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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.
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.
UPL, one of the world’s largest chemical multinationals, refuses to disclose what poisoned a Durban river, the city’s air and its beaches. Now amaBhungane has accessed the inventory, which includes suspected carcinogens, neurotoxins, chemicals that “may damage the unborn child” and tons of “highly caustic” substances that burn skin on contact.
Iqbal Survé has lost another longstanding ally – the union that lent him workers’ money to help take over Independent Media. The Sactwu investment company is demanding their R300-million back, but Survé’s says his company doesn’t owe them, or its major creditor the Public Investment Corporation, a cent.
The social media messages of a young KZN provocateur, who posted calls to shut down the highways, take us a step closer to the Zuma family.
A R1.2-billion Ekurhuleni waste management project to upgrade small-scale community operators into viable businesses has ended in acrimony over broken promises, dashed hopes – and a puzzle over where much of the money went.
We cannot abandon the state, even though it feels like the state has abandoned us.
The Turkish-led consortium has filed an appeal against the rejection of its powership emergency energy solution on environmental grounds. Meanwhile the Green Scorpions recommend criminal charges arising from Karpowership’s earlier attempt to bypass environmental regulations.
Government’s strategy to address the country’s energy crisis — through its 20-year, multi-billion rand tender, has come under the microscope since energy minister Gwede Mantashe’s initial call for proposals in mid-2020. Allegations, as exposed by AmaBhungane, bring into question the true intent of those involved in the process. To know more about those allegations, dig into our archive of work on this controversial tender.
The powership conglomerate earns an astonishing amount from its specialist offering to frail and broken states. But many of its deals around the world have been criticised as exploitative and irrational. South Africa may become the biggest prize of all. And we have already helped fund the growth of this corporate empire.
The South African contract Karpowership is chasing could be a game-changer for the group, making Eskom its largest client globally. What will we pay and how much will the Turkish conglomerate pocket? Dewald van Rensburg does the sums.
The Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa planned to spend close to R200-million of its security budget on an ill-conceived community watch project that was rushed through despite questions about its funding and rationale. Now the bungled scheme is on hold.
A 20-year journey with Stefaans Brümmer and Jacob Zuma may be coming to an end, but with your support, amaBhungane’s work goes on – and remains as vital as ever.
We will make our case for transparency once again in the high court.
Charges against three municipal officials arrested this week shed new light on how top VBS figures procured investments from two Gauteng municipalities in exchange for home loans, cars – and a year-end party.