Premier Helen Zille. File Photo: Michael Walker/African News Agency (ANA)
Cape Town - The ANC Youth League in the Dullah Omar region says it will appeal against the Western Cape High Court judgment that was  dismissed on Monday, with costs, its application for the appointment of an Environmental Commissioner.

The league’s spokesperson, Winston Erasmus, had filed the application against Premier Helen Zille, Provincial Legislature Speaker Sharna Fernandez and Environmental Affairs MEC Anton Bredell over their alleged failure to appoint and Environmental Commissioner.

“The constitution makes provision for a watchdog of the environment, in the premier’s state-of-the-province address she did not make provision for a commissioner of the environment as stipulated - she is violating the constitution,” said Erasmus.

“She has to be accountable. An independent watchdog is important and urgent because desalination is coming, there are pollutants in our sewerage water that are not being tested for. We can’t wait,” he said.

Zille’s spokesperson Michael Mpofu said they welcomed the high court decision. “As the ANC well knows, the functions of an Environmental Commissioner have for years been adequately performed by existing organs of state, acting within expanded environmental and other legislation developed over time since then.

“It is also disingenuous of the ANC to claim that the notion of a commissioner would have had any powers related to the augmentation of water under the current water crisis.

“Even if there had been a Commissioner of the Environment, the incumbent could not have given instructions to the national government or local governments in terms of how they carry out their constitutional water mandates, or effect disaster management remedies. To argue otherwise - as the ANC is attempting to do - is false.”

Cape Times