Kuils River residents are unhappy with Cisco steel company having a permanent air emission license.
Cape Town - Residents of Kuils River are concerned that the steel company, which they say are polluting their air, will now have the right to do anything it wants after their provisional atmospheric emission licence expired and they now have a permanent air emission license.

Community leader Earl Polman said: “We (are) waiting in anticipation for the way forward, although we know what is going happen; no considerations for residents health, clean air or rights to noise-free residential areas.

“It’s just all about money and no reflection of dignity towards people and the rights of residents in Kuils River. The law is not being upheld, despite all the evidence that has been provided.

“We are dumped in this monster saga of metal contamination in and around Kuils River and our officials ignores it for the sake of revenue and so called job creation.”

Cisco had an emission licence to minimise the impact of operations. It is a probationary license issued to first-time applicants for two years.

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 R550million to upgrade the plant with the hope of creating more than 300 jobs. The Industrial Development Corporation of SA through the Department of Trade and Industry invested an additional R230m. Last January, the 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.

Mayor Dan Plato met with the community of Kuils River and told them that he is referring their concerns to the national government.

Mayoral committee member for community services and Health Zahid Badroodien said: “Officials from the City and the provincial department of environmental affairs and development planning supported the national department in undertaking the compliance inspection. The City has however not received a copy of the report. The City undertook a further compliance inspection on August 23, 2019.

“The findings of this inspection was that the facility was compliant with the provisional atmospheric emission licence and therefore an air emission license was issued.”

General manager at Cisco, Heinrich Kriel said: “It’s quite a process that we have to go through and certain conditions that we have to comply with. Once a provisional license is issued it automatically turns into an air emission license.”

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Cape Argus