How Karpowership was Torpedoed by Substandard Environmental Studies


  • Karpowership deal was torpedoed by the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) – and, unintentionally, by its own environmental consultants.
  • The Turkish-led Karpowership SA consortium was named preferred bidder in March to supply the lion’s share of 2,000MW in capacity that the government is procuring to reduce load shedding. 
  • But it first needed to secure environmental permits to moor its powerships in three ports: Coega, Saldanha and Richards Bay.

But on Thursday, the DFFE announced that it had refused to grant Karpowership that authorisation.

“The Competent Authority in the Department has decided, after due consideration of all relevant information presented as part of the environmental impact assessment process for all three applications in question, to refuse the applications for the environmental authorisations,” spokesperson Albi Modise said in a guarded statement.

The reasons included: “The minimum requirements, specifically with regard to public participation, were not met. The purpose of public participation is not only to promote informed decision making, but also to promote the legitimacy and acceptance of an outcome or decision and to promote participatory democracy.

The record of refusal, signed on Wednesday by Chief Director Sabelo Malaza, shows that the DFFE felt that Karpowership’s environmental consultant, Triplo4 Sustainable Solutions, failed to conduct a proper public participation process or heed experts who said additional studies were needed to quantify the potentially destructive impact the powerships could have on birds, fish and fishing communities.

Read more of this exclusive story from the amaBhungane Centre for Investigative Journalism HERE


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