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Air Quality

11 July 2024 Media Release: Vehicle Emission Testing done in Hessequa

Media Release: Vehicle Emission Testing done in Hessequa

11 July 2024

Vehicle emission testing was recently conducted by Garden Route District (GRDM) and Hessequa Municipalities. The main objective of this ‘drive’ was to raise public awareness about vehicle emissions and to minimize their impact on ambient air quality in the region. The Garden Route district comprises of seven municipal areas, including Hessequa, Mossel Bay, George, Knysna, Bitou, Oudtshoorn and Kannaland.

Dr Johann Schoeman, Manager: District Air Quality Control, said: “Vehicle emissions testing is listed as a function of local authorities in terms of the National Framework for Air Quality Management in South Africa and is also regulated under Section 15 of the Hessequa Municipality: Air Pollution Control By-Law”.

“We stopped vehicles and each one had to undergo a visual inspection, and further testing was conducted with a ‘Smoke Check 1667 Opacity Meter’ on vehicles that emitted excessive dark smoke,” he said.

According to Schoeman, vehicles that were tested and failed were issued a repair notice, directing each owner to take their vehicle to a specified location for re-testing.

The vehicle emission testing campaign was conducted at the Sunrise picnic spot on the western entrance to Riversdale on the N2. A total of twenty-five (25) vehicles were stopped for inspection and testing.

Schoeman said drivers cooperated and all the vehicles passed the inspection. This indicates proper maintenance, especially of the large mainline trucks.

The GRDM’s Air Quality Management Section would like to thank Shagon Carelse and his team for their assistance and excellent cooperation in making the campaign a success.

Feature Image and Other Pictures Caption: Officials conducting visual and smoke check inspections during the recent vehicle emission testing in Hessequa.




The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (1996) states that everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being. Recognizing this, the Garden Route District Municipality is taking proactive steps to fulfil its environmental responsibility by developing a 4th generation Air Quality Management Plan (AQMP).

The AQMP serves as a strategic blueprint for tackling air pollution within a specific area. It begins with a thorough assessment of current air quality conditions, identifying sources of pollution, and analysing trends over time. From there, the plan outlines targeted interventions aimed at minimizing health risks and environmental impacts associated with poor air quality. Public participation and collaboration from interested and affected parties is key in this endeavour.

We invite any person wishing to make comments with regards to the Air Quality Management Plan, to submit their comments in writing within 3 months of publication of this notice, either via email or SMS, or verbally via telephone or by attending stakeholder engagement meetings.

Dr Johann Schoeman – Email: | Tel: 044 693 0006 Jodi Howard – Email: or | Tel:  011 792 0880

Click and dowload the official Public Notice.

MG Stratu
Municipal Manager
54 York Street
PO Box 12

Tel:   044 803 1300
Fax:  086 555 6303
Notice number: 73/2024

11 January 2024 Media Statement: Garden Route District Municipality successfully defends Atmospheric Emission Licence Decision in Court

Media Statement: Garden Route District Municipality successfully defends Atmospheric Emission Licence Decision in Court

For immediate release
11 January 2024

During 2021, the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Air Quality unit received an application for an Atmospheric Emission Licence (AEL) from Rooikat Recycling (Pty) Ltd for a proposed waste-to-energy pilot plant in Great Brak River, Mossel Bay district. The granting of the licence was also subjected to Environmental Authorisation (EA), with the competent authority being the Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning: Waste Directorate. The Environmental Authorisation and atmospheric emissions licencing processes ran concurrently. Two public participation processes were conducted, one for the EA and one for the AEL process. Sharples was appointed by the Applicant (Rooikat Recycling (Pty) Ltd to facilitate the applications as well as the public participation process, as required by legislation.

The Rooikat (PTY) Ltd Recycling Plant in Great Brak River.

From the onset, the application drew a lot of public attention. Several Great Brak River residents were concerned about the effect of the facility on their health and well-being.

The decision to grant the licence was based on various factors as guided by Section 39 of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (Act 39 of 2004).  The effect of the facility on the health and well-being of the residents were, amongst others, guided through an air quality impact report done by Lethabo Air Quality Specialists. This study indicated the emissions to be negligible and within the minimum emission limits of the specific licence categories and not exceeding the South African Ambient Air Quality Standards.

The Department granted Environmental Authorisation to Rooikat Recycling (Pty) Ltd after which the GRDM granted the Provisional Atmospheric Emissions Licence. Both these authorisations were, however, suspended due to two appeals lodged, one appeal by the Great Brak River Ratepayers Association.  The appeals were rejected by the Western Cape MEC and the GRDM Municipal Manager (the respective appeal authorities).

