The environmental impact assessment approval process for the controversial Turkish emergency powerships deal in Saldanha Bay has been suspended by environment minister Barbara Creecy. This could trigger further delays and legal challenges for Karpowership's broader power plans in South Africa.
The Turkish emergency powerships deal has run into a submerged regulatory obstacle, with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment Department suspending the environmental impact impact (EIA) process for the Saldanha Bay component until further notice.
The halt in the approval process, which came to light at the weekend, follows a formal complaint by the Green Connection non-governmental organisation, which alleges that Karpowership consultants breached the EIA Regulations by failing to conduct a thorough assessment on the underwater noise impacts of floating powerships on fishing and the marine ecology of Saldanha Bay and the nearby Langebaan Lagoon, islands and aquaculture development zones.
With barely six weeks to go to a crucial deadline for final approval, it remains unclear whether this could sink the Saldanha Bay harbour power proposal and also stir up similar objections for two other major harbours. However, it is expected to lead to a significant delay and open the way for further legal challenges that could potentially...