Green report: Eskom the main culprit

2012-11-22 16:48

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Cape Town - Power supplier Eskom is breaking more environmental laws than any other state corporation, according to the latest National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report.

Released by Environment Minister Edna Molewa on Thursday, it also reveals that the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) cannot, under current legislation, prosecute the utility in this regard.

"Eskom remains the organ of state with the highest rate of non-compliance with environmental legislation," according to the report.

Later on Thursday, Eskom said it had yet to study the document, but it had "a range of programmes in place across the organisation to ensure we comply with environmental legislation".

Briefing the media in Cape Town on the release of the report, Environmental Management Inspectorate (EMI) acting chief director for enforcement, Frances Craigie, said her organisation - which is more popularly known as the Green Scorpions - was picking up "a lot of non-compliances" by Eskom.

Criminal investigation


"We have initiated some criminal investigations against them, but what the NPA said to us is that they cannot prosecute Eskom because... it's an organ of state, as defined in our National Environment Management Act (Nema)."

This was something the EMI was looking at, "and seeing whether that can be amended... next year".

According to the report, section 48 of the Nema in effect absolves so-called organs of state from criminal liability.

According to the report, the Green Scorpions found problems at the utility's Lethabo power station in the Free State, its Matimba power station in Limpopo, and the Camden power station in Mpumalanga.

In the case of the latter, where "criminal enforcement was initiated", the environmental non-compliance included, among other things, exceeding “the emission limits set" and "lack of monitoring and reporting greenhouse gas annually", as well as "significant non-compliances to conditions of authorisations".

Non-compliance


The 68-page report, which covers the period 1 April 2011, to 31 March this year, is the sixth issued since the inception of the EMI.

On the NPA's declining to prosecute in relation to the Camden power station, it indicated that the department of environmental affairs would now "pursue criminal proceedings against specific individuals" in their private capacities.

The report found that the number of so-called section 24G applications submitted by Eskom "are evident of continued non-compliance".

A section 24G application is one made by a company for "rectification of unlawful commencement or continuation not listed activities". It has been described as a legal loophole that allows companies to commence an activity without the necessary environmental authorisation, incurring only an administrative fine for doing so.

R2m in fines


The report found Eskom had paid in excess of R2m in section 24G fines (four cases) "in relation to commencing listed activities without the required authorisation".

In an e-mail sent to Sapa on Thursday, Eskom spokesperson Hilary Joffe said the department of environmental affairs had conducted inspections at Lethabo, Camden and Matimba power stations three years ago.

"The department conducted inspections on these three power stations in 2009, and we received pre-compliance notices on these from the department only this year [2012]."

Eskom had addressed "all the issues" identified by the department at Lethabo.

"At Camden, many of the issues identified in the pre-compliance notice have been addressed; others require longer term projects, some of which are already being implemented."

On Mathimba, the last of the three to receive a pre-compliance notice, she said Eskom had "addressed most of the issues" raised.

Craigie said criminal investigations had been started against two big companies operating in Gauteng: Arcelor Mittal, in Vanderbijlpark; and, BHP Billiton Metalloys, in Meyerton.

She said a policy of helping corporations identify environmental compliance problems and then granting them a period of time to become compliant, was not working.

"What we've found is that this period of time hasn't brought them into compliance, and they haven't met the commitments they made to us, therefore we have to move, with regard to a lot of these big companies, into both criminal and administrative enforcement," she said.

Investigation


Craigie said that in the criminal investigation started against BHP Billiton, "no subpoenas have been served, but the actual investigation is almost finalised".

She said both BHP Billiton and Arcelor Mittal had been "offered opportunity to come into compliance" since 2007.
According to the report, the problems at BHP Billiton's Meyerton site included "historical waste disposal sites which are unlined, still not rehabilitated and creating potential for groundwater pollution".

On Arcelor Mittal's Vanderbijlpark site, it found that a criminal investigation "has recently been initiated in respect of the non-compliances and ongoing incidents at the site".

Neither BHP Billiton nor Arcelor Mittal were available for comment.

- SAPA

Read more on:    eskom  |  pollution  |  energy  |  environment
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
23 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

Zuma: Pray for peaceful polls

President Jacob Zuma has asked members of the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God to pray for peaceful elections on 7 May.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Friday Grabouw - 11:32 AM
    Road name: N2 Eastbound
    DELAYS between Sir Lowrys Pass and Grabouw
  • Friday Cape Town - 10:14 AM
    Road name: M3 Inbound
    EVENT - left lane closed between Rhodes Avenue and UCT
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Tab P7500 10.1" Tablet With WiFi & 3G

Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 gives you a better experience for...

From R4999.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.