The issuing of the Provisional Atmospheric Emission Licence to Rooikat Recycling (Pty) Ltd then took effect.

A resident of Great Brak River, Mr Evert de Lange (refer to Mossel Bay Advertiser article of 29 July 2022 (Munisipaliteite en Wes-Kaap MEC voor hof gedaag oor Rooikat) then lodged a case, case 254/22, on 12 July 2022 at the High Court in George against, amongst others, the Garden Route District Municipality (First Respondent). There were multiple complaints, but in essence his complaint was that the GRDM did not follow due process in terms of Public Participation.

Stadler and Swart was appointed to represent the GRDM with its defence.

The Municipality’s issuing of the AEL to Rooikat was an administrative decision.  Although not articulated as such in the Plaintiffs Particulars of Claim (POC), the Plaintiff’s challenge to the public participation process leading to the AEL is, in substance, a review under the Promotion of Administrative Justice Act, 2000 (PAJA).

Section 7(1) of PAJA requires reviews of administrative action to be instituted within 180 calendar days.  Here the Plaintiff did not exercise internal remedies before instituting PAJA application and the lapse of time between the Municipality’s appeal decision and the date of summons exceeded 180 days.

Section 38(2) makes section 24 of the National Environmental Management Act (NEMA) applicable to applications for atmospheric emissions licenses.  Similarly, section 24(1A)(c) of NEMA places the sole responsibility for the public participation process on the applicant.

The Plaintiff’s averments that the Municipality failed in a duty to conduct the public participation process, is also legally unsustainable.  The Municipality plays no role in the public participation process; it evaluates the process as part of an atmospheric emissions license application.

On 28 November 2023 in the High Court of South Africa, Eastern circuit, local division, George, Honourable Judge Erasmus ordered that:

  1. The Plaintiff withdraws its claim against the Defendants.

  2. That the Plaintiff pays the First Defendant`s (GRDM) cost on a party-to-party scale, either taxed or as agreed.

  3. Third Defendant (MEC) did not seek an order for cost.

This order closes the Rooikat case. The ruling was in essence based on the fact that the Judge had insurmountable problems with Mr De Lange`s locus standi. The case should not have been referred to the court as Mr de Lange did not exhaust the internal remedies to address his concerns. That is: did not partake in the public participation process, did not object or appeal within these processes and, also, did not use the PAJA process within the 180 days.

It is also important to note that the Air Quality unit followed all the correct procedures to deal with the application.

District Manager for Air Quality Control at GRDM, Dr Johann Schoeman, highlighted: “The project is operational –  all start-up tests have been concluded and an official commission date was determined and communicated to the Air Quality unit in terms of its Provisional Atmospheric Emissions Licence”.

Schoeman further stated that “a continuous emissions monitoring system is recording their emissions, and the monitoring reports are submitted to the Air Quality unit. There are no exceedances at this stage. All relevant conditions are being complied with. Complaints in the Great Brak River area are not attributed to the Rooikat Recycling project and the conclusion is that the Rooikat Recycling Project does not have a detrimental impact on the environmental and the health of the receptors”.


22 September 2023 Media Release: Focus on the Garden Route District Municipality Industry Working Group

Media Release: Focus on the Garden Route District Municipality Industry Working Group

For immediate release
22 September 2023

The industry working group focusing on air quality management was established early in 2011, short after the new National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act (NEMAQA) came into full effect on 1 April 2010 and the old Atmospheric Pollution Prevention Act (APPA) of 1965 repealed.  The focus of the platform is to actively involve the industrial sector in Air Quality Management and to serve as a platform for information sharing and capacity building purposes.

A Working Group quarterly engagement.

The quarterly engagement include topics such as licence application procedures, the South African Atmospheric Emission Licensing & Inventory Portal (SAAELIP), emission monitoring and reporting, legislation and proposed amendment, etc.

As the time progressed, a self-compliance auditing system was introduced which requires industry to verify compliance with conditions of their Atmospheric Emission Licence. The compliance verification is completed on the municipal collaborator portal which is tailored to each individual AEL.

“Since the transition from APPA to NEMAQA, and the handover of the Atmospheric Emission Licence function from Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning (DEADP) to the district, the working group from the district side is viewed not only for compliance purposes, but to improve service delivery, consultation, openness, and transparency and giving best value” said Dr Johann Shoeman, District Manager for Air Quality in the Garden Route.

