The civil rights organisation AfriForum intensified its campaign against the planned coal mine close to the Kruger National Park on 14 August 2019, after more alleged violations by Singo Consulting (Pty) Ltd came to light.
AfriForum brought a criminal charge at the Komatipoort police station on 14 August 2019, after it transpired that Singo Consulting had allegedly committed fraud in the form of plagiarism in its environmental impact assessment. This follows after AfriForum was informed that the company’s report matches the environmental impact assessments of other environmental consultants word-for-word.
AfriForum only received the environmental impact assessment after the organisation’s legal team directed a letter to Singo Consulting and Manzolwandle Investments (Pty) Ltd – this despite the fact that AfriForum is registered as a interested party. The civil rights organisation also submitted comments on the environmental impact assessment – which was incomplete.
AfriForum’s legal team will also submit complaints to the relevant councils which Singo Consulting is registered and accredited with, because this company acted unethically and committed criminal offences.
Lambert de Klerk, Head of Environmental Affairs at AfriForum, says that it was brought to the organisation’s attention that the companies had allegedly committed fraud. “I believe that, with an in-depth investigation, more violations will come to light. Up to now, we have not been truly informed of events, while the processes being followed are insufficient. AfriForum requested an extension to submit their commentary, but the request fell on deaf ears.”
According to De Klerk, the organisation also investigated the registered addresses of the two companies. The one registered address indicated in the report, however, is an open field. “The question that should be asked – notwithstanding the irregularities that there are – is how a mining company can apply for a mining licence if you cannot even visit their offices.”
Manzolwandle Investments wants to start mining for coal over an area of 18 000 ha in close proximity to the Kruger National Park. This holds enormous disadvantageous and destructive consequences for the immediate environment, the Crocodile River and other water sources, nature reserves, wildlife, the road network in Mpumalanga and agricultural activities. De Klerk is of the opinion that as a tourist destination Mpumalanga can also collapse economically if illegal mining activities are continued.
De Klerk also pointed out in a previous statement that a recent ruling by the Court of Appeal against the Departments of Environmental Affairs and Mineral Resources’ approval of Atha Africa Ventures Pty Ltd’s continuation of a coal mine in the Mabola region in Mpumalanga. These departments approved the application quietly, while this area is a proclaimed conservation area. The court found that the ministers were not transparent and that the decision was taken hastily.
It would appear that there are an increasing number of such violations in Mpumalanga and AfriForum will not look on while these illegal mining activities destroy the country, says De Klerk.
You can help us by supporting our ‘Conserve Our Environment’ campaign and sign the petition here
Read the original article in Afrikaans on AfriForum
South Africa Today – South Africa News