UPL to make a written submission to the SAHRC on allegations it failed to comply with environmental regulations

Reading Time: 2 minutes

The United Phosphorus South Africa Limited (UPL) says it will make a written submission to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) following testimony that the company allegedly failed to comply with environmental regulations.

This after hazardous chemicals polluted the air and waterways when the warehouse was set alight during the July unrest.

The commission has heard testimony that communities, crops and the environment were affected.

The commission has also heard that people living nearby were never warned about the dangers of the spill, which is said to have had health implications.

UPL Spokesperson Japhet Ncube says some of this testimony is false, misleading and inaccurate.

“UPL was explicably not invited to provide evidence and therefore was never given an opportunity to challenge some of the testimony from some of the role players…most importantly, UPL has sort expert opinion in terms of its compliance with the relevant legislation and we will be responding in an appropriate forum. We want to express that no level of compliance would have prevented the spill that resulted from the unprecedented violence and the breakdown from the rule of law and order in the area.”

Health complications

Last week, the commission heard testimony from a community leader of the Blackburn Village informal settlement who said that community members are still struggling with health problems after the UPL warehouse was set alight.

Kwanele Msizazwe says nearby communities were affected by the air pollution when the large variety of toxic chemicals in the warehouse went up in flames.

Msizazwe says they have not received any medical help from the government or UPL.

Meanwhile, Rajen Naidoo from the Cornubia Fire Civil Society Action Groups says UPL failed to follow provincial and national environmental regulations when it built its warehouse in Cornubia near Umhlanga.

The report below outlines damning findings against UPL: