta family was chosen as a symbol of the close business-government relationship that is hurdling the just transition South Africans need to clean energy sources.

“Our fundamental right to fight against dirty coal deals has been denied,” pointed Ferrial Adam Africa and Arab World Team Director, after the court dismissed the case presented by Break Free campaigners. “Constitutionally our case was an urgent one, considering the urgency of the climate crises and our constitutional right to demand a dignified life yet the Johannesburg High Court ruled that our case was not urgent.  This ruling sends a message, that the people’s voices do not matter.”

“Corruption has entrenched in the highest levels of governance and is threatening South Africa’s democracy. We know the Constitution is on our side, and we are calling for a moratorium on new coal mines and want to bring an end to corruption in the mining sector. Whilst the rich are getting richer, mining affected communities are feeling the impacts caused by polluting industries and dirty deals,” concluded Adam.


[1] Break Free South Africa comprises of civil society organisations, coal mining impacted communities, farmers and NGO’s, who have all united to speak out and protest against the climate crises and corruption in the coal mining sector. This is part of a global wave of peaceful actions to keep coal, oil and gas in the ground.   During May 4 – 14, thousands of people across six continents are engaging in these actions under the banner of Break Free.


Lerato Letebele, Africa and Arab World Communications Manager, [email protected], +27765624895;

Hoda Baraka, Global Communications Manager, [email protected], +1-347-453-6600;