Something STINKS and it’s not just Enviroserv

Something stinks in EThekwini and it’s not just EnviroServ, it is EThekwini – Department of Health, ground zero.

Many of you have been wondering where your objections have gone and why you have not received any acknowledgment of submitting them.

At this stage it is anyone’s guess, although we have been given a few clues as to what is going on behind the scenes. In fact, if you were to hazard a guess that EThekwini dumped them in valley 2 on one of its cozy site visits to Shongweni, you may be right.

Where to start…….

Well EThekwini stated under oath in the review application that 732 objections and 99 596 submissions in support, had been received in response to EnviroServ’s application for a Scheduled Trade Permit.

It also stated that it has at all times “conducted itself responsibly” and that there is “no basis to contend EThekwini will not adjudicate the pending application properly with due regard to the conditions on the site at the time and in compliance with procedural fairness…”.

Attached to an affidavit delivered by EnviroServ on 23 August 2018, was the schedule in the link below (UHA have blanked out addresses and cell numbers), provided to it by EThekwini, containing the list of objectors.

EnviroServ also stated that it had “received” submissions in support and sent them to EThekwini.

From the list attached there are only 556 objectors including duplications. Notably UHA’s substantive objections on 22 June 2018 and on 27 July 2018 are not recorded but our attorney’s correspondence raising various irregularities on our behalf regarding the process being followed, are listed as objections by her. Clearly they never bothered to read UHAs objection or the correspondence from our attorney confirming she was acting on UHA’s behalf otherwise this blunder would not have been made.

Our attorney in fact did not lodge an objection in her personal capacity and we have placed EThekwini on terms to provide her objection if they contend she did, and to explain why UHA’s objections have not been included and its attorneys’ communications regarding the gross irregularities have not been considered or addressed.

EnviroServ claims (no doubt on advice from EThekwini) that only 103 objections are valid, because people objected before publication of the application and never included their full names and addresses even though the advertisement provided that objectors only had to provide names and “contact details”. UHA have raised these issues with EThekwini and its attorneys. We await confirmation they will be.

What is despicable and incredulous is that EnviroServ first made its application in February 2018, which it has now “updated”, but EThekwini has refused to provide it to the community in order for them to amplify any objections, based on a material part of the application made by EnviroServ.

EThekwini only told EnviroServ to publish the application in terms of the Bylaws after UHA threatened them with action on 22 June 2018 as a result of their failure to require EnviroServ to advertise the application and where they were poised to grant the application even though nuisance conditions persist (as last week has shown).

EThekwini were merrily going to adjudicate the application without publication.

Now it is contended by EnviroServ that objections lodged before publication of the notice are not going to be taken into account, so they and EThekwini profit from EThekwini’s failure to publish notice of the application in the first place. Clearly a ridiculous suggestion, but we fear this will not stop them from excluding these objections. How can one hide the application by not requiring publication and then when someone finds out and objects, as they are entitled to do, say your objections are not valid because we planned to do this behind closed doors?

Please check the list attached, and mail UHA if your name is not on the list and also mail EThekwini and your local councillor to raise your objections to being excluded from the process. If your name is not one where we have had to blank out an address or cell number then you also know according to EnviroServ and probably Ethekwini, these are not considered valid. Please also take this up with Ethekwini.

What is also clear is that EThekwini have not yet provided any objections to EnviroServ for its response as it alleged it would in its affidavit. Have they then just decided to ignore the objections regardless? EnviroServ does not need to respond? There is no objection deserving of a response?

Interestingly, Neil Larat, Deputy Head: Pollution Control and Risk Management in the Health Unit at EThekwini is listed as an objector!

EnviroServ may be onto something….someone else also stinks in the Upper Highway area – EThekwini.

When will Government be held to account? When will your rates and taxes be used to benefit the community not polluters?