26 November 2013, Johannesburg – Eskom, which supplies 90% of South Africa’s electricity needs through its 18 coal-fired power stations, is in the running to win the international award for this year’s worst corporation in the annual Public Eye Awards, taking place parallel to the World Economic Forum.
In a bid to manoeuvre its way out of its social and environmental responsibilities, cut costs and fuel its coal addiction, Eskom has applied for two-thirds of its coal-fired power stations to be exempt from and/or postpone complying with the law on air pollution standards (minimum emission standards) put in place to protect people’s health.
With the majority of Eskom’s coal-fired power stations leading to entire areas in Mpumalamga and the Vaal Triangle being out of compliance with South Africa’s Ambient Air Quality Standards, Earthlife Africa Johannesburg, Greenpeace Africa and groundWork have taken these applications as a flagrant disregard for people’s health.
Thus, a joint submission was made to the Public Eye Awards to nominate Eskom, which has now been shortlisted with seven other corporations internationally.
Makoma Lekalakala, Sustainable Energy and Climate Change Programme Officer at Earthlife Africa Johannesburg:
“Instead of using South Africa’s abundant wind and solar resources to generate electricity, Eskom continues to use more expensive coal, poisoning our communities and destroying our water resources.
Instead of helping to solve local pollution and reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Eskom spends our money on expensive, dirty energy. It is selling out both South Africa and the world.”
During the Switzerland-based World Economic Forum – taking place next year from the 22nd to 25th January – the world’s elite 1%, including Eskom, will gather to discuss ways to increase deregulation of global markets and enable transnational corporations to gain further strongholds over the natural resources, livelihoods and labour of marginalized people across the world.
At the same time, the Public Eye Awards – hosted by Greenpeace Switzerland and the Berne Declaration – will be exposing the human rights violations, environmental destruction and corruption that corporations, like Eskom, impose on people and the planet.
– Greenpeace International