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Earthlife Africa Johannesburg v Minister of Environmental Affairs and others

8 March 2017

High Court of the Republic of South Africa, Gauteng Division, Pretoria

Case no. 65662/16

Date: 8 March 2017

Judge: Murphy J

Judicial review application against the decision by the Chief Director of the Department of Environmental Affairs (Chief Director) to grant environmental authorisation for the proposed Thabametsi coal-fired power station in terms of the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 and the decision of the Minister of Environmental Affairs to dismiss the appeal of Earthlife Afirca Johannesburg (Earthlife) against the Chief Director’s decision.

In Earthlife’s appeal, it was argued that the Chief Director’s decision was not lawful because no climate change impact assessment was conducted as part of the environmental impact assessment report submitted by Thabametsi Power Company (Pty) Ltd to the Chief Director for consideration. The Minister upheld the decision of the Chief Director to grant environmental authorisation for the proposed Thabametsi coal-fired power station on the condition that a climate change impact assessment is conducted.

The Court set aside the Minister’s decision to dismiss Earthlife’s appeal and remitted Earthlife’s appeal back to the Minister for reconsideration.

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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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