The release of the much-awaited report on fighting the decanting of acid mine drainage appears to have been delayed for another few days, although Water Affairs Minister Edna Molewa said it would be considered by cabinet on Wednesday last week.
Dina Townsend of the Centre for Environmental Rights, one of a battery of organisations which has demanded access to the document in terms of access to information legislation, said she had heard that it would be released tomorrow.
This follows the decision by the new government communications chief, Jimmy Manyi, to delay the post-cabinet media briefing from Thursday morning to tomorrow – because President Jacob Zuma was replying to the State of the Nation speech debate on Thursday.
Manyi was not available for comment.
The report, which was drawn up by a range of experts and was ready in October last year, has been kept secret for reasons not yet explained by the water affairs ministry. Both Mava Scott and Mandla Mathebula, spokesmen for the minister, were unavailable for comment.
Townsend said the lobby groups were continually trying to “leap through hoops” with the Water Affairs Department to get information “that ought to be in the public domain”.
Molewa told a media briefing on Tuesday that the report would be put to cabinet the following day. She said the department had the necessary R218 million required to construct a pump station on the East Rand to fight the toxic tide rising beneath the surface in Gauteng.
A range of environmental organisations gave the government until this week to respond to a demand to release the government report on ways to stop the flow.
The Centre for Environmental Rights, Earthlife Africa and the Federation for a Sustainable Environment led a host of organisations which argued that the government’s failure to act was unconstitutional. - Donwald Pressly