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Eskom’s Richards Bay project faces civil society group court challenge

Umamah Bakharia 

Two civil society groups plan on asking the North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria to scrap the authorisation for Eskom’s combined cycle power plant construction.

The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance and groundWork want the 3 000 MW gas-to-power project in Richards Bay to be declared unlawful.

Speaking to Radio Islam, the alliance’s Desmond D’Sa says climate change has not been acknowledged by Eskom even though heavy rainfall has killed hundreds in KwaZulu Natal.

“This is a warning sign that [and] we’ve been talking to Eskom wanting to engage with them on what sort of mix we need in this country [but] they refuse to talk to us,” says D’Sa.

He claims that Eskom has lied about consulting with communities in the project. “In the areas that Eskom was going to develop this plant, no one was consulted,” says D’Sa.

 

 

In a joint statement, the SDCEA and groundWork have asked the high court to set aside the environmental authorisation granted to Eskom for constructing a combined cycle power plant in Richards Bay.

“How can we say that Eskom is in a place where they can manage the power utility? We know for a fact that what we see and the regular blackouts – it is not working for the ordinary people in the country,” he says. Adding that South Africa requires energy that won’t create environmental issues.

Previously, Eskom CEO André de Ruyter said that gas-fired power could ensure system stability as the country shifts to cleaner energy solutions. While earlier this year, the utility confirmed exploring a gas plant in Richards Bay.

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