National water tribunal upholds Yzermyn water use license

By | 2019-06-05T12:31:16+00:00 June 3rd, 2019|News|

The National Water Tribunal has dismissed an appeal in terms of The National Water Act brought by the Centre for Environmental Rights (CER).

The appeal by the CER was on behalf of the Endangered Wildlife Trust (EWT) and others, against the director general of the Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) and Atha-Africa Ventures (AAV).

In a 147-page judgment, the National Water Tribunal dismissed all the grounds of appeal set forward by the Appellants’ in their request to set aside the director general’s decision to grant the Water Use License and instead made a ruling that upholds the decision to grant the Water Use License to the Yzermyn Coal Mine being developed by Atha-Africa Ventures. The appeal was heard by the tribunal on four separate sittings totalling nine days over a nine-month period.

Senior vice-president of Atha-Africa Ventures, Praveer Tripathi, comments, “AAV welcomes the decision of the National Water Tribunal. It had always been AAV’s case that the vexatious, opportunistic, anti-development and anti-transformation appeal lodged by the CER and their partners, against a valid Water License issued to AAV in 2016, was just another attempt by the CER to misuse and abuse the legal processes, safe in the constitutional protection afforded to them with regards to adverse cost orders.

“In my opinion, the CER has embarked on a five-year long frivolous, misleading and distorted media campaign regarding the alleged irreparable threat that the proposed mine would have on the water resources of South Africa. This decision by the tribunal, taking into account the various detailed scientific and technical evidence provided by internationally recognized water and environmental specialists, whose evidence dispelled the mediocre evidence presented by the appellants, has yet again confirmed AAV’s contention that the impact of the Yzermyn Coal Mine on the water resources is minimal to non-existent,” adds Tripathi.

Thabiso Nene from the The Voice Community Representative Council (The Voice), an NPO which works with the local community initiatives of Dr Pixley Ka Isaka Seme Local Municipality, while welcoming the decision by the National Water Tribunal, adds, “We, the community of Pixley Seme are direct beneficiaries of the development of this coal mine in terms of jobs and SMME’s development.

“We have always maintained that the main aim of the vexatious litigations against the mine by mainly Cape Town-based civil society organisations, is to subvert the national economy under foreign influence or agenda. This subversion of South African economic interests is unacceptable and unforgivable,” Nene adds.