In a major victory for greater public transparency about industrial air pollution and climate change, Environment Minister Barbara Creecy has ordered her department to release more information on greenhouse gas emissions from several of the country's biggest air-polluting companies.
In a ruling made this week, Environment Minister Barbara Creecy said she saw no acceptable reasons why certain information on future climate emissions should be kept secret, "particularly given that Eskom, Sasol and ArcelorMittal are three of the largest emitters in South Africa and globally".
Withholding such data was not in accord with the objectives of the Promotion of Access to Information Act (PAIA) to promote transparency, accountability and effective governance, she said.
In her ruling, she also quoted Judge Mohamed Navsa in a previous Supreme Court ruling in which he declared:
"It is clear... that our legislature has recognised, in the field of environmental protection, the importance of consultation and interaction with the public. After all, environmental degradation affects us all... Corporations operating within our borders... must be left in no doubt that, in relation to the environment in circumstances such as these under discussion, there is no room for secrecy and that constitutional values will be enforced."