Durban – The National Prosecuting Authority on Friday, presented the Durban Regional Court with an amended charge sheet in the criminal case against waste management giant EnviroServ relating to the company’s alleged mismanagement of its Shongweni landfill.
The case was postponed to February 7, in order for the accused’s legal representatives to study the amended charge sheet.
The accused are EnviroServ, its chief executive Dean Thompson, group technical director Esmé Gombault, group technical specialist Dr Johan Schoonraad and coastal manager Clive Kidd, who all appeared.
They had a considerable amount of support from EnviroServ staff inside the courtroom while outside the building members of the Upper Highway Air NPC, a non-profit consisting of affected residents, held a silent protest.
Count one is for the 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”; and count two is for contravention of the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act by failing to prevent “the emission of offensive odour caused by activities on their premises”.
Count three refers to the company’s failure to prevent pickers onto the site, breaking a condition of their waste management licence; count four is for their failure to comply with an October 2016 Compliance Notice that ordered the company to dispose of “all leachate and contaminated storm water”; and count five is for providing “false and misleading information” to an environmental inspector.
The amendments to the charge sheet are that Schoonraad is no longer facing counts three and four and Kidd is no longer being charged on count five.
Communities surrounding the landfill have been protesting for two years that noxious odours from the massive dump have been making them ill, leading to an investigation by the Green Scorpions and, eventually, the charges.
EnviroServ earlier this year admitted that it was a “contributor” to the malodour, but continues to vehemently deny that its contributions are in any way responsible for residents’ health issues.
In a civil matter in April, the Upper Highway Air NPC was granted an urgent interdict stopping the company from accepting, treating or disposing of any new waste at the Shongweni landfill. That still stands.