Test results have finally confirmed that pesticides – including known carcinogens – poisoned rivers, soil and beaches in Durban. Provincial authorities say they have opened a criminal case against agro-chemical giant UPL but for residents who were exposed to toxic fumes and contaminated water, there is a growing fear of the unknown long-term health effects.
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Eight weeks after a fire at the UPL chemical warehouse, long-awaited test results confirm that chemicals contaminated soil and rivers leaving them “highly toxic”. But internal letters show that even UPL’s own experts disagreed over what the results actually meant for public safety.
Comment: AmaBhungane has argued in the Pretoria high court that donations to internal political party campaigns – which can lead ultimately to the candidate’s elevation to high office – are constitutionally required to be disclosed.
The state alleges that a 36-year-old Twitter influencer was one of the instigators that ignited widespread unrest and looting in July.
Yet another court case has laid bare allegations the former chief executive of the Public Investment Corporation secretly signed away state pensioners’ claims worth hundreds of millions of rands to help his alleged friend, media mogul Iqbal Survé.
How did a warehouse storing tons of toxic and flammable chemicals, some banned elsewhere, quietly move in next door to a school, a Makro superstore and a wetland without anyone knowing?
The long list of deadly pesticides, herbicides and intermediate products in the burned-down warehouse contains hundreds of entries totalling over 6 000m3. Among the chemicals are several banned in the EU and other countries ranging from China to Sri Lanka.
Iqbal Survé’s Independent Media — and other companies in his Sekunjalo Investment Holdings stable — have moved dozens of workers to the legally unrelated but PIC-subsidised payroll of Ayo Technology Solutions. Among them is at least one journalist — the controversial former Sunday Times investigator Mzilikazi wa Afrika.