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Trustees of the Corneels Greyling Trust and Another v Minister of Water and Sanitation, Kangra Coal and Another

11 August 2023

The judgment of the High Court, Gauteng Division, Johannesburg can be found here.

  • Neutral citation: Trustees for the time being of the Corneels Greyling Trust and Another v Minister of Water and Sanitation and Others (2023 / 069111) [2023] ZAGPJHC 898 (11 August 2023)
  • Case number: 2023/069111
  • Coram: du Plessis AJ
  • Date delivered: 11 August 2023
  • Outcome:
    • Kangra Coal is interdicted from undertaking any water use in terms of section 12 of the National Water Act 36 of 1998 at the Balgarthen A Adit.
    • This interdict is to operate until either:
      • The First Respondent lifts the suspension of Kangra’s Water Use Licence; or
      • The Applicant’s appeal against Kangra’s Water Use Licence is dismissed by the Water Tribunal.

Summary

This is an application for an urgent interdict to prevent Kangra Coal from conducting mining activities pending the determination of a condonation application and appeal by the Water Tribunal for a water use licence (WUL) that was granted to Kangra.

The Applicants contend that Kangra’s mining activities pose a risk to the quantity and quality of the water that the Applicants rely on for farming. They lodged an appeal against the WUL. The lodging of an appeal against the WUL suspends the WUL pending the finalisation of the appeal. Since the appeal is not finalised, the Applicants argued that Kangra’s water use is unlawful.

Kangra argues that the appeal was lodged out of time, which means no valid appeal exists. They also raise the issue of legal standing.

At the hearing, the Applicant made two concessions narrowing the issues. Firstly, it accepted that the relief it asks for has a final effect and needs to meet a case for a final interdict. Secondly, it acknowledges that condonation for late filing of an appeal does not suspend the working of the WUL.

The court therefore had three issues to decide:

  • urgency,
  • locus standi; and
  • whether the Applicants proved the requirements for an interdict.