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Full Disclosure 2016

Summary of updated findings

In October 2016, after a long process of engagement with the CER, Sasol uploaded the atmospheric emission licences for its operations onto its website.1

The CER has, since its inception, campaigned for the public availability of environmental licences. Contrary to the position held by many corporates in South Africa, these licences are not confidential “contracts” between a licence holder and the state. Environmental licences comprise the set of conditions in terms of which environmentally harmful activities are authorised to take place, and as such it is clearly in the public interest that they be freely available, to enable civil society and affected communities to ensure that licence holders are complying with the law.

The CER commends Sasol for this first step towards greater transparency, and hopes that other companies will take their cue from Sasol and provide public access to their environmental authorisations, water use licences, atmospheric emission licences, waste management licences, mining and prospecting rights.

After the publication of Full Disclosure 2016, the DEA published its 2015/2016 NECER. The 2014/2015 NECER had referred to an inspection which had taken place at Sasol’s Secunda refinery on 24 and 25 February 2015. The 2014/2015 NECER stated that the inspection report had not yet been issued to the facility, and that the findings of the inspection could not yet be released. The 2015/2016 NECER confirms that the inspection report for the 2015 inspection was issued to the facility on 25 August 2015. The findings of the inspection are set out as follows in the 2015/2016 NECER:

  • Non-compliance with conditions of the AEL including PM exceedances at the Boilers and West Sludge Incinerator;
  • emission monitoring and sampling not in line with the approved methods;
  • consultation meetings not held with interested and affected parties as required; and
  • storage of hazardous waste in a manner which contravenes the general duty of care in respect of waste management and storage.

These findings of non-compliance were not disclosed to shareholders in Sasol’s 2016 Integrated Report. In future, companies like Sasol will need to disclose far more detailed information about environmental non-compliance, as a result of the inclusion in the King IV Report™ of the following requirement under Principle 13, “Compliance governance”:

Details of monitoring and compliance inspections by environmental regulators, findings of non-compliance with environmental laws, or criminal sanctions and prosecutions for such non-compliance should be disclosed.