Concourt’s green ruling

Date: 08 Jun 2007
Constitutional Court’s Justice Sandile Ngcobo yesterday set aside a provincial decision allowing the construction of filling station in White River, Mpumalanga. Ngcobo told the provincial authorities they must reconsider the application. The Fuel Retailers, Association of Southern Africa had objected to the construction, claiming the facility would have an adverse impact on the environment. The association insisted that the environmental authorities should consider whether the proposed filling station would be socially, environmentally and economically sustainable as required by the law governing the protection of the environment. In a judgement concurred by the full bench, except Justice Albie Sachs, Ngcobo held the constitution recognizes the interrelationship between the protection of the environment and socio-economic development. He said the authorities had misconstrued the nature of their obligations and as a consequence failed to comply with a compulsory and material condition, prescribed by the law, for granting authorization to establish a filling station. Ngcobo ordered the provincial environmental authorities to pay the costs of the application. By Kennedy Mudzuli The Citizen 08/06/07