Another achievement is that since its establishment, not one quarterly meeting was missed. “Even during Covid 19, we managed to hold meetings virtually and currently meetings are held hybrid to accommodate attendees from far,” Schoeman said.

The GRDM Air Quality unit is often complemented by external stakeholders, specifically on the Working Group and all indications are that this platform forms an essential part of managing air quality sufficiently in the Garden Route district.


12 September 2023 Media Release: Garden Route monitoring station reporting live on SAAQIS

Media Release: Garden Route monitoring station reporting live on SAAQIS

For Immediate Release
12 September 2023

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) procured a low-cost mobile sensor from Earthsense in the United Kingdom, called the Zephyr. This mobile unit can measure various pollutants such as particulate matter, sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, hydrogen sulfide, volatile organic compounds and carbon monoxide. The sensor is used throughout the district to identify air quality hot spots. These hot spots are based on historic complaints and air pollution activities. This unit has become an indispensable component of air quality management in the district.

“This is another achievement and further step in sharing important air quality information with the public, as these monitoring data have been reported on the South African Air Quality Information System (SAAQIS),” said Dr Johann Schoeman, Manager: GRDM District Air Quality Control.

SAAQIS makes air information available to stakeholders, provides a common system for managing air quality in South Africa and provides uniformity in the way data, information and reporting are managed.  The SAAQIS aims to provide public access to air quality information. The availability of information facilitates transparency in processes, informs decision-making, and builds capacity. Through the SAAQIS, relevant information can be streamlined, tools are provided to assist in managing air quality, and stakeholders are made aware of air quality issues.

The SAAQIS presents real-time ambient air quality monitoring information together with the Air Quality Index on modern platforms. This information is available through the SAAQIS website (http// and an innovative mobile application tool (available on Android and iOS mobile platforms).  Besides the Zephyr, the fixed air quality station in George, under the control of the Provincial Air Quality department, and the Eskom station in Mossel Bay are also reporting on SAAQIS.

Any member of the public can now access the website and monitor the air quality results of the George station, Mossel Bay station as well as the mobile station. The mobile station’s location is movable, depending on where it is utilised at that specific point in time. An air quality index is plotted on the site and indicates the state of the air on a scale from excellent to poor.

The reporting live on SAAQIS is a further enhancement of air quality management in the district and a way of open and transparent communication to its residents. It lives up to our vision of “having air quality worthy of the name Garden route”.

For more information, please contact Dr Johann Schoeman, District Air Quality Manager by e-mailing

Did you know: Air Quality ambient monitoring is a statutory requirement of District Municipalities, in terms of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (Act 39 of 2004).

Click on – The map of South Africa shows three (3) green spots in our district. We have a mobile station between Mossel Bay and Herbertsdale (Mossdustria) on the far left. The other two are at Mossel Bay and at George’s. You will find the following information if you click on the homo ns mobile station.

Featured image caption : A low-cost mobile sensor from Earthsense in the United Kingdom, called the Zephyr.


11 April 2023 Media Release: Awareness about Clean Air a priority for Garden Route DM

Awareness about Clean Air a priority for Garden Route DM

For Immediate Release
11 April 2023

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is committed to promoting a healthy and sustainable environment for its residents. In light of that, GRDM is proud to sponsor the 2023 Clean Air Project, which aims to promote awareness about pollution among primary school students in circuits one and two of the Eden/Karoo educational district. This project will have a significant impact on the community with 96 teachers and 2917 learners participating.

The 2023 Clean Air Project is designed to align with the CAPS curriculum regarding pollution, and focuses on Life Skills in Grade 3. The project is divided into several stages, starting with the distribution of resources to the different schools. The resources include six (6) posters, lesson plans, worksheets, and game cards, available in English, Afrikaans, and iSixhosa.

The second stage involved a 30-minute online introduction presentation, which was well attended and received by teachers. As part of stage three, teachers were provided with self-paced online training where they can earn 5 CTDP points.

During the fourth and final stage of the 2023 Clean Air Project, the project will be implement in the classroom with the learners.  So far, the programme has been well received by all the schools and teachers involved.

It is worth noting that Oudtshoorn has achieved a reward for the best air quality in Africa, according to IQ Air. This achievement is attributed to GRDM consistent investment and contribution towards improving the air quality in the area. It is the goal of GRDM to have all the towns in the Garden Route district among the top ten with the cleanest air in Africa.

