We are a network of South Africans calling for divestment from fossil fuels – and restorative reinvestment in sustainable energy

– and restorative reinvestment in sustainable energy – to stigmatise fossil fuel use, accelerate sustainable system change, help slow climate change, reduce the financial risks of fossil fuel investments, and so help secure our human rights and common future. Fossil Free South Africa was legally established as a voluntary association in early 2015.


We’re part of the global divestment movement

originally inspired by 350.org and now spanning more than 1100 institutions that include churches, philanthropies retirement funds, cities like New York, London, Paris, Melbourne and Cape Town, and assets valued at over $14 trillion (as of February 2019).

In 2017, we helped persuade the City of Cape Town to divest, and we were instrumental in securing divestment by Africa’s top-rated university, the University of Cape Town, in March 2022. We continue to engage other universities, notably Wits and Stellenbosch; and South African asset managers, on divestment. Please support our campaigns and watch our timelines and news for updates. 


Our achievements over the years


Our achievements over the years


Fossil Free SA’s first-ever budget of approximately R70,000 was funded through a Thundafund campaign that closed on 31 January 2015. We have long received some ongoing contributions from supporters and donations at events. From 2017 onwards, we have received grants from foundations to fund our core activities.

  • In 2017, our May divestment workshop was funded by R30,000 from 350.org and R12,000 from Futuregrowth Asset Management. Futuregrowth also part-sponsored our 2019 workshop on Climate-Proofing Retirement Funds. David Le Page’s travel to a 2017 global divestment conference in Amsterdam was sponsored by the Wallace Global Fund.
  • 2017–2021: We received core operational funding from the Wallace Global Fund. We continue to receive small monthly donations from a number of individuals. We also received $3,000 from a private donor in the US in 2018.
In 2022, we continue to receive funding from the European Climate Foundation and some small donations from private donors in South Africa.


Fossil Free SA endeavors at all times to follow best practice guidelines for the management of non-profits in South Africa, as outlined in these recommendations:

Fossil Free SA is run by its staff (currently the coordinator and part-time administrator), but constituted as a voluntary association of:

  • members who support our mission (around 20, as of 2022)
  • with staff oversight from those members serving on our Management Committee

Members are invited to apply, are then confirmed as members by resolution of the ManCo, and are then eligible to serve on ManCo. 

You can apply for membership by filling in our membership form here.


The global divestment campaign has been endorsed, by, amongst others:

Our South African campaign has been endorsed by these organisations and individuals:

Academics endorsing the UCT campaign:

  • Dr Gina Ziervogel
  • Dr Eduard Grebe
  • Dr Claire Kelly
  • James Irlam, senior lecturer, Health Sciences
  • Richard Calland, associate professor, law faculty
  • Cormac Cullinan, research associate of the Department of Public Law at UCT
  • Phoebe Barnard, lead climate scientist at SANBI: “As a ‘leading Afropolitan university’, UCT can show Africa and South Africa true leadership here.”
  • Professor Ralph Hamann, Graduate School of Business
  • Tania Katzschner, senior lecturer, School of Architecture
  • Endorsements for this campaign are now being added to our petition calling on the University of Cape Town to be true to its own research and traditions, and divest from fossil fuels. If you’re part of the UCT community, please do add your signature.

If you are part of a South African organisation that endorses this movement, please message us so we can add your name. We value all our supporters equally.  But if you are, say, a professor or run an investment company, your endorsement, like the names above, could be very helpful, so please let us know.


Our campaign was originally inspired by the work of 350.org.

Our campaign was originally inspired by the work of 350.org. We have close working relationships with 350 Africa, and with Just Share. We are a registered network supporter of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment. Our UCT campaign has been an ongoing partnership with the student members of the Green Campus Initiative. We are affiliated with SACAN and the SA Climate Justice Coalition.