Johannesburg, 5 April 2019 — Responding to the landmark decision by the Pretoria High Court convicting BP of environmental crimes, Melita Steele, Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager for Greenpeace Africa has said:
“Greenpeace Africa applauds the perseverance of Uzani Environmental Advocacy to privately prosecute BP in a real David and Goliath battle, which has resulted in BP’s conviction as an environmental criminal. This landmark decision by the Pretoria High Court throws the door wide open for other private prosecutions of rampant environmental crimes in South Africa.
“This country has wide ranging legislation which makes it easy for activist organisations acting in the public interest to prosecute environmental criminals privately when the government fails to do so. Environmental criminals will be faced with fines and possible jail time. Greenpeace would like to see even more severe fines and actual jail time for Directors, to avoid businesses just building these costs into their business model, instead of complying with environmental laws.
“Eskom is another example of an environmental criminal due to their violations of air quality permits, which are criminal offences under South Africa’s Air Quality Act. This ruling is a stern warning to BP, Eskom and other major polluters that environmental criminals must beware: their time of breaking environmental laws with impunity has come to an end.”
Melita Steele, Senior Climate and Energy Campaign Manager – Greenpeace Africa, +27725608703, [email protected]
1. BP was convicted on 17 counts for failing to complete an Environmental Impact Assessment for the construction of petrol stations. BP still has to be sentenced.
2. The legislation referred to here is the National Environmental Management Act