Leave to appeal granted in SCA case against Eskom’s 3000MW Richard Bay gas power plant

  • Civil society organisations, the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) and groundWork, have been granted leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Appeal, in respect of their challenge to the decision to authorise a 3000MW gas-to-power plant to be built in Richards Bay by state-owned enterprise, Eskom. 

In the appeal, the organisations will argue as to why the Pretoria High Court erred in the judgment handed down on the 6 October 2022, in which it dismissed the review application brought by the organisations against the environmental authorisation of the power plant, which was obtained in December 2019.

The court challenge is being supported by Natural Justice, represented by environmental law firm, Cullinan & Associates.

The organisations first sought leave to appeal from the Pretoria High Court. The arguments were heard on 17 January 2023 and the judgment handed down the very next day, 18 January 2023, which dismissed the leave to appeal. The organisations then petitioned the SCA directly.

In granting the leave to appeal application, the court also overturned the costs order given by the High Court in respect of their application for leave to appeal.

“This is an important ruling as it sends a strong message that flawed public participation processes that exclude impacted communities should not be overlooked. It is unjust and unfair practice that violates people’s right as public trustees to the environment and their role in maintaining a healthy and vibrant democracy. People have the right to be notified and informed early, adequately and in their language of preference. They have the right to choose cleaner technologies that will benefit future generations, and not negatively impact their lives and livelihoods. Equally important is the acknowledgement that climate change impacts have no borders, and that increases in methane emissions from Eskom’s proposed gas plant and fugitive emissions along its supply chain will be far more detrimental than coal.” – Avena Jacklin (groundWork)

Author: Bryan Groenendaal

Source: groundWork 

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