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Uzani Environmental Advocacy CC v BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd

1 April 2019

High Court: Gauteng Division, Pretoria

Case No. CC 82/2017

Date: 25 March and 1 April 2019

Judge: Spilg J

Download the main judgment

In this matter, BP Southern Africa (Pty) Ltd (BP) was found guilty of offences in terms of the Environment Conservation Act, 1989 (ECA) and the National Environmental Management Act, 1998 (NEMA). The Court found that BP commenced listed activities related to the construction and management of filling stations without environmental authorisation in terms of those Acts.

This is the first successful private prosecution under section 33 of NEMA.

Subsequent judgment on NEMA s 34(3) enquiry

See also the judgment from 14 May 2020 in the same matter regarding Uzani’s application for an order to hold a post-conviction enquiry under section 34(3) of the National Environmental Management Act 107 of 1998 into the monetary value of the advantage which BP might have gained in consequence of the offences it committed.

Judge Spilg ordered that an enquiry in terms of s 34(3) of NEMA was to be held which would determine whether the environment had been degraded as a result of BP’s unlawfully constructed filling stations. The court also ordered that this enquiry would examine whether environmental authorisation would have been given if  BP had applied under the Environmental Conservation Act at the time of  development.


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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.