South Africa: Green Scorpions Close in as Karpowership SA Fights to Rescue R225bn Deal



  • South Africa: the Turkish-led consortium has filed an appeal against the rejection of its powership emergency energy solution on environmental grounds.
  • Meanwhile, the Green Scorpions recommend criminal charges arising from Karpowership’s earlier attempt to bypass environmental regulations.

Karpowership SA is not going down without a fight: on Tuesday it filed an eleventh-hour appeal against the government’s decision to reject its ship-borne power plants on environmental grounds.

But its R225-billion deal faces fresh icebergs ahead.

The Green Scorpions, the law enforcement unit tasked with investigating environmental crimes, believes that agents of the company should face criminal charges for intentionally misleading the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE).

Related news: Karpowership mess puts Risk Mitigation IPP Procurement Programme in disarray 

“The docket was referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions (‘DPP’) North Gauteng on the 15th of June 2021. The DPP is in the process of reviewing the docket, and the investigating officer has been requested to provide additional clarity on certain aspects of the investigation,” spokesperson Albi Modise confirmed in a written statement.

The criminal charges relate to Karpowership’s earlier attempt to bypass the lengthy and costly environmental studies required by the National Environmental Management Act (Nema). Read more 

Companies can apply for an exemption under Section 30a of Nema if there is an emergency where quick action can save lives and prevent further environmental damage.

Related news: Pressure on banks to abandon Karpowership SA bid

In June 2020 Karpowership used this clause to get its wide-reaching exemption for its powerships by claiming that they would deliver emergency power to assist with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Related news: Karpowership SA bid riddled with allegations of corruption

The Section 30a permits were withdrawn after the DFFE concluded that “there was in fact no emergency situation”.

In terms of the legislation, it is an offence for anyone to “wilfully, knowingly or negligently, provide incorrect or misleading information” to the department in an attempt to secure an exemption. Anyone found guilty faces a fine of up to R10-million and/or imprisonment of up to 10 years.

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


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