South Africa: Environment Minister Lays Criminal Charges Over Air Pollution at Eskom’s Kendal Power Station

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  • South Africa’s Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Barbara Creecy, has notified Eskom of the decision by the senior public prosecutor to pursue criminal prosecution in respect of air pollution by Eskom’s Kendal Power station.
  • The charges include supplying false and misleading information in reports prepared by management at Kendal power station to an Air Quality Officer, which is a criminal offence listed in Section 51(1)(g) of the Air Quality Act. 
  • The summons orders Eskom representatives to appear in the Witbank Regional Court on January 28, 2021.

In 28 April and 14 May 2020, NGOs presented Minister Creecy with new evidence that showed that emissions from Kendal power station alone were responsible for as many as 274 early deaths between November 2018 and October 2019. From April 2016 to March 2020, Eskom had more than 2800 exceedances of the particulate matter limits in its atmospheric emission licence.

The action also follows an internal investigation and report prepared by Eskom into air quality compliance and reporting, initiated by Eskom CEO Andre de Ruyter on May 17, 2020. The Eskom investigation report finds that “allegations made by media personalities are mainly proven true”, and that Eskom Generation management should take heed of the reality of Kendal’s poor emissions performance.

Come clean

“The department of environment, forestry and fisheries (DEFF) has yet to receive the full report on Eskom’s internal investigation and findings in respect of air quality compliance and reporting at Kendal power station. A thorough and detailed analysis of the full report is needed in order for the Department to understand the implications of its findings and how these may affect the action currently being taken against the power station”, commented Minister Creecy.

Related news: South Africa’s Energy Minister digs in on Kendal power station pollution

Author: Bryan Groenendaal


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