SABC News - Earthlife challenges decision to build coal power station in Limpopo:Thursday 2 March 2017

Earthlife challenges decision to build coal power station in Limpopo

Thursday 2 March 2017 20:14

Neo Makwiting and Nelisiwe Mahlangu

 Earthlife says the case is about protecting the environment and the health of locals.

Earthlife says the case is about protecting the environment and the health of locals.(REUTERS)

Environmental rights group Earthlife has approached the Pretoria High Court to challenge the Environmental Affairs Department's decision to build another coal-fired power station in Limpopo.

According to evidence before the presiding Judge, John Murphy, government wants to build a third power station in Lephalale.

The first day of the two days set aside to hear the matter ended with parties in dispute still submitting their heads of argument.

Outside the Pretoria High Court, members of Earthlife registered their concern about health and environmental issues around the proposed power station.  

Inside the court, the group's lawyers were seeking a judicial review of government’s decision to issue environmental authorisation for a new coal-fired power station at Thabametsi near Lephalale.

Earthlife's legal representative, Nicole Loser, says the Department of Environmental Affairs failed to conduct a proper environmental assessment before issuing the certificate for the construction of  another power station in the Waterberg  region.

“We have a national climate change response policy, which acknowledges that South Africa is a country extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Some of these examples of this kind of impact are water scarcity. The policy acknowledges that we will be suffering from increased drought, increase flooding, extreme weather patterns. We will also be seeing increased temperature. These are some of the things that we are already seeing and climate change is going to make this worse."

Earthlife's organisation Spokesperson Makom Lekalala echoed Loser's sentiments, saying the case is about protecting the environment and the health of locals.

"This case is about our climate, our health and our water. And we belief if we invest in the renewable energy we wouldn't be finding ourselves in a situation where we have air that is highly polluted. We wouldn't have to compete with coal-fired power stations that use a lot of water and the water is diverted from people's everyday use towards coal-fired power station."

After lengthy arguments the Presiding Judge John Murphy adjourned the case.

It will continue in the same court on Friday.

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