Using wolves to guard sheep

25th February 2022

By: Terry Mackenzie-hoy


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We have seen some interesting developments in the past year. Actually, that’s not true at all; we’ve seen some horrifying developments. I think every South African acknowledges that we live in a beautiful country and that it’s a good idea to keep it that way.

A careful road has to be followed – unless you live in cuckooland, you will understand that we need mines and power stations and stuff. Right now in South Africa, there is a need for a large power station/s which can supply peak power for short periods. This is the Risk Mitigation Independent Power Producer Procurement Programme (RMIPPPP). It has been delayed from the start. These power producers generally use diesel or gas turbine generators and can be started and run up to full load in less than an hour. The way this country works is that anybody who gets approval to build and own these will make a fortune and has to be seriously politically connected to smooth the way for all the government approvals. In the last year, into this pool swam the powerships.

From The Argus: “Karpowership was selected as one of the preferred bidders under the RMIPPPP, which is aimed at alleviating South Africa’s near-term electricity supply crisis by fast-tracking 2 GW of new capacity. The Turkish firm was appointed to provide 1.22 GW . . . over 20 years using gas-fired powerships berthed at Coega, as well as Richards Bay, in KwaZulu-Natal, and Saldanha Bay, in the Western Cape.

“Karpowership lodged an appeal on July 13 against the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment’s (DFFE’s) rejection of its application for environmental permission. The DFFE had a maximum of 50 days to make a final decision on the appeal if no external expert was appointed to review the matter. That 50-day period ended on November 5.

“But the DFFE has told The Argus that it was in the process of appointing an independent expert to assist Minister Barbara Creecy in making a decision. As soon as the appointment process is finalised, the expert will have ten days to consider the appeal and make recommendations in respect thereof.”

In short, the DFFE is still considering granting approval for these three ships to generate power and noise in marine environments. It’s now some time since November 5 and nothing has happened. But the moving finger writes: We suddenly hear, at the beginning of November 2021, that Shell wants to use marine air guns to explore for hydrocarbons off the Transkei Wild Coast. The Wild Coast. So, we all get together and pass the hat and burn the midnight oil and get this plan stopped without any assistance from the DFFE, which seems to conclude that the Shell environmental management plan, which states that marine life will suffer injury or mortality, is okay and not subject to its approval. And then still further, the seismic exploration ship, The M/V BGP Pioneer, suddenly puts to sea and starts seismic surveys, again without any DFFE response. So, we all get together and pass the hat and burn the midnight oil and get this plan stopped.

What does the DFFE do? It proposes amendments to the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA), which mean that it will be much more difficult to appeal environmental-impact assessments under the Act. You won’t be free to make your own submissions to environmental decision-making processes, such as NEMA appeals. Henceforth, generally, you will have to employ a registered environmental assessment professional (EAP).The requirement to appoint an EAP makes the processes more complex, expensive, and nullifies public participation. Those who cannot afford a registered EAP will be effectively excluded from these public participation processes.

It reminds me of Eskom and all the dodgy stuff. What is the problem with Creecy? She wants to make sure we stuff up the environment good and proper. What a shame she can’t choose the high road but has to grub-sniff around with the corrupt and greedy. What a darn shame.

Edited by Martin Zhuwakinyu
Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor




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