DA, IFP want authorities held accountable for UPL Cornubia chemical spill

DA, IFP want authorities held accountable for UPL Cornubia chemical spill

The Democratic Alliance (DA) and Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) say eThekwini Municipality and the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs must be held accountable for the UPL chemical spill.

UPL Chemical Plant in Cornubia burning factory Durban SA Unrest 2
Nokukhanya N Mntambo

The factory in Cornubia, north of Durban, was torched by looters in July, sparking one of the biggest environmental disasters the city has seen.

The fire burned for days, releasing toxic chemicals into the air, as well as the rivers and the sea.

The warehouse had been storing agricultural products, including pesticides.

Over the weekend, Environmental Affairs Minister Barbara Creecy released the preliminary report of the investigation into the disaster.

It was found that UPL was operating unlawfully.

The IFP's spokesperson on Environmental Affairs Narend Singh says it's worrying that government officials are not implicated.

"We would like to question why non of the authorities at both the municipal and the provincial level have been implicated for their shortcoming because one cannot understand how a company can operate without their local authority being eThekwini Municipality and province granting them a status.

"It is not good enough to say that the company did not have the necessary permission. It should have been the responsibility of those government departments to have checked and monitored."

The DA's spokesperson on Environmental Affairs Dave Bryant says the municipality and the provincial government's level of involvement must be ascertained.

"I think the municipality or the local authorities, one of two things have happened either they didn't as they say have any idea what was being stored at the facility which means that you know that are completely incompetent or they did know and they chose to look the other way."

Meanwhile, Minister Creecy says a report by independent specialists submitted by UPL recommending the reopening of closed beaches is being peer-reviewed overseas.

She says they will only make a decision once they have the input of the experts in the UK and US.


New Newswatch podcast banner yellow

Show's Stories