Civil society organisations are supporting calls by Parliament for public hearings into the decision by the Department of Mineral Resources and Energy (DMRE) to include projects by Karpowership among the preferred bidders for the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producers Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP).
Environmental justice organisation the Green Connection says it has been very vocal, adding its voice to the public outcry, amid concerns about the choice of emergency power, which will see South Africa tied to fossil fuels for another 20 years.
The DMRE has proposed gas-to-power powership projects at the Port of Ngqura, in the Eastern Cape; in Saldanha Bay, in the Western Cape; and in Richards Bay, in KwaZulu-Natal.
Green Connection strategic lead Liz McDaid says it is against the choice of including Karpowership among the preferred bidders owing to the potential impact of these projects on the environment and socioeconomic conditions.
“Furthermore, its application processes have not involved input by the people of South Africa, particularly disadvantaged communities who will be most affected in the event of an environmental disaster,” she adds.
Several other organisations and institutions have echoed the Green Connections’ concerns.
McDaid says that, along with nongovernmental organisations and affected community partners, Parliament has been requested to hold public hearings into government’s choice of Karpowership and other nonrenewable energy sources.
“We do not believe that Parliament can be fully informed if it only receives a briefing from the DMRE.
"The portfolio committee, as the people’s representatives, must hear from the people who will have to live with these floating kettles. We therefore call on the committee to take into account the people’s views in their oversight role of holding the executive accountable,” she states.