WaterCAN, OUTA’s water division, has expressed profound disappointment about yet another postponement of the court case against Sasol over allegations of water pollution.  The case stems from criminal complaints against Sasol made by Ian Erasmus, a former Sasol employee turned whistleblower. He alleges that Sasol deliberately discharged water contaminated with elevated concentrations of vanadium, diethanolamine, and potassium carbonate at its Secunda operations. These alleged actions have raised significant environmental and public health concerns, prompting regulatory investigations and legal action.

Sasol now faces several charges of environmental degradation, including the unlawful disposal of waste and the negligent discharge of contaminated water.

WaterCAN’s executive manager, Dr Ferrial Adam, says continuous delays in the legal proceedings not only hinders justice but also hampers the critical process of environmental cleanup. “Tactics to prolong legal proceedings can often be interpreted as an attempt to avoid taking responsibility for the alleged wrongdoing. It is WaterCAN’s view that the postponement of the case potentially prolongs the process of identifying, assessing, and remediating the environmental damage caused by the alleged activities.” 

The case against Sasol has garnered significant attention due to its potential implications for environmental conservation and corporate accountability. 

WaterCAN urges all stakeholders involved to prioritise the case, reiterating the need for a swift and transparent legal process to determine the facts and hold those responsible for pollution accountable for their actions. “Sasol should be honest and accept their responsibility for releasing these harmful chemicals into our rivers, which ultimately land up in the Vaal. Prolonging the water pollution case, just shows that Sasol is not serious about a healthy environment”, says Adam.

Soil and water tests close to Sasol in 2022, uncovered high levels of vanadium in the soil and trace amounts in water. 

This is not the only case that Sasol is facing. The Secunda plant is also presently in court for its high levels of CO2(equiv) emissions in Mpumalanga. “We cannot stand by and watch one company pollute our air, water and soil, thus affecting people and the environment.”

WaterCAN remains committed to advocating for environmental conservation, corporate responsibility, and a just legal process. Read more about their work here.