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Two women helped boot Russian nukes out of South Africa

Liz McDaid of SAFCEI (above left) and Makoma Lekalakala of Earthlife Africa (above right) helped lead a legal fight that sent Rosatom packing. Thier victory was a win last year in the South African High Court which ruled that a secret nuclear power deal between Russia and the then Zuma government was unconstitutional. It effectively chased Rosatom, the Russian government-owned nuclear corporation, out of the country. It was the culmination of several years of broad campaigning across many strategies and demographics.

Since the court victory, Zuma has stepped down and Cyril Ramaphosa, who is trying desperately to restore confidence in their shared political affiliation, the ANC, has taken the helm. So far, Ramaphosa has suggested that nuclear energy is not affordable for South Africa. For now, Lekalakala and McDaid remain on the winning side.

But these women and their allies know that nuclear could still raise its ugly head in South Africa again and they are ready. Any nuclear power plan in South Africa could have devastating effects beyond its borders.

“The 8-10 nuclear power plants on the table would have had huge impacts for uranium mining in the rest of Africa,” says McDaid. “Now that the deal is no more we want to keep up the pressure throughout the region and even into East Africa as well because Rosatom is actively trying to sign deals with Kenya, Zambia and Zimbabwe.”

Read our story about their work on Beyond Nuclear International.