DEA welcomes the supreme court of appeal decision in Gauteng Department of Agriculture & Rural Development & 4 Others vs Inter-Waste (Pty) Ltd & 2 Others
02 June 2019
The Department of Environmental Affairs has welcomed the decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal to uphold, with costs, the appeal by the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development against the findings of the High Court with respect to the validity of a Compliance Notice issued by an Environmental Management Inspector to Interwaste.
The Compliance Notice had been issued to essentially address the ongoing operations at the FG landfill site in light of the fact that their Waste Management Licence had lapsed, thereby rendering the ongoing disposal of waste unlawful. The Notice was issued by Environmental Management Inspectors from the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (“GDARD”) in 2016.
The decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal hopefully brings to an end lengthy litigation which essentially sought to challenge the validity of, inter alia, the Compliance Notice. The decision to issue this Compliance Notice had been confirmed by the Member of the Executive Council of the GDARD at the time.
The court’s decision confirms that Interwaste was operating the FG landfill site with a Waste Management Licence that had lapsed. However, Interwaste contested the Notice resulting in protracted legal proceedings.
As a result of complaints from community members living in close proximity to the FG Landfill site, the National Department of Environmental Affairs (“DEA”) also issued a Directive, after confirming the presence of malodours emanating from the landfill site by means of various tests. This portion of the authorities’ involvement in this matter was closely monitored by the community who had also approached the Public Protector to intervene.
This Directive was confirmed by acting Environmental Affairs, Minister Derek Hanekom on 3 November 2018, resulting in a cessation of the disposal of waste at the FG landfill site.
The Department of Environmental Affairs congratulates the Environmental Management Inspectors, also known as the Green Scorpions, both from the GDARD and DEA for their perseverance in a matter that was addressed under extremely difficult conditions.
The efforts of the Green Scorpions in this matter is a confirmation of the commitment of the national and provincial environmental authorities, who spent countless hours (including night-time observations), to uphold the Constitutional mandate to ensure that all South Africans are able to live in a country where the environment is protected and is not harmful to their health and well-being.
South Africans are encouraged to continue reporting all environmental crimes on the Environmental Crime hotline at 0800 205 005 or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
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