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More tough questions for climate rogue Sasol at its AGM on Friday 

20 November 2020 at 9:39 am

September 24, 2016. Secunda. Coal mining and powers stations in Mpumalanga. Picture: JAMES OATWAY for CER
September 24, 2016. Secunda. Coal mining and powers stations in Mpumalanga. Picture: JAMES OATWAY for CER

On Friday, 20 November 2020, activists and lawyers from the Life After Coal campaign will participate in the virtual Annual General Meeting of Sasol Limited. They will be joining community and civil society organisations and activists from South Africa and Mozambique, all of whom have acquired shares in Sasol and therefore attend as shareholders, to ask pertinent questions of Sasol’s board and management.

The Life After Coal campaign consists of environmental justice groups groundWork and Earthlife Africa and law centre the Centre for Environmental Rights.

Sasol is South Africa’s second highest emitter of greenhouse gases, and its Synfuels plant in Secunda is reportedly the largest single-source point of emissions on the planet. Sasol is listed as one of the so-called Carbon Majors, the 100 companies estimated to be responsible for 71% of global greenhouse gas emissions.

Sasol’s mega-facilities in Sasolburg and Secunda have been causing significant pollution impacts affecting communities living in Secunda, Zamdela and surrounds for decades. A recent expert modelling report found that air pollution from Sasol’s Secunda Synfuels plant alone is responsible for at least 33 additional deaths per year. Accordingly, between 2020 and 2025, at least 160 people may die from illnesses attributed to Sasol’s air pollution in Secunda.

Sasol is preparing for fossil fuels expansion including LNG with more offshore and onshore prospecting in Mozambique covering over 8000km2 and the construction of pipelines linking the north to existing pipelines in the south.

Sasol must be accountable for its contribution to climate change, pollution and harm to people’s health.

Some of the questions that will be posed to Sasol at the AGM will touch on:

  • the extent to which Sasol’s heavily criticisedClimate Change Roadmap released in August 2020 reflects and took into account consultation with and the concerns of affected and fenceline communities;
  • findings by inspectors from the Department of Environmental Affairs that Sasol’s Secunda facility was in violation of environmental laws in April 2019 and again in February 2020, and enforcement action that has been initiated by the Department against Sasol in February 2020. These violations as reported by the Department in its annual National Environmental Compliance and Enforcement Report (2019-2020), most of which constitute criminal offences under environmental laws, include:
  • violations of the conditions of its environmental authorisations, waste management licences and air emissions licences;
  • air emissions from its incinerators exceeding the relaxed minimum emission standards – relaxations Sasol obtained by applying for postponement of its compliance from those standards)
  • groundwater pollution from waste management and other activities;
  • commencing and operating activities without the required environmental approvals;
  • failure to comply with duty of care in relation to waste management activities, and failure to comply with the Waste Classification and Management Regulations in relation to assessment, classification and proper disposal of waste.
  • why Sasol cannot immediately and urgently scale up renewable energy generation to power its facilities. Sasol has indicated that it will only install 600MW of renewable energy capacity, and will pursue fossil fuel gas capacity to advance its 2030 climate targets. Sasol has admitted that the development of its gas capacity involves massive capital expenditure, risks and delays, and fossil gas remains a massive contributor to climate change;
  • how Sasol proposes internalising the climate, environmental and social costs of its planned reliance on fossil gas production in Mozambique.

Sasol drastically needs to reduce its emissions, scale up its climate change strategies, and take responsibility for the additional 33 deaths per year and harm caused by its operations to surrounding communities.

How to participate: Guests will connect to the Online AGM through   https://www.web.lumiagm.com

The Online AGM ID is 142-952-100.

To login you must have your Username and password which you would have requested from sasol@linkmarketservices.co.za

 

END

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Section 24of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996

Everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and to have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution and ecological degradation; promote conservation; and secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development.

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