Cape Town - Despite the Department of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries’ (DFFE) refusal of Karpowership SA’s environmental authorisation applications earlier this year, the National Energy Regulator (Nersa) has ruffled the feathers of local environmental groups and fishing communities by approving three generation licences for floating gas-power generation.
These generation licences inform Karpowership SA’s proposal to operate and supply energy at the ports of Saldanha Bay, Coega and Richards Bay, which was vehemently opposed by local environmental groups and fishing communities.
Masifundise Development Trust programme manager Carmen Mannarino noted with extreme concern Nersa’s decision to grant licences to Karpowership and their lack of explanation regarding their decision.
“If Karpowership SA is going to be allowed to operate, it will completely destroy the lives and livelihoods of fishing communities as it will disrupt the coastal and ocean environment, impacting on their ability to put food on the table.
“We plead with DFFE Minister Barbara Creecy and the department to uphold their decision not to grant environmental approval,” said Mannarino.
Green Connection Strategic Lead Liziwe McDaid: “We find it utterly unacceptable that Nersa could even contemplate, let alone actually grant, licences to the power ship project.
“Karpowerships SA has no decision from the minister on its appeal against the DFFE’s refusal to grant them environmental authorisation. The parliamentary inquiry is still pending, in addition to two potential court cases surrounding the project.”
Green Connection has been calling for more transparency in the power ship proposals and maintained that Nersa had failed indigenous South Africans with this decision.
Langebaan Coastal Links chairperson Solene Smith said: “We have been fishing in these waters since the time of our ancestors, we have a right to be here and make our living from the ocean, and the law says we have a right to a healthy ocean.
“However, now we must prepare for a future where the already-dwindling marine stocks will be driven away by these floating kettles.”
On the other hand, the West Coast Black Business Alliance (WBBA), which had appealed the DFFE’s decision to refuse environmental authorisation applications for Karpowership SA, welcomed Nersa’s approval of the generation licences for the company and urged the DFFE to engage with all stakeholders to ensure its final decision on Karpowership SA’s environmental authorisation was based on a thorough review of research.