Cape Town - In another blow for Kuils River residents who have been complaining about pollution from steel company Cisco, mayor Dan Plato told them that he is referring their concerns to the national government.
Earl Polman, chairperson of Vredelust Ratepayers’ Association, said the City believed that it had exhausted all options.
“The mayor said he would be in contact with national government,” said Polman.
“We are not happy with anything. Many of the people in Kuils River are affected by this and we are inhaling the fumes and chemicals on a daily basis,” Polman said.
Lyndon Khan, Plato’s spokesperson, said broader consultation on the issue was required.
“A resolution to the grievances raised may require input from broader stakeholders,” said Khan. Plato met with residents a week ago.
In January last year, the City council told residents that after measuring the noise limits, a legal notice was served on Cisco to reduce the noise and a docket for prosecution was lodged for contravening the Western Cape Noise Control Regulations.
The matter was heard in the Blue Downs Magistrate’s Court on March 6 and April 3 (last year) and both court cases were appealed by Cisco. The next court dates were set for May 22, 23 and 24 this year. “The court’s decision will have to be respected,” Khan said.
Residents want the company to be rezoned and to be deemed as a noxious trader (a company that is disreputable because it caused a great deal of pollution).
Cisco was established in the 1960s and operated until 2010. During the company’s shutdown period, housing developments began in Kuils River in areas such as Vredelust, Jagtershof, St Dumas, Highbury and Silver Oaks.
According to residents, when they purchased their homes they were under the impression the factory would no longer be operating.
However, in October 2012, the industrial plant was purchased by DHT Holdings, which continued trading as Cisco. DHT Holdings invested R550million in upgrading the industrial plant with the hope of creating more than 300 jobs in the coming years. Meanwhile, the Industrial Development Corporation of SA, through the Department of Trade and Industry, invested an additional R230m.
Heinrich Kriel, general manager at Cisco said: “Cisco has a social, economic and environmental responsibility to contribute to the growth of the economy and supply job opportunities to the people in the local community. A lot of focus has and still is going into managing our environmental responsibility in ensuring being a responsible business.”
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