A judge is set to rule after the ever case filed against the government over its alleged failure to crack down on air pollution emitted by power plants operated by Eskom and refineries owned by Sasol.
The case was filed in the Pretoria High Court by groundwork, an environmental-rights organisation, and the Vukani Environmental Justice Movement in Action in 2019 and Judge Colleen Collis heard it this week.
Respondents in this case include President Cyril Ramaphosa, Environment Minister Barbara Creecy and provincial officials.
The Highveld Priority Area, including much of the Mpumalanga province and part of Gauteng, is the site of 12 coal-fired Eskom power plants, a Sasol oil refinery and coal-to-fuel plant owned by the company. A Greenpeace study for the third quarter of 2018 showed that Mpumalanga had the worst nitrogen dioxide emissions from power plants of any area in the world.
“This is in an effort to hold the government accountable to what they said they would do in terms of air pollution,” said Rico Euripidou, an environmental campaigner for groundwork at a virtual press briefing Wednesday following the case.
The case alleges that the government has breached citizen’s constitutional right to clean air.
In response to court paper, Creecy said she is taking action to curb pollution from Sasol and Eskom, but environmental concerns must be balanced with the country’s developmental needs.