MEC Johnson gives a directive to Engen
1 Nov 2011
The Department of Agriculture, Environmental Affairs and Rural Development has today served the Engen Petroleum Refinery at Merebank in Durban with a letter of intent to issue a directive in terms of section 28(4) of the National Environmental Management Act (Act no 107 of 1998), and also in terms of Section 31A of the Environment Conservation act (Act 73 of 1989).
This is with regards to frequent pollution incidents that compromise public health and environmental integrity. The letter was presented to the Engen Refinery General Manager, Mr Kamal Ahmad by an Environmental Management Inspector, Dr Timothy Fasheun in the presence of MEC Lydia Johnson, Mr Omnie Singh, Portfolio Committee Chairperson: Conservation and Environmental Affairs and EThekwini Mayor Cllr James Nxumalo.
The notice further articulates the department’s opinion on that Engen has not taken any measure whatsoever which could be deemed to be “reasonable” within the wide definition given in Section 28 (3).
This was also prompted by the communities’ reaction to the recent fire incident that occurred on the 10 October where a flange crude oil unit is suspected to have failed. MEC Johnson urged Engen to minimise recurrence of incidents that happen on the plant as communities have long been complaining of health related problems that affect them directly.
“You must comply with the constitutional obligation of ensuring a healthy environment” said Johnson. She further suggested that Engen should work harder to find a common ground with the neighbouring communities including nongovernmental organisations and environmental lobby groups through its community liaison forum.
Environmental Management Inspector, Dr Timothy Fasheun, when serving the notice to Mr Kamal explained the conditions set out in the letter and the expectations of the department. The department has given Engen 15 working days to submit a full report of the incident and also present a plan of action detailing a precautionary approach.
Issued by: KwaZulu-Natal Agriculture, Enviromental Affairs and Rural Development
1 Nov 2011
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