Parly asked to intervene in acid mine drainage

Environmental groups have asked a parliamentary committee for help in having a report on acid mine water drainage made public, the Centre for Environmental Rights said on Wednesday.

The groups, which included Greenpeace Africa and the Endangered Wildlife Trust, had written to the water and environmental affairs portfolio committee.

In the letter, the organisations had argued that it was essential that the findings of a report by a team of experts appointed by the inter-ministerial committee (IMC) on acid mine drainage be made public.

“The NGOs submitted both a formal request for release of the [team’s] report to the IMC, as well as an application in terms of the Promotion of Access to Information Act, on January 25,” the centre said.

“No substantive response has been received from the IMC, nor has the report been released in the public domain.”

Failure to publish the report increased public suspicion and anxiety and undermined faith in the state’s willingness to address the problem, the centre said.

“Millions of litres of heavily polluted acid mine drainage continue to be decanted into streams connected to both the Vaal and Crocodile river systems and groundwater systems on a daily basis, with devastating consequences for communities and the environment,” the centre said.

“At the very least, civil society is entitled to know what the [team] found and recommended to the IMC.”—Sapa

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