MEC Maile's “fast track” EIA process destroying Gauteng's environment
In a rush to fast-track environmental impact assessment’s (EIA’s) for new developments across Gauteng, the Provincial Government is laying waste to the province’s environment and undermining democracy by neglecting the concerns of residents who raise serious concerns about the impact these developments may have.
The Magaliesburg Biosphere Reserve, a UNESCO world heritage site, is now under threat as the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has given the green light for an abattoir to be established on the ridge of the site at Laezonia – despite expert opinion warning that the nature of work carried out at this site will have adverse effects on the environment.
Despite public participation being held, with residents living close to the area raising objections to the proposed abattoir, the project was given the go-ahead by the Department.
The developer of the site, Isidwedwe Clothing Primary Co-operative, is a sewing co-operative, funded by the provincial social development department.
It would seem that the EIA process to the ANC provincial government is merely a box-ticking exercise, and that it does not actually understand that it is meant to be used as a mechanism to protect the environment against harmful human activity.
This is not the first EIA the department has pushed through. Sign off on mines, such as the Palmietkulien mine in Lesedi and the tailings dump in Merafong, have all been susceptible to the same flawed EIA process as the abattoir at Laezonia.
While rapid urbanisation is a reality in Gauteng, the environment must be safeguarded for future generations.
The DA will write to MEC for Economic Development, Lebogang Maile, and request copies of the EIA to ascertain on what grounds this development was approved.
Statement issued by Janet Semple MPL, DA Gauteng Shadow MEC for Economic Development, 25 June 2017