Charge sheet amended in EnviroServ’s criminal case

Upper Highway Air NPO supporters silently protest outside the Durban Magistrate's Court on Friday, 17 November. The NPO has received 27 304 complaints (up to 20 November) since the last court hearing in August.

THE National Prosecuting Authority presented the Durban Regional Court with an amended charge sheet in the criminal case against waste management company, EnviroServ, last Friday.

However, the case which follows the company’s alleged mismanagement of its Shongweni Landfill site, was postponed to 7 February 2018 for the accused’s legal representatives to study the amended charge sheet.

The accused are EnviroServ, its chief executive Dean Thompson, group technical director Esmé Gombault, group technical specialist Dr Johan Schoonraad and coastal manager Clive Kidd, who all appeared.

Also read: Shongweni Landfill company claims success but it still stinks

Count one is for the contravention of the National Environmental Management Waste Act for failing to manage the landfill’s waste “in such a manner that it does not cause a nuisance through odour”; and count two is for contravention of the National Environmental Management Air Quality Act by failing to prevent “the emission of offensive odour caused by activities on their premises”.

Count three refers to the company’s failure to prevent pickers onto the site, breaking a condition of their waste management licence; count four is for their failure to comply with an October 2016 Compliance Notice that ordered the company to dispose of “all leachate and contaminated storm water”; and count five is for providing “false and misleading information” to an environmental inspector.

The amendments to the charge sheet are that Schoonraad is no longer facing counts three and four and Kidd is no longer being charged on count five.

Also read: Managers, technical specialist charged in Shongweni Landfill’s criminal case

EnviroServ’s spokesman, Thabiso Taaka said: “EnviroServ has requested further details regarding the charges, including the dates of emittance of the odour, the nature and subjects of the annoyance.

The accused had a considerable amount of support from EnviroServ staff inside the courtroom, while members of the Upper Highway Air NPC held a silent protest outside the building.

Lauren Johnson, founder of the Upper Highway Air NPO, said: “We didn’t want to have a repeat of the poor behavior by Enviroserv and harassment of our volunteer supporters by EnviroServ’s paid employees so we decided to show our support of the Green Scorpions criminal prosecution of EnviroServ and their senior staff by silently standing outside the court house with our shirts and masks on.”

Communities surrounding the landfill have been protesting for two years that noxious odours from the massive dump have been making them ill, leading to an investigation by the Green Scorpions and the first charges against them in August this year.

The UHA NPC has received 27 304 complaints (up to 20 November) since the last court hearing in August.

 

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  AUTHOR
Deshni Ramkissoon-Pillay
Journalist

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