The Green Connection Red Flag’s Karpowerships’ Non-Compliance Of EIA Regulations
The recent regulation 13 complaint against environmental consultants Triplo4 – submitted by The Green Connection (on 6 March) to the Department of Forestry, Fisheries, and Environment (DFFE) – exposes a failure to ensure compliance with the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Regulations regarding the Proposed Gas to Power Powership Project at the Port of Saldanha Bay.
This new red flag in the controversial Karpowerships deal specifically calls out the consultants for using information from aquaculture and commercial fisheries participants in a meeting called to engage small-scale fishers, as if it was valid information from the small-scale fisheries sector.
According to The Green Connection’s Community Outreach Coordinator Neville van Rooy, “Those people who signed the attendance register were not small-scale fishers, as defined by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act of 2014 and Regulations on SSF of 2016. They, therefore, were not in a position to provide accurate information to the consultants on small-scale fisheries and fisher livelihoods.”
He says, “The code of conduct for EAPs require environmental consultants to be objective and to provide information to the authorities, even if it is not in favour of Karpowerships. They are also required to do meaningful consultations with small-scale fishers. This means that they must make the time and effort to understand who these might be and how best to involve them. The consultants should definitely not misrepresent who attended the public sessions. It goes against the spirit of the exercise.”
The Green Connection’s complaint reveals that a particular meeting was labelled as involving affected local small-scale fishers, when it appears that there were no real small-scale fishers in attendance. Small-scale fishers and The Green Connection agree that this casts further doubt over the legitimacy of the process.
Small-scale fisher from Saldanha Bay, Carmelita Mostert, says, “Those people are not small-scale fishers but people who are trying to get into fishing. Our focus is the real small-scale fishers who are suffering, who make a living out of the sea and have no other source of income. Because we have no formal training, they think we don’t know what is going on. We, the real small-scale fishers, have no knowledge of that meeting. In the meetings we have attended, we made it very clear that we were against Karpowerships. These people need to learn to respect us and our culture.”
The DFFE has responded to The Green Connection’s complaint by suspending the EIA process while the complaint is investigated.
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