SAFCEI’s Executive Director, Francesca de Gasparis says, “SAFCEI is immensely proud of Liz and Makoma, and the recognition they are receiving for their work on the nuclear deal, with the Goldman Environmental Prize. It was their tenacity and commitment to blowing the lid off the secret, and corrupt, nuclear energy deal – which would have bankrupted South Africa and set us back generations in terms of development.”
“SAFCEI and ELA-JHB are small environmental organisations, which through the knowledge and experience of Makoma and Liz, realised the threat and depth of corruption of the nuclear deal, and took the South African government to court, and won, against all odds. It was a victory of Dave and Goliath proportions. Makoma and Liz’s personal commitment and actions went the extra mile to promote the constitutional rights of South African citizens, and we are thrilled they are being honoured in this way. The message we want to share to the world is that Africa does not need nuclear energy,” adds de Gasparis.
Kumi Naidoo, the founding chair of Africans Rising for Justice, Peace and Dignity and who has long worked with both McDaid and Lekalakala says, “This is wonderful news. Both Makoma and Liz played such courageous and visionary roles when they challenged then-President Zuma’s intention to build new nuclear power plants with the Russian state. I want to thank both Liz and Makoma for their leadership, persistence and perseverance in taking on, what many wrote off as a done deal and pushed it right off the table. They both deserve this award, most generously.”
According to Susie Gelman, President of the Foundation, “Liz and Makoma epitomize what the Goldman Environmental Foundation stands for: Courage, compassion, vision, collaboration, and hard work in the name of environmental justice. Their significant achievements in South Africa, inspire people all over the world and we’re proud to recognize the efforts of these dynamic environmental leaders.”
Last year’s Africa winner, Rodrigue Katembo from the Democratic Republic of Congo, was awarded the prize for putting his life on the line by going undercover to document and release information about bribery and corruption in the quest to drill for oil in Virunga National Park. The resulting public outrage forced the company to withdraw from the project.
The Goldman Environmental Prize is the world’s largest award honouring grassroots environmental activists. The Prize was established in 1989 by late civic leaders and philanthropists Richard and Rhoda Goldman. Prize winners – from 6 continents – are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations submitted by a worldwide network of environmental organizations and individuals.
Learn more at www.goldmanprize.org