The 2023 Clean Air Project is just one of the many initiatives that GRDM’s Air Quality Section is undertaking to achieve this goal. “With the success of this project, it is hoped that more schools in the region will participate in the coming years.  The project is currently in its 6th year cycle. We have reached all the schools in the district and are currently working on the second round. The Klein Karoo was covered last year; next year and the following year, it will be George, Uniondale, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and all primary schools in-between,” said Dr Johann Schoeman, GRDM Manager: District Air Quality Control

School visits booklet 2023


Die Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit borg die 2023 Skoon Lug Projek, wat daarop gemik is om bewustheid te skep oor lugbesoedeling onder laerskoolleerders van die Eden/Karoo opvoedkundige distrik. Die projek is in lyn met die CAPS kurrikulum en fokus op Lewensvaardighede in Graad 3. Die inisiatief sluit die verspreiding van hulpbronne na skole, aanlyn opleiding vir onderwysers, en implementering van die projek in die klaskamer in. Die program is goed ontvang deur alle skole, onderwysers en ander rolspelers. Tuinroete Distriksmunisipaliteit werk daarna toe om alle dorpe in die streek onder die top tien Skoonste lug in Afrika te bevorder.


17 March 2023 Media Release: Oudtshoorn Air Quality rated the best in Africa

Media Release: Oudtshoorn air quality rated the best in Africa

For Immediate Release
17 March 2023

A recent study conducted by Swiss technology company IQ Air, with the backing of the United Nations Environment Programme, has revealed that Oudtshoorn, located in the Western Cape of Africa, has secured the top spot in the list of 15 least polluted regional cities in Africa. The efforts invested over the past decade to enhance the air quality in Oudtshoorn have paid off, as it was historically one of the most polluted towns in the Garden Route district.

According to Dr. Johann Schoeman, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Manager: District Air Quality Control: “The positive strides made to mitigate air pollution in the region have been attributed to Garden Route’s appointment as the Licensing Authority for Listed activities”.

“Air Quality management requires teamwork and needs the collaboration of various role-players.”

“Credit must be given to the Western Cape Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs, Oudtshoorn Municipality, and Industry. Air Quality in Oudtshoorn is managed through an Air Quality Management plan, coordinated by the GRDM and adopted by the Oudtshoorn Municipality,” said Dr Schoeman.

Industry buy-in has played a crucial role in achieving the visible results we see today. As residential developments continue to encroach upon industrial zones, it becomes increasingly vital to effectively manage emissions through innovative technology. Johnsons Bricks has set an excellent example with the introduction of their rotary kiln system, which has significantly reduced hazardous emissions such as Sulphur dioxide and Particulate Matter through advanced mitigation and control. Similar technological advancements have been implemented in other industries in Oudtshoorn, including the Cape Karoo International Tannery and abattoir.

Another innovative solution has been the GRDM Clean Fires campaign.  For the last seven years, GRDM has incorporated air pollution awareness as part of its community awareness-raising activities. The project was identified due to poor air quality in especially the informal settlements, caused by fires used for household purposes such as cooking and heating. A three-year tender was awarded to Mingcele (PTY)Ltd to develop the study packs and facilitate the training at Primary Schools within the Garden Route until 2024. The Western Cape Education Department was approached whereby the Clean Fires campaign is now incorporated as part of the Grade 3 curriculum. The course material is printed in Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.

Each participating school receives a study pack with the study material that is very convenient for the teacher. The course material is in line with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS), is printed in English, isiXhosa, and Afrikaans. Since its inception, the project reached all the primary schools in the garden route. The project is rotated in the region with last year (2022), again focusing on the Klein-Karoo region. Thirty-nine schools were reached, amongst others in Oudtshoorn, Uniondale, Volmoed, De Rust, Calitzdorp, Avontuur, Haarlem and Ladismith areas.  It is anticipated that 4 family members are reached per child with a cumulative impact of 8132 community members reached through this project for last year alone.

We acknowledge that there is still room for improvement and GRDM Air Quality unit will continue to strive for Air Quality worthy of the name: “Garden Route”, We want to protect the region against exploitation and build on the constitutional right to a clean environment.

The public is also welcome to contact the District Air Quality office for any further information on the project.  The office number is 044-6930006 during normal office hours.

