Another Legal Challenge Looming Regarding Karpowerships in Saldanha Bay?
The Green Connection and Natural Justice are challenging the decision of Minister of the Forestry,
Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), Barbara Creecy, to allow Karpowership to submit a Generic
Environmental Management Programme (GEMPr) for Saldanha Bay. The organisations argue, in a
letter to the DFFE, that the decision is unlawful.
The DFFE has admitted that the views of these non-governmental organisations were not heard by
the Minister. The DFFE overturned a decision of the Chief Director: Integrated Environmental
Authorisations to deny Karpowership SA’s request to submit a GEMPr for Saldanha Bay, well past the
The eco-justice organisations say that the Minister’s decision was unlawful because she did not
consider nor address their arguments against Karpowerships’ appeal of the Chief Director’s decision.
The DFFE has confirmed that the Minister never received their responding statement to
Karpowerships’ appeal document, due to an administrative error. They believe that if their statement
was before the Minister, it would materially have affected her appeal decision.
The Green Connection’s Community Outreach Coordinator Neville van Rooy says, “As South Africans,
we have a right to raise our concerns, which must be considered by the deciding authority. The
Minister did not have the Green Connection and Natural Justice’s submissions before her when she
made her decision. We believe that Minister Creecy’s decision to now allow for the late submission
of Karpowerships’ Generic Environmental Management Programme report (GEMPr) is incorrect,
since she did not consider all the information that should have been available to her. So, in the spirit
of fairness, and because of the Department’s admitted error, we believe that the Minister must
approach the courts herself, to get her decision overturned.
“The Karpowership matters have tested the right to administrative justice, as it stands in the
Constitution. We believe there are real concerns about how Karpowership has conducted the
Environmental Impact Assessment process in South Africa and will continue to raise these concerns
so that the public is aware of them. We call for the DFFE to consider our letter,” says Melissa
Groenink-Groves, Programme Manager at Natural Justice.
The organisations say that, if the Minister does not approach the courts to review her own decision,
they will be forced to do so themselves.