Grateful to the faithful

Grace and peace to you and through you

Earthlife-Africa Johannesburg (ELA) and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute (SAFCEI) launched their nuclear court case against the South African government in October 2015 when they realised that the government was preparing for a nuclear power procurement deal in secret. The court case has been pivotal in exposing arrangements for government’s proposed R1-trillion nuclear deal that they believe was entered into unlawfully. Furthermore they believe the deal to be both unaffordable and unnecessary.

On the eve of Freedom Day the Western Cape High Court delivered its judgement in favour of ELA and SAFCEI. It declared the government nuclear plan as unconstitutional and therefore invalid because among other things it did not follow due process.

We owe ELA and SAFCEI a great deal of gratitude. They have saved us! They have saved us, and our children, from deathly debt. And because nuclear waste is extremely difficult to dispose of they have also saved the environment that we are dependent on. For example: the highly radio-active fission products produced from uranium and plutonium during reactor operations can have a half-life of anything between 220,000 years and 15.7 million years.

If you have met any of the people from ELA and SAFCEI you will know that they are very ordinary people. So ordinary that many of us don’t even know who any of them are. They have never made it onto a giant billboard and I am pretty sure that not one of them has ever been asked for their autograph like some TV personality or popular sportsperson because of their NGO work. I am also certain they have never been called Messiah or Anointed One. And yet in some real sense that is exactly who they are. They are people (the Bible would call them Angels or Saints or Anointed Ones) who have secured life (even temporarily) in a world determined to dish up death. Regardless of their religion (or lack thereof), in securing life, they follow in the footsteps of Jesus who came to bring Life in all its Wonder.

ELA and SAFCEI have helped roll the stone away exposing a deathly secret stench. Their work is like the Easter Earthquake we read about in Matthew 28 that releases us from our tombs that we may have another chance at choosing life.

As Jesus lived out and Margaret Mead taught, we see again through this successful court action that we must “never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

The bad news is that there are many tombs in our land and world that testify to our decisions that favour death. But the good news is that there are so many small groups of thoughtful, committed citizens for us to join up with … and begin changing the world from death to life.


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