Nationwide people’s power marches on Human Rights Day demand access to clean and affordable electricity

  • On Wednesday, 20 and Thursday, 21 March, the Climate Justice Coalition, its members, and its civil society partners will march with communities and workers across the Free State, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Western Cape, Kwazulu Natal, and Gauteng to assert the right to clean, affordable, and reliable electricity.
  • These actions are prompted by nonstop power outages in the country that have condemned the most vulnerable in our society to untenable conditions where simple aspects of life, such as cooking and commuting, are impossible.
  • They are part of ongoing struggles by ordinary people living in South Africa, demanding the government’s urgent response to the country’s energy and climate crisis. 

The actions are also in protest of the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) recently published Draft Integrated Resource Plan 2023 – the government’s draft energy plan. The plan would drastically cut investment in renewable energy and instead lock the country into heavy dependence on more expensive, polluting, and unreliable energy sources, such as coal and fossil gas. The protests will demand a People’s Energy Plan to deliver a rapid and just transition to a more socially-owned, renewable energy-powered future, providing clean, safe, and affordable energy for all.

Renewable energy is proven to be a significantly cleaner, affordable and sustainable alternative.
However, due to its upfront costs, only a select few in South Africa can acquire a private supply of renewable alternatives, leaving millions of people in low-income households to experience the hardship of energy apartheid. The planned People’s Power Human Rights Day actions seek to urge the government to fulfil its constitutional obligation to deliver basic services such as electricity, which must be clean, reliable, and affordable to be accessible to all people and not detrimental to people’s health or the environment.

Read the full list of demands here and an overview of the action here

Spokesperson: Promise Mabilo from Vukani Environmental Movement said, “We march on the 20th March because we are calling for urgent, accessible and affordable energy for communities that will be led by communities.”
Date and time: Wednesday, 20 March at 9:00 am
Location: Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, Corner OR Tambo and Nelson Mandela Road, eMalahleni
Event organisers: Carolina Eco Green, Vukani Environmental Movement, MS Environmental Projects, Middelburg Social and Environmental Justice Alliance and Highveld Environmental Development Networking Alliance
Ground Contact Person: Cleopatra Shezi 0727394122

Free State, Bloemfontein
Action one:

Spokesperson: Mooketsi Diba from Botshabelo Unemployed Movement said, “ We demand safe, clean and affordable energy. The time to act against climate change is now.”
Date: Wednesday, 20 March
Assembly point: Hoffman Square 11:30 am
Commencing to: Premiere’s office: 12:30 pm
Finishing point: Eskom Head Office 1:00 pm
Event organisers: Botshabelo Unemployed Movement B.U.M.
Ground contact person: Mooketsi Diba 0732179686

Free State, Welkom
Action two:

Spokesperson: Motlatsi Makhasane from Working For Climate said, “We demand a people-centred energy plan. We reject governments Draft Intergrated Resource Plan of 2023.”
Date and time: Wednesday, 20 March at 10:00 am
Location: Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, The Strip, 314 Stateway, Welkom
Event organisers: Working for Climate, Tshwaranang Ma Afrika
Ground contact person: Motlatsi Makhasane 0732179686

Simphiwe Zwane from United Front said, “We say no to Capitalism. Capitalists are destroying our economy and dividing the working class. Let the poor and the working class unite to fight injustice.”
Date and time: Wednesday, 20 March at 10:00 am
Location: Eskom, Chris Hani Road, Klipspruit, Soweto
Event Organisers: United Front and Extinction Rebellion Gauteng
Ground Contact Person: Simphiwe Zwane, 0729448250 or  Malik Dasoo, 0829003082

Kwa-Zulu Natal
Thoko Nkosi said, “We join this action as Sukumani Environmental Justice because we stand in solidarity with those people who have sacrificed their lives through pollution to generate electricity for the rest of the country.”
Date and time: Wednesday, 20 March at 10:00 am
Location: Eskom, 8A Albert Wessels Drive, Riverside Industrial, Newcastle
Event Organisers: Sukumani Environmental Justice
Ground Contact Person: Thoko Nkosi  068 512 1233

Francina Nkosi from Waterberg Women Advocacy Organisation said, “People in Limpopo have remained silent for too long. Loadshedding has become another pandemic. People are going to sleep hungry because there’s no power to cook. It is time to take to the streets, with our empty pots and plates, to vocalise our grievances.”
Date and time: Wednesday, 20 March at  09:00 am
Location: Department of Mineral Resources and Energy, BROLL Building, 101 Dorp Street, Polokwane
Event Organisers: Sekhukhune Environmental Justice Network, Mining Affected Communities Advocacy Project and Waterberg Women Advocacy Organisation
Ground Contact Person: Tokelo Mahlakoane 0820558741 or Francina Nkosi 0728779972

Western Cape
Spokesperson  Gabriel Klaasen from the African Climate Alliance said, “We are Marching for System Change on this Human Rights Day. We urge our leaders to address the interlinking injustices we face, from energy, water, food, land, and housing to an end to gender-based violence. We demand energy justice with socially owned renewables. New fossil fuels and nuclear power are out.”
Date and time: Thursday, 21 March at 10:00 am
Location: Parliament of South Africa, 120 Plein St, Cape Town City Centre
Event organisers: African Climate Alliance, The Green Connection and others
Ground Contact Person: Lisa Makaula 071 527 5751


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