AERIAL shot of the Cisco steel works in Kuils River.
Cape Town - Residents in Kuils River are fuming over a nearby steel company they say is guilty of endangering their health due to high levels of noise and air pollution.

The homeowners have drawn up a petition and dragged the steel company, Cisco, to court for violating noise pollution regulations.

“The real problem that we have is the noise and the amount of pollution in the area,” said Earl Polman, a community leader.

On Tuesday evening, the residents had a meeting to discuss their concerns.

“The licence that they currently have states they are compliant.

“However zoning by the city was not done properly and we are saying that they should be rezoned and they should be deemed as a noxious trader (A company that is disreputable because it caused a great deal of pollution),” Polman said.

Cisco was established in the 1960s and operated until 2010. During the company’s shutdown period, housing developments began in Kuils River in areas such as Vredelust, Jagtershof, St Dumas, Highbury and Silver Oaks.

According to residents, when they purchased their homes they were under the impression the factory would no longer be operating.

However, in October 2012, the industrial plant was purchased by DHT Holdings, which continued trading as Cisco. DHT Holding invested R550 million into upgrading the industrial plant with the hope of creating more than 300 jobs in the coming years. Meanwhile the Industrial Development Corporation of SA through the Department of Trade and Industry invested an additional R230 million.

Polman said attempts to engage with the city council have been fruitless over the past few years.

“We are getting fed up with this and we are going to withhold our rates and taxes if nothing is done,” he said.

In January last year, the city council told residents that after measuring the noise limits, a legal notice was served on Cisco to reduce the noise and a docket for prosecution was lodged for contravening the Western Cape Noise Control Regulations. The matter was heard in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on March 6 and April 3 (last year), both court cases were appealed by Cisco. The next court dates were set for May 22; 23 and 24 this year.

General manager at Cisco, Heinrich Kriel, said they were aware of the complaints by residents.

“All complaints are logged, and feedback individually provided.

“These complaints are also discussed as part of the Cisco Environmental Stakeholder Forum. Cisco is in the possession of a Provisional Atmospheric Emission Licence (PAEL) in terms of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (Act 39 of 2004), which guides and controls air emission compliance requirements.”

Zahid Badroodien, mayoral committee member for community services and health, said: “We have a range of departments to deal with the complaints of the residents.

“Part of our responsibility is to assess the concerns that have been raised. The city (council) has been monitoring the factory and there has been a contravention in terms of the noise pollution.”

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Cape Argus