How SA’s powerhouse pair nuked the Russian deal
South Africans Makoma Lekalakala and Liziwe McDaid win the prestigious Goldman Prize that recognises grassroots activism, writes Tony Carnie
Two very determined women fly home from the US this week after being lauded for their role in derailing the trillion-rand nuclear power agreement between SA and Russia. Standing on the stage of the San Francisco Opera House last week, Makoma Lekalakala of Johannesburg and Liziwe McDaid of Cape Town both sought to deflect personal kudos after winning the 2018 Goldman Prize, a global award that recognises grassroots activists for "significant achievements to protect the environment". Instead, they said honour was due to a much broader group of local activists, lawyers and volunteers who sounded the alarm bells when they got wind of a secret deal between Russia and SA in 2014. Had the deal not been halted, they fear future generations would have been saddled with a crippling financial bill and almost perpetual responsibility for dealing with radioactive waste and the risk of nuclear accidents. Given the staggering monetary costs and risks to human health and the environment, it seems r...