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Industrial facilities fail to use opportunities to come into compliance

5 November 2011 at 4:01 am

The Environmental Management Inspectorate’s National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report for 2010-11 notes that time provided to industrial facilities to get their house in order has generally not achieved compliance, with many follow-up inspections of facilities identifying the need for further enforcement action.

The Inspectorate states that follow-up inspections were conducted primarily to evaluate whether levels of compliance had increased through action taken by facilities following the initial baseline assessments. “It should be noted that there is a gap of approximately two to three years between the initial inspection and the follow-up inspection, more than sufficient time for facilities to take meaningful steps towards achieving compliance. In general, however, it appears as if the approach adopted (i.e, providing the facilities a period of time to come into compliance) has not achieved the desired results. Many of the follow-up inspections have identified the need for enforcement action, particularly in relation to contraventions of the National Environmental Management: Waste Act. This action has taken the form of both administrative and criminal enforcement action, and in some cases, a combination of both.” (p.5)

Industrial facilities mentioned in the Report for the results of baseline and follow-up compliance inspections and/or planned or actual enforcement action since 2007 include:

  • Refineries: PetroSA Refinery, Chevron Refinery, Sasol Secunda Refinery, SAPREF Refinery, Engen Refinery
  • Ferro-alloy, iron and steel: Samancor Middelburg, Highveld Steel, Samancor Tubatse Ferrochrome, Xstrata Wonderkop, SCAW Metals, BHP Billiton Metalloys, Hernic Ferrochrome, Arcelor Mittal Vanderbijlpark, Arcelor Mittal Newcastle, Arcelor Mittal Vereeniging, Assmang Cato Ridge, ASA Metals, Columbus Stainless Steel, Assmang Machadodorp
  • Hazardous waste: Enviroserv Roodepoort, Pikitup Incinerator, Wasteman Bulbul, Enviroserv Aloes, Vissershok
  • Paper and pulp: Sappi Enstra, Sappi Ngodwana, Mondi Richards Bay
  • Power generation: Eskom Lethabo
  • Cement: Natal Portland Cement, Afrisam Ulco, Lafarge Lichtenburg, Pretoria Portland Cement, PPC New Brighton, PPC De Hoek, PPC Slurry Mafikeng

Non-compliant government entities fingered include Eskom and SANRAL.

Companies and sites mentioned for criminal investigations into violations of environmental legislation include Wasteman and Coal of Africa’s Vele colliery.

The Inspectorate’s full report can be downloaded from the Department of Environmental Affairs’ website.