MEDIA STATEMENT FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 05 OCTOBER 2021

PUBLIC INVITED TO COMMENT ON DRAFT TERMS OF REFERENCE FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF A STAKEHOLDERS’ FORUM FOR THE SHARING OF INFORMATION AND PARTICIPATION IN PROCESSES RELATED TO POLLUTION EMANATING FROM THE UPL WAREHOUSE, CORNUBIA

Members of the public are invited to comment on the Draft Terms of Reference for the establishment of a multi-stakeholders forum in relation to the pollution event which resulted from the fire incident at the UPL Warehouse, Cornubia during July 2021.

The Minister of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment, Ms Barbara Creecy, announced on 3 October that the draft terms of reference to establish the multi-stakeholder forum in line with the recommendation of the Portfolio Committee during its visit to the site in August had been developed to ensure that affected communities are fully briefed on all developments.

The forum will ensure meaningful engagement between authorities and the public, and act amongst others as a conduit for the dissemination of information to communities affected by this incident.

The Minister and the KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs, Mr Ravi Pillay, had directed that a stakeholders’ forum be established keeping in mind that the public has a right to be informed on matters that affect their health and wellbeing and to participate in decisions that affect them.

The Forum’s establishment is also being established on the basis that the relevant authorities have an obligation to disclose information that is in the public interest as far as such information affects the environment, that the public to has a right to ensure organs of state are held accountable for the discharge of their statutory obligations and that the relevant authorities must ensure that the information imparted to the public is accurate, serves the public interest by its disclosure.

The proposed forum will:

  • Be inclusive and representative of all stakeholders;
  • Create an environment for interested and affected parties engage meaningfully with each other, the authorities and UPL;
  • Make coordinated input into all relevant processes, studies and investigations being undertaken on all aspects of the pollution incident;
  • Maintain a repository of all relevant information, including all reports generated during the compliance and clean-up processes, past, present and future;

Be managed independently of government and UPL by a committee chosen by stakeholders.

A copy of the draft terms of reference can be accessed by clicking on:
https://www.environment.gov.za/sites/default/files/docs/proposalmultistakeholderforum_UPLincident.pdf

The closing date for comment is 16:00 on Monday, 11 October 2021, and the final document is to be released on Monday, 18 October 2021.

Stakeholders are invited to distribute the draft document to interested parties who might not have access to email or to pass on the contact details below to enable them to obtain their own copy.

Until the forum is established and has its own secretariat, please direct enquires to:

Jane Tennet of HSG ATTORNEYS - jane@hsginc.co.za

Jeremy Ridl - independent specialist consultant to HSG Attorneys will oversee the process and prepare the final document with stakeholder input - jaridl55@gmail.com

For media inquiries contact:

Albi Modise, DFFE, on 083 490 2871 or amodise@environment.gov.za

Bheki Mbanjwa, KZNEDTEA, on 060 968 2417 or email:
Bheki.Mbanjwa@kznedtea.gov.za

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF FORESTRY, FISHERIES AND THE ENVIRONMENT AND THE KZN DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT, TOURISM AND ENVIRONMENTAL AFFAIRS