Durban - The Green Scorpions have called Shongweni waste management company EnviroServ’s decision to take statutes of the criminal case against it to the Constitutional Court as yet another delaying tactic.
EnviroServ is facing criminal charges regarding allegations of producing harmful pollutants that are allegedly making people in the area ill.
On Wednesday EnviroServ attorneys, during a brief appearance at the Durban Regional Court, said they would take relevant statutes of the criminal case against it to the ConCourt. Although the State had argued that they did not want any further delays in the matter, as they were ready to set a trial date, proceedings may be delayed by the Constitutional Court matter.
Thabiso Taaka, an EnviroServ spokesperson, this week was not able to clarify which statutes they were referring to.
Pam Davison, of the Green Scorpions, said the Director of Public Prosecutions, advocate Moipone Noko, was to give further instructions to proceed, or to wait for the Constitutional Court ruling.
“The Constitutional Court matter is definitely a delaying tactic and it would cause delays to the pending criminal case,” she said.
If Noko chooses not to wait for the Constitutional Court and proceed in the magistrate’s court, EnviroServ is entitled to interdict the process.
Noko said on Thursday EnviroServ could bring an interlocutory application at this stage of the matter. She said once the application was brought, the NPA would deal with it.
The matter was adjourned until March 29.
Several non-profit organisations involved in the fight against EnviroServ said they would not stop protesting against the noxious odours.
Upper Highway Air this week filed court papers against EnviroServ, compelling the Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, to consider revoking EnviroServ’s licence for breaching the obligations and the terms of compliance notice issued in October 2016.
They want the provincial and the national departments of Environmental Affairs to take action against EnviroServ to remedy the pollution.
Upper Highway Air wants directions in place on the need for proper monitoring.
Spokesperson Louren Johnson said from their experts’ findings -which dealt with the air quality, landfill engineering and the gas extraction system - it was evident that EnviroServ’s monitoring devices were incapable of monitoring the air pollution affecting the communities.
Communities in the area have been protesting about the odours emanating from the massive dump, saying they were making them ill, for the past two years.
This led to an investigation by the Green Scorpions and charges of contravention of the National Environmental Management Waste Act for failing to manage the landfill’s waste “in such a manner that it does not cause a nuisance through odour”.
EnviroServ also faces a charge of contravening the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act by failing to prevent “the emission of offensive odour caused by activities on their premises”.
Another charge refers to the company’s failure to prevent pickers from being on the site, breaking a condition of their waste management licence.