Minister and DG of DWS support WCEPA’s High Court application against KROPZ

As the epic fight against the “illegal” Elandsfontein/KROPZ phosphate mine on the border of the West Coast National Park continuous, both the Minister and Director General of the Department of Water and Sanitation has indicated that they support the High Court application lodged by the West Coast Environmental Association.

Walter Anderson, Senior Associate at Cullinans & Associates, says:  “The Minister and Director General for the Department of Water and Sanitation indicated that neither would oppose WCEPA’s High Court application, and the Minister filed an explanatory affidavit on Friday in support of WCEPA’s application. The affidavit states that the Minister is of the opinion that WCEPA’s appeal in the water tribunal is valid, and Kropz’s argument that WCEPA ought to have appealed to the Minister is wrong for a number of reasons, including that the regulations which Kropz relies on do not apply to the application, and which regulations are invalid for inconsistency with the National Water Act in any event.”

Please Read the Minister’s affidavit here:

Meanwhile, Carte Blanche aired another comprehensive story about the controversial mine on Sunday night. While we were awaiting public access to the video for those who have missed it, commentaries on social media abounded. Watch the video here and also scroll down to check our previous stories on the mine where all that is happening now, was predicted right from the start:

Elandsfontein Phosphate Mine

“It seems Sanlam is also a major owner, which, like Patrice Motsepe and Mike Nunn, is ducking and diving. The Saldanha Bay Municipality (SBM)  is less than honorable. Carte Blanche said SBM had been notified that the mine’s water licence had been suspended pending an appeal. Kropz continues to take water out because, it says, it has had no such notification on the suspension of its licence and, if it did stop, the pit it has created will overflow (with a shower of shit ending up in the lagoon?). Do we really want to be aligning ourselves with the Gupta’s main friends in the mineral department (Mosebenzi Zwane, he of the trip to Switzerland fame?)

Carte Blanche

How was a R1-billion phosphate mine built in the sensitive West Coast biosphere, adjacent to the West Coast National Park, without a Water Use or an Air Emissions Licence? John Web reports this Sunday.

That’s Carte Blanche this Sunday at 7pm on M-NetDStv channel 101, and again at 8pm on M-Net Plus 1 channel 901.

You can also stream the show live on the DStv Now app from 7pm.

Marilyn Lilley
Marilyn Lilley A small group of dedicated people from this area have been fighting this for a few years.
They are trying to stop this and get justice for us all.

Martin Gibson

Martin Gibson We were forced to handover the management of these beautiful countries of Africa by the outside world simply because the outside world knew that they could bribe the new leaders and governments to acquire the rich minerals gold diamonds and whatever else they could lay their hands on and abuse the land at a very cheap price.

Jako van der Merwe

Jako van der Merwe I have delivered two machines at this mine, to be used to built roads at this mine and were shocked to see the actual location of the mine. I grew up in Malmesbury and are well aware of the sensitive nature of the environment. I could not believe the fact that a mine was developed there. When I went back to fetch the machines, a few months later, I made a few enquiries about the mine, but received utter silence as an answer. One of the security personnel told me that I ask to much questions and that I must remember that I am only a truck driver.

Jack Prentice

Jack Prentice This is a mining issue,where is Zwane and his Gestapo of inspectors.?They seem to enforce the smallest infringements against the existing mining companies but allow these new companies to get away with murder.

Marilyn Lilley
Marilyn Lilley Join fb ‘#WestCoastEnvironmentalProtectionAllianceand see MORE.
A SHAME on all authorities who should not have allowed this.

Themba Kubheka
Themba Kubheka Gotta LOVE how the Western Cape seems to work:
Good news come up: “It’s because the DA is running the city so perfectly”
Bad news surface: “But the ANC is in charge…”See More

2 Replies
Jorge Lourinho

Jorge Lourinho How? Only in SA where people have no say and gangsters run this country. It’s an old joke and we don’t laugh anymore.

Glenn Kasner

Glenn Kasner Phosphates were mined in the area decades ago. The old PHOSCOR mine was near the Langebaanweg air force base. Very little rehab (if any) was done after it all ended

Patrick Hughes The evil DA do what ever benefits their wealthy benefactors and the poor multitudes to get popularistic mass votes and heaps of cash.
The environment and us middle class folk foot the bill for their actions.

Also read:

Kropz warns court bid to suspend licence with hurt environment

KROPZ has hit back at environmental groups opposing its proposed R1.5bn Elandsfontein phosphate mine situated near the ecologically sensitive Langebaan Lagoon in South Africa’s Western Cape province, saying their efforts will backfire if they succeed in having the firm’s water use licence (WUL) suspended.

“If over time we are not be able to continue to safely pump the water out of the Elandsfontein aquifer around our open pit and allow it to filter back into the aquifer in accordance with our dewatering system design, the pit will flood,” said Michelle Lawrence, technical director for Kropz in a statement.

“If dewatering stops for an extended period, the pit will increase in size due to erosion of its sidewalls by the water; the volume of water in the pit will increase significantly; and the water quality will deteriorate, negatively impacting groundwater,” Lawrence added.

“The NGO said in court papers that a water use licence is automatically suspended under the National Water Act once an appeal to the government’s issuing of the licence has been lodged. The suspension lasts until the appeal is decided. The WCEPA had lodged an appeal with the Water Tribunal in June,” it said.

According to Walter Anderson at Cullinans and Associates, who lodged the appeal on behalf of the West Coast Environmental Protection Association (WCEPA), Kropz continues to dewater the aquifer despite knowledge the appeal suspended its water licence, and despite not having challenged the validity of the appeal in the tribunal or court.

“Kropz’s wilful and unlawful flouting of the principle of legality leaves WCEPA with no option but to approach the courts for urgent relief in the public interest,” said Anderson

Kropz disputes that the licence is suspended.

Kropz had spent R6m on groundwater studies in an effort to derisk the likelihood of contamination of the Langebaan Lagoon, said Lawrence.

“Importantly, all groundwater monitoring we have done since we began the dewatering and recharge of the aquifer shows these actions are not having a negative impact on it,” said Dr Fanie Botha, one of Kropz’s groundwater specialists.

Nicola Viljoen, WCEPA Treasurer, said that while it may cost Kropz money to rectify the effects on the pit wall following the suspension of the WUL, but there was “… no reason to believe that it will cause any significant environmental harm over and above the harm already caused by Kropz”.

“Kropz’s current actions are unlawful, and if the pit floods and the walls begin to erode Kropz has only itself to blame,” said Viljoen.

The interdict is the latest setback for Kropz which on August 15 said it had put the 1.5 million tonnes/year phosphate operation on hold owing to a combination of regulatory, market and technical problems. Patrice Motsepe’s African Rainbow Capital has shares in the Elandsfontein project which is an initiative of Mike Nunn, a mining entrepreneur who is best known for founding Tanzanite One.


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