- The Watson family are behind the controversial Inyanda-Roodeplaat Wind Energy Project in the Eastern Cape.
- It has been revealed in Zondo Commission on State Capture that they have a corrupt relationship with controversial Environmental Affairs Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane.
- The family want to build the controversial wind farm in the Eastern Cape and the Minister on whose decision their plans depend is none other than Nomvula Mokonyane.
Members of the controversial Watson family have emerged as owners of Inyanda-Roodeplaat Wind Energy Project in the Eastern Cape. The family has links to equally controversial Environmental Affairs Minister, Nomvula Mokonyane who has been exposed as corrupt during explosive testimony given at the Zondo Commission on State Capture Angelo Agrizzi, a former employee of the Watsons, recently.
The family want to build the controversial wind farm in the Eastern Cape and the Minister on whose decision their plans depend is none other than Nomvula Mokonyane according to a report in news site Ground Up
Mokonyane has a history of a direct relationship with the eldest of the four brothers, Gavin Watson, and also, at the very least, a tangential relationship with the “wind farm branch” of the family: two of the younger brothers, Ronald (Ronnie) and Valence, and Valence’s son Jared.
The Inyanda-Roodeplaat Wind Energy Facility is a wind farm project that they want to build on the top of a mountain in an area of critical biodiversity and environmental sensitivity some 50km north-west of Port Elizabeth.
The 187.2 MW project is being developed by Inyanda Energy Projects (Pty) Ltd, a company established in July 2012. Three of its four active directors are Ronnie, Valence and Jared Watson. (The fourth director is Tandy Ronell Snead.) The properties where Inyanda wants to construct the wind farm are owned by Laidback Investments (Pty) Ltd and O’Feh Investments (Pty) Ltd, both companies represented by director Ronnie Watson.
The plan is for 47 turbines, each 85m high and with 130m diameter blades, on top of the Groot Winterhoek mountain ridge at an altitude of about 1,000m. It would be situated on 21 parcels of land totalling some 12,200ha, between three portions of Groendal Nature Reserve.
Groendal is a provincial nature reserve, and the surrounding Groendal Wilderness Area is protected under the National Forestry Act.
The project proposal drew strong objections from, among others, the Eastern Cape Parks & Tourism Agency, the Eastern Cape’s Department of Economic Development, Environment & Tourism, BirdLife South Africa, Wilderness Foundation Africa, and the Elands River Conservancy.
But the wind farm received the environmental go-ahead from the national Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) in April last year. This decision is now under appeal.
Author: Bryan Groenendaal