The Pretoria High Court will, on Wednesday, hear an application brought by environmental organisations, groundWork and Earthlife Africa, for the handover of various documents relating to the judicial review of the environmental authorisations granted to two coal-fired power station preferred bidders.
The power stations – Tabametsi and Khanyisa – are part of the Coal Baseload Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme.
The two independent power producer projects are included in the draft Integrated Resource Plan for Electricity and have been highly contested by civil society and others, including power utility Eskom, on the basis of the high cost to implement them, as well as the higher electricity cost to consumers and their impact on human health and wellbeing and the environment, specifically on water resources and the climate.
The application is one of many multifaceted legal challenges aimed at halting the projects.
Environmental campaign Life After Coal said in a statement on Tuesday that there are also indications that the financing for these projects is on thin ice, with Nedbank – for both power stations – recently pulling its funding and First Rand allegedly withdrawing its commitment to fund Thabametsi.
Standard Bank also reportedly withdrew from funding the projects, stated Life After Coal.
Life After Coal is a joint campaign between groundWork, Earthlife Africa and the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER). groundWork and Earthlife Africa are also represented by the CER.
The statement further said the High Court is likely to order the government respondents to dispatch the outstanding records within five days and to pay the costs of the application.
The application by groundWork and Earthlife Africa is unopposed by government.
“Once the outstanding records have been received, or confirmation received that the records do not exist, then the main review proceedings can continue and the applicants will have an opportunity to supplement their founding affidavits”.