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Environmental Law


Environmental



Most recent Environmental Law Articles posted

Eskom backed off R2.1bn fine to help Guptas

After driving Optimum Coal into business rescue last year, thereby endangering almost 2 000 jobs at the mine, Eskom suddenly reached a settlement that gave the Gupta family a 75% discount on the R2.1bn fine it had levied on the company at the time it was owned by global commodities trader Glencore. Business Day says in March this year, Eskom agreed to accept a R500m settlement for the non-performance penalties it had levied on Glencore.


Appeal against farmers fixing roads allowed

The Eastern Cape High Court (Grahamstown) has granted the Eastern Cape Roads and Public Works Department leave to appeal a far-reaching judgment allowing farmers to fix their own damaged dirt roads and then bill the government, says a Daily Dispatch report. In March the court ordered the department to immediately begin implementing plans to repair and maintain its extensive and largely dysfunctional rural road network.


State again nailed over irrational use of public power

In declaring the nuclear procurement processes to be unlawful, the Western Cape High Court fired yet another warning to government about the irrational use of public power, notes Legalbrief. What the government argued was a decision based on ‘executive policy’, Judge Lee Bosalek, with Judge Elizabeth Baartman concurring, ruled was in fact ‘irrational and unreasonable’ because it ignored the public interest by skirting the requirement for a ‘rational and fair decision-making process’.


Community wins Tokai tree-felling case

The Western Cape High Court has ordered that a full public participation process will have to take place to determine whether tree felling at Tokai Forest will resume, says a Cape Argus report. Judge Patrick Gamble’s ruling follows the battles between community-based organisation Parkscape against SA National Parks (SanParks) and Mountain To Ocean (MTO). Parkscape has been lobbying for trees and shade in the area.


First shots fired in nuke 'state capture' case

The legal challenge mounted by two environmental NGOs to the nuclear deal with Russia – estimated to cost R1trn – which is under way in the Western Cape High Court, has been termed one of the most significant state capture court cases SA has yet seen, according to a Daily Maverick report. The two NGOs, Earthlife Africa and the Southern African Faith Communities’ Environment Institute, are squaring up against Energy Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson’s pursuit of 9 600 megawatts of nuclear power.


Government probes ‘suspicious’ abalone contract

The government is investigating a ‘suspicious’ emergency contract to process and market the state’s stockpile of confiscated abalone – about 90 tons worth R60m – awarded to a previously unheard-of company, says a Sunday Times report. Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Senzeni Zokwana reportedly told the newspaper he had suspended the contract after allegations of tender irregularities in the appointment last month of Johannesburg-based Willjarro.


Tokai forest tree felling judgment next year

There will be no felling of pine trees in lower Tokai until at least the first quarter of next year after judgment was held over in the Western Cape High Court, notes a Cape Argus report. Judge Pat Gamble, who heard the case brought by Parkscape against forestry company Mountains to Oceans (MTO) and SA National Parks (SANParks), claiming they had contravened the Tokai Cecilia Management Framework, said judgment would only be expected next year as he had other matters to attend to.


Water charge battle sent back to High Court

A majority ruling of the Constitutional Court yesterday said the Merafong Local Municipality in Gauteng should have approached the courts to challenge a decision by then Minister of Water Affairs Buyelwa Sonjica forbidding it to levy a surcharge on water supplied to mines under its jurisdiction. Merafong municipality had approached the Constitutional Court to be allowed to levy a surcharge on water used by mines under its jurisdiction, says a TimesLIVE report.


Temporary reprieve for Tokai Forest pine trees

The felling of pine trees in Tokai Forest has been halted, thanks to an order granted in the Western Cape High Court, says a Weekend Argus report. The interim interdict, signed off by Judge Lee Bozalek, was granted after urban parks safety association Parkscape, MTO Forestry and SANParks agreed to suspend the felling process until court proceedings next month.


Two separate abalone syndicate cases heard

The case involving an alleged abalone syndicate resumed in the Port Elizabeth Magistrate's Court last week. A report in The Citizen notes that Port Elizabeth businessman Morne Blignault, who is believed to be the kingpin behind the multimillion-rand operation, appeared briefly in court alongside six co-accused, two of whom are Chinese nationals, Huang Zhenyong and Kekun Pan. Blignault’s ex-wife Marshelle, who is also implicated in the case, has been released on bail of R20 000.


Ground-breaking ruling on protection of parks

A nature conservation authority’s right to police ‘buffer zones’ around parks was confirmed in a ground-breaking decision last week, says a Sunday Tribune report. The iSimangaliso Wetland Park Authority objected to a developer building holiday homes on a buffer zone on the banks of Mgoboseleni Lake because it did not have necessary permission for building in that area.


Mining class action highlights need for law reform

The scope and magnitude of the proposed class actions envisaged in Nkala v Harmony Gold is unprecedented in SA; it will traverse novel and complex issues of fact and law, and help the development of class action law. This is the view of Werksmans Attorneys’ Monique Pansegrouw, in an analysis in Business Day, in which she examines the Gauteng High Court (Johannesburg) judgment handed down in May in Nkala and Others v Harmony Gold Mining Company Limited and Others.


Court sets aside Eskom tariff hike

Electricity tariffs are in limbo after Gauteng High Court (Pretoria) Judge Cynthia Pretorius yesterday set aside a decision by the National Energy Regulator of SA (Nersa) to grant Eskom an effective 9.4% increase for 2016 on the grounds that neither Eskom nor Nersa had complied with the prescribed methodology for interim tariff increases, notes Legalbrief.





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