Environmental affairs welcomes SCA ruling on Interwaste and FG landfill site in Gauteng

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The Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein. File photo: ANA

The decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal hopefully brought to an end lengthy litigation.

The environmental affairs department (DEA) has welcomed the Supreme Court of Appeal in Bloemfontein’s judgment this week upholding, with costs, the appeal by the Gauteng agriculture and rural development department (GDARD) against the findings of the High Court in Pretoria with respect to the validity of a Compliance Notice issued by an environmental management inspector to waste management company Interwaste.

The Compliance Notice had been issued to essentially address the ongoing operations at the FG landfill site in Midrand after the company’s waste management licence had lapsed, thereby rendering the ongoing disposal of waste unlawful. The notice was issued in 2016, the DEA said in a statement on Sunday.

The decision by the Supreme Court of Appeal hopefully brought to an end lengthy litigation which essentially sought to challenge the validity of, among others, the Compliance Notice. The decision to issue this notice had been confirmed by the GDARD MEC 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,” the DEA said.

As a result of complaints from community members living in close proximity to the FG landfill site, the 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 November 3, 2018, resulting in a cessation of the disposal of waste at the FG landfill site.

The DEA congratulated the environmental management inspectors, also known as the Green Scorpions, both from the GDARD and the 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,” the DEA said.

South Africans were encouraged to continue reporting all environmental crimes on the Environmental Crime hotline at 0800-205-005 or by emailing: complaints@environment.gov.za or green.scorpions@gauteng.gov.za.

– African News Agency (ANA)