[Debate] (Fwd) Eco-catastrophes in SA? "Shhhhh!" says Pretoria
mandiwrite at icon.co.za
Thu Jan 12 09:18:21 GMT 2012
What is the intention of this amendment? What supporting information does
government have to show that the threat is real - how much harm has been
caused in the past by such hoaxes? (I can remember two, and I hardly think
they broke the bank.)
Government seems to have a huge appetite for draconian legislation (and
massive, intimidating sanctions): all stick, no carrot.
Interesting the phrasing, by the way: resources are "money, people,
technology". In that order, I presume?
From: debate-list-bounces at fahamu.org [mailto:debate-list-bounces at fahamu.org]
On Behalf Of Patrick Bond
Sent: 12 January 2012 10:59 AM
To: DEBATE; durbansocialForum at yahoogroups.com;
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Subject: [Debate] (Fwd) Eco-catastrophes in SA? "Shhhhh!" says Pretoria
(Des warns: "The Air Quality Act will become meaningless." ... According to
the amendment, people could face a R10 million fine or 10 years' jail for
issuing information that may be construed as a "severe weather or
pollution-related warning" - and thanks to Mike Sutcliffe's pro-corporate
discretion, South Durban still has no public emergency evacuation plan.)
Activists contest stormy weather bill amendment
January 12 2012 at 10:44am
By Colleen Dardagan
Comment on this story
Environmental activists are to make a submission on Thursday to try to stop
government's plan to amend the South African Weather Service Act, saying it
would render the Air Quality Act "meaningless".
The bill, among other proposed restrictions, is aimed at "protecting the
general public against the distribution of inaccurate or hoax warnings or
weather predictions that could cause public panic and lead to evacuations
and/or the unwarranted waste of resources - money, people and techno-logy",
However, Durban environmental activist Desmond D'Sa said the proposed
amendments were "madness".
"The amendments have negative implications for the environment. We will not
be able to reveal the results of air quality tests that we take in the
Durban South basin on a regular basis.
"The Air Quality Act will become meaningless," he said.
According to the amendment, people could face a R10 million fine or 10
years' jail for issuing information that may be construed as a "severe
weather or pollution-related warning", without written permission from the
Robin Hugo, the staff attorney at the Centre for Environmental Rights in
Cape Town, said they would make their submission today.
Hugo said the submission would encompass the concerns of several
environmental groups, including those from the South Durban basin.
"The department has set January 17 and 18 for public comment on the bill,
but I believe those dates might change," she said.
DA environmental affairs spokesman Gareth Morgan said the prohibition from
making pollution-related warnings without official consent was "absurd".
"The NGOs that work in the highly polluted communities such as the South
Durban basin perform excellent work, monitoring pollution, that supplements
the work of the state.
"Why should they seek permission from the weather service to issue a
warning?" he said.
Albie Modise, spokesman for the Environment Department, said the bill would
ensure there was no possible confusion over warnings.
"If it comes from the weather service, it is official. If it does not, check
with the weather service first," he said. - The Mercury
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