Dear Upper Highway Community, we hope that 2020 is going to be a prosperous year for all.
The Constitutional challenge to the legislation under which EnviroServ and its directors were charged in the criminal matter was set down in the Pietermaritzburg High Court on 15 November 2019. As you may remember, EnviroServ requested yet another adjournment of the matter because their one counsel was not available. The State and Ethekwini readily agreed but UHA knowing full well this was yet another delay tactic, stood firm. We also were fortunate to secure the assistance of Kemp J Kemp SC who together with Charmane, drafted heads of argument which were delivered timeously, as EnviroServ worked to seek the intervention of the Judge President to have the matter adjourned before the scheduled date. The JP rightly pointed out that as all parties did not consent to the adjournment EnviroServ would have to appear on the day and argue for the adjournment.
This precipitated a withdrawal of the application by EnviroServ based on the arguments raised in the heads filed by UHA. We thank Kemp J Kemp for his willingness to accept the brief on behalf of the community. We also secured a tender for UHA and our counsels’ costs. EnviroServ as it was repeatedly pointed out would have to argue their challenge in the criminal matter which is still set down for July 2020. The prosecution will be preparing now for trial and we will render any assistance needed.
On the civil action and other pending matters, UHA have, after consultation last year with the nominated community reps, placed a without prejudice settlement proposal on the table and are waiting instructions from EnviroServ’s attorneys. Principally UHA want the monitoring committee properly constituted so that monitoring can take place objectively and legitimately. We have also made what UHA believes to be a sensible proposal on the settlement of the action which will benefit the community. We will update you once we have received a response to our proposals which we hope can resolve the outstanding matters and ensure community monitoring.
We are aware that there have been increased complaints of late, and urge you to please continue reporting in order that the DEFF can investigate the complaints and visit the site in order to see what the cause of the increase in complaints are. We will follow up and seek clarity on the progress of the installation of the final flare which is due to commence early this year.