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Centre for Environmental Rights – Advancing Environmental Rights in South Africa

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Pollution & Climate Change

The proposed Khanyisa IPP: groundWork v Department of Environmental Affairs and ACWA Power Khanyisa Thermal Power Station (RF) (Pty) Ltd

In this matter, groundWork is challenging a decision by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) grant environmental authorisation for ACWA Power Khanyisa Thermal Power Station RF (Pty) Ltd (ACWA)’s proposed coal-fired power station in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (NEMA). An application has been launched in the High Court by the Centre for Environmental Rights, on behalf of groundWork, for an order setting aside the DEA’s decision.

groundWork applied to the Minister of Environmental Affairs (Minister) for condonation for the late lodging of an appeal against the DEA’s decision in terms of the NEMA, but the Minister refused to grant groundWork condonation. An application has therefore been launched out of the High Court for an order reviewing and setting aside the decision the DEA. The DEA’s decision is challenged on the basis that it did not take into account the climate change impacts of ACWA’s proposed coal-fired power station.

Internal Appeal:  Environmental Authorisation

High Court Review Proceedings: Environmental Authorisation

Internal Appeal: Provisional Atmospheric Emission Licence Transfer

In October 2017, the Nkangala District Municipality approved the transfer of the provisional atmospheric emission licence for the proposed Khanyisa coal-fired power station from Anglo Operations (Pty) Ltd to ACWA Power Khanyisa Thermal Power Station RF (Pty) Ltd. The Centre for Environmental rights, on behalf of groundWork lodged an appeal against that decision.

Preliminary Hearing on the Locus Standi and Jurisdiction

Internal Appeal: Water Use Licence

CER, on behalf of groundWork, appealed in the Water Tribunal against the Water Use Licence granted to ACWA.

On 21 July 2020 the Water Tribunal upheld groundWork’s appeal to set aside the Water Use Licence, due to lack of adequate public participation. The Water Tribunal directed ACWA to re-advertise the application and conduct the public participation by 21 September 2020.

The Tribunal also confirmed that climate change is a relevant factor to be considered in the Water Use Licence application in terms of section 27 of the National Water Act. The decision of the Water Tribunal is available here.

Request to Minister to uplift the suspension of ACWA’s Water Use Licence and Minister’s Decision

Combined Application to Review the Minister’s Decision to Uplift the Suspension of ACWA’s Water Use Licence and Application for an Interim Interdict

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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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Contact the National Environmental Crimes & Incidents Hotline (24 hours) or one of the national and provincial hotlines.