Understanding UHA’s views on MC meeting from 28th June 2017

The current Terms of Reference are binding until set aside. They give wide powers to the monitoring committee to ensure oversight of EnviroServ’s operations and compliance with its license conditions.

The number of members of the committee are limitless, although voting is by affected group only. Currently, aside for provision for NGOs to exercise a single vote each, there is no provision for the community members who are interested and affected to vote directly, even if per group.

The Annexure “A” which Pravin did not want to display on the projector can be viewed here. It makes no provision for the community members to exercise a vote. It was based on a Report by Ridl Glavovic which forms part of Waste Tron/ EnviroServ Environmental Impact Control Report for the upgrade of the class H:h Shongweni Landfill site dated 22 May 1997.

Ridl Glavovic (Jeremy Ridl was a nomination for Chair of the MC meeting, we are not sure who nominated him, it was not UHA) stated in that report:

“Although it is now common practice to have independent monitoring committees to review activities on waste disposal sites, this may be difficult to put into practice for the site. The impact on the nearest communities has not been sufficient to attract their interest in such a committee. Furthermore, the community is lacking in capacity to make a meaningful contribution to such a committee.”

In that same report, it was recorded that Mrs Kunene, Responsibility Manager of Msini Holdings (the Managers of the Shongweni Resources Reserve), together with Councilor Nqaba Sibiya, were in the process of establishing a Development Forum to replace the Shongweni Liaison Forum in order to serve, amongst other things, as an environmental education body to develop the capacity of the community to participate in the monitoring committee in future.

The bodies represented in annexure “A” to the terms of reference appear then to be based on this report as the entities listed were largely named in the last paragraph of that report. You can view this here.

UHA does not know whether any effort was in fact spent educating the community and does not agree with Ridl Glavovic that the community did not have the capacity to participate in the monitoring committee. It was this historic discrimination and exclusion of the local communities which UHA NPC wanted to address and change at the monitoring committee meeting. Namely to make sure all affected communities be included in the annexure “A” to the terms of reference and thus not only have a right to attend and be heard at the monitoring committee but to vote there!

For 20 years the communities have been excluded from the vote.

EnviroServ proposes to dilute the terms of reference. In fact, it proposes doing away with them altogether and then leaving it up to the Monitoring Committee to come up with a whole new set of Rules, BUT it wants included as part of the terms, that it appoints the facilitator, it pays the facilitator, it will only try to make “relevant documentation” available but this information if it is technical or belongs to EnviroServ will not be given to anyone other  than the monitoring committee members without EnviroServ’s consent. It also has a right to exclude people from being monitoring committee members if it believes there will be a competitor or commercial conflict of interest. Clearly there will often be times where the community’s interest will conflict with those of EnviroServ. Just in the way there is conflict now between the community’s right to an environment which is not harmful to their health and well-being and EnviroServ’s commercial interests to make a profit no matter the cost to the community.

We cannot allow EnviroServ to do away with the current terms of reference which they have never obeyed to date. They need to be enforced more than ever so that EnviroServ can be held to account.

Upper Highway Air