Karpowership contracts will be reduced from initial 20-year term: Ramokgopa

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A number of civil society organisations are challenging the decision to give Karpowership another opportunity to amend their Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) reports for Richards Bay.

The organisations lodged a joint appeal at the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment.

Karpowership has now been given another opportunity to present its Environmental Impact Assessment reports for authorisation.

Melissa Groenink Groves, an attorney at Natural Justice, says that proper procedures were not followed when this decision was made.

“We are challenging Karpowership not only on the basis of dire environmental climate and economic risks to all South Africans but to also uphold the rule of law and the integrity of the environmental impact assessment processes which are required to identify all environmental, social and economic risks associated with the project. We believe that the manner in which Karpowership has been afforded yet another opportunity to amend its EIA report is procedurally unfair. It undermines and abuses the regulated EIA process. We have to safeguard these processes for the protection of impacted communities closest to the project.”

Meanwhile, the Electricity Minister, Dr Kgosientsho Ramokgopa says that the Karpowership contracts will be reduced from the initial 20-year term.

“On the issue of Karpowership, my definition of an emergency is, it can’t be more than five years. The current procure process is still undergoing, the issues of negotiations and issues around the approval to the extent that part of those negotiations can result in lowering and reducing that period to five years. I think that will welcome the developments because then we don’t have to rerun a new process, you are able to translate that process closing it quicker.”

VIDEO: Environmental groups up in Arms over Karpowership Approval: