Department of Environmental Affairs secures an important conviction in the matter between the State vs Samancor Chrome Limited
13 November 2014
The Green Scorpions of the National Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) secured an important conviction in the Lydenburg Magistrates Court recently in the matter between the State vs Samancor Chrome Limited.
The conviction follows a plea agreement that was entered into between the State and Samancor Chrome Limited.
The conviction related to the operation of a disposal site and disposing of waste without the requisite waste authorisations. This conviction brings to an end a long standing investigation which commenced in 2007 regarding the unlawful hazardous waste activities that were being conducted at Samancor Tubatse in Steelpoort.
In the judgment, the court ordered Samancor Chrome Limited to pay R 200 000.00 (two hundred thousand rand), which is the maximum penalty that can be imposed for an offence in terms of the Environment Conservation Act. Furthermore, R 700 000 (seven hundred thousand rand) is to be paid to the Department of Environmental Affairs by 23 November 2014 to facilitate environmental initiatives at the Steelpoort Primary School; which was one of the proponents impacted by the unlawful activities.
A further R 1 million (one million rand) is to be paid to the Department of Environmental Affairs for the purposes of proper execution of their duties, environmental rehabilitation and enforcement training. The court further ordered that an amount of R 100 000 (one hundred thousand rand) must be paid into the account of the Department of Environmental Affairs for the costs that were incurred by the public prosecutor which in turn must be paid to the National Director of Public Prosecutions.
Although Samancor Chrome Limited is in the process of addressing the impact that was caused by the unlawful hazardous waste activities, the court recognised the importance of imposing a harsh sentence irrespective thereof. The outcome of this matter emphasises the responsibility of large corporates in terms of complying with environmental law.
Spokesperson for the Department of Environmental Affairs, Albi Modise said that this judgement demonstrates to the community that such contraventions will be detected and prosecuted. “It is hoped that this judgement sends out a strong warning to companies that compliance with environmental legislation is not negotiable.”
To access the judgment click on the link below:
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