Malema linked to dirty firm

2010-07-18 08:53

ANC youth leader Julius Malema is a business partner of Dr Christos

­Eleftheriades, the man at the helm of Thermopower Technologies.

Thermopower will face criminal prosecution in the Kempton Park

Magistrates’ Court on Thursday for a range of environmental

transgressions.

The carcinogenic content of its ­emissions at its Gauteng waste

treatment facilities are just below nuclear level, according to consultants to

the surrounding community.

Eleftheriades’s Medicare Process Technologies and Malema’s Blue

Nightingale Trading 61 are partners in Tshumisano Waste Management, a consortium

that won a lucrative ­contract for the removal and treatment of medical waste

from Limpopo’s ­hospitals and clinics.

Blue Nightingale, of which Malema is the sole director, owns a 3%

stake in Tshumisano.

Malema yesterday denied that he was Eleftheriades’s business

partner, saying he did not even know who ­Thermopower or Medicare Process

Technologies were.

The ANC Youth League boss said he never dealt with the members of

the Tshumisano consortium because they won Limpopo’s multimillion waste ­removal

tender in 2005 and he only bought his Blue Nightingale company a year later.

“I was never in that thing. I was never part of them,” he insisted

yesterday.

A range of recently published ­scientific reports hold the company

­responsible for highly toxic dioxin emissions and warn that Pretoria’s ­water

supply is vulnerable because of lax standards at Thermopower.

Thermopower last week told City Press that a range of air quality

studies and emission reports were regularly submitted to the ­relevant

authorities and that these did not indicate that the community was adversely

affected.

Eleftheriades said that the Tshumisano consortium paid Blue

Nightingale a monthly dividend of R136 000.

He said he never directly dealt with Malema or the representatives

of the company because the consortium had tasked one of its directors, Dr

Phetole Sekete, to liaise with Blue Nightingale.

“All I know is that it is made up of youths. Dr Sekete is the guy

who said we needed local content and youths and I agreed,” he said. “I’ve been

asked about Malema but I’ve never dealt with him directly.”

Sekete could not be reached for comment last night.

Malema said if Thermopower were taken to court for polluting the

­environment, so be it.

“They must take them to court if that is what they are doing. I do

not know those people. I do not even know who Thermopower is. When you first

asked me, I thought you were talking about energy things.”

He added that even Public Protector Thuli Madonsela, “who goes

around saying ‘give me any file that has Julius’s name in it’ will never find a

thing”.

The community of Olifantsfontein, which has been battling

Eleftheriades and the odorous, toxic emissions from Thermopower for years, does

not know Malema is in business with the man they hold responsible for their

health problems.

Ironically, they approached the ANC youth leader to help them in

their battle against Eleftheriades.

“He has not replied yet,” said community leader Kgomotso

Modiselle.

The community is up in arms about the fumes that cause ­burning

eyes, sore throats and respiratory problems.

Reports show that the affected in a 1.5km radius include: 200

agricultural workers, 1 000 scholars, 1 000 ­households of between three and

five people, and 1 000 industrial workers.

Eleftheriades has applied for ­permission to extend his plant, a

move opposed by the community.

He also has plans to truck in hazardous waste from KwaZulu-Natal

after the decommissioning of the Guernica waste treatment plant in Durban.

The community want to stop this.

Residents are also wary of what they regard as an overfriendly

relationship between Thermopower and the local ANC.

City Press is in possession of a ­grovelling letter written to

Thermopower by ANC Andrew Mapheto Zone secretary Tshilidzi Munayi.

It reads: “With greatest humility, the Zonal Executive Committee of

the ­African National Congress appreciate with much gratitude indeed for your

company to avail its highest management to engage arising out of health-related

issues raised by our commu­nity members from public meetings ­beings held

Saturday, 7 of February 2009, Clayville Ext 27.”

 

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