Feature Image: Istock: Beautiful wine valley in Oudtshoorn Western Cape South Africa


Previous articles relating to Air Quality:

Garden Route is at the top of its game in controlling air quality

New Mobile Air Quality Sensor for the Garden Route

24 October 2022 Media Statement: Garden Route District Municipality’s role in the Rooikat Recycling Project

Media Statement: Garden Route District Municipality’s role in the Rooikat Recycling Project

For Immediate Release
24 October 2022

In terms of Section 36 of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, 2004 (Act 39 of 2004) the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) is charged with implementing the atmospheric emission licencing system. In accordance with the Air Quality Act, the GRDM is responsible for performing the licensing function of a licensing authority.

The Rooikat recycling PTY Ltd applied for an atmospheric emission licence on the South Africa Atmospheric Emission and Licencing portal (SAAELIP) and went through an Environmental impact assessment process. This process involved, amongst others, public participation, and specialist studies (air quality impact assessment).

After consideration, the integrated Environmental Authorisation (Waste Licence) was granted after which the GRDM also granted the Provisional Atmospheric emission licence (PAEL). Both these authorisations were appealed and both appeals were rejected by the applicable appeal authorities. Please find below the granting letter issued to Rooikat as well as the appeal outcome letter from the Municipal Manager of the GRDM, Mr Monde Stratu.

PAEL Granting letter

Reason for appeal decision


19 May 2022 Media Release: Garden Route District Air Quality Awareness Campaigns have reached more than 60 000 people so far

Media Release: Garden Route District Air Quality Awareness Campaigns have reached more than 60 000 people so far

For Immediate Release
19 May 2022

For the last seven (7) years, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has incorporated air pollution education as part of its community outreach activities. The Air Quality awareness campaign was identified in response to the poor air quality status  of informal settlements during winter seasons. Dr Johann Schoeman, District Air Quality Manager at GRDM, emphasised that the poor air quality status is amongst others sources, caused by fires used for  cooking and heating purposes. In the pictures (below) are school representatives from various schools with their study packs.

With this in mind, a three-year formal tender was advertised for the procurement of services by a training provider to facilitate training at schools within the Garden Route.  The tender was awarded to Mingcele (PTY) Ltd to develop study packs and facilitate the training at Primary Schools until 2024. Mingcele facilitates and manages several community development projects with a special focus on educational training support and environmental awareness.

Further to this, Dr Schoeman explained that the Western Cape Provincial Government Education Department was also approached to address the issue at primary school level. This effort resulted in the Clean Fires campaign now being incorporated as part of the Grade 3 curriculum.  In order to reach as many learners as possible, and being inclusive in its approach, the course material is printed in isi-Xhosa, Afrikaans and English.

The course material covers the following air pollution aspects:

  • What air pollution is;
  • The health effects thereof;
  • What causes air pollution;
  • How you can help to reduce air pollution;
  • How to make a fire;
  • How to make a “cleaner” fire for heating purposes; and
  • How to construct a stove from waste material.

Each participating school receives a study pack with study material -convenient for each teacher. The course material is in line with the Curriculum and Assessment Policy Statements (CAPS) and each resource pack consists of full colour posters, an educational game pack, lesson plans, worksheets in all three official languages of the Western Cape, a full colour booklet, a DVD including the lesson plans and worksheets with five plugins for an interactive whiteboard.

Dr Schoeman said: “Since its inception, the project reached most of the primary schools in the Garden Route district. The project is rotated in the region with this year again focusing on the Klein Karoo region. In total, 72 teachers and 2033 learners from 39 schools were reached, amongst others in Oudtshoorn, Uniondale, Volmoed, De Rust, Calitzdorp, Avontuur, Haarlem and Ladismith areas.  GRDM’s officials were involved in the official hand-over of study packs to some of the participating schools.

When determining the current project impact on the receptor environment, Dr Schoeman highlighted: “It is anticipated that four (4) family members per child are reached with a cumulative impact of 8132 community members covered through the project for this year alone”.

The project statistics for the last four years are as follows:

2019: 37 schools and 72 teachers.
2020: 46 schools and 63 teachers.
2021: 66 schools and 151 teachers.
2022: 39 schools, 72 teachers and 2033 learners.

Seventy-two study packs were handed over to the participating schools. For the last 4 years, the project almost reached 60 000 people in the Garden Route.

In closing, Dr Schoeman said: “Continuous monitoring and evaluation of the project is taking place by means of follow-ups through social media (WhatsApp), email communication and completed attendance registers”.  Adding to this he highlighted: “Due to the success of this project and the positive feedback received from the participating schools, the GRDM committed itself for another two years to expand its awareness outreach sessions”.

The GRDM Air Quality Unit encourages the public to contact their office at 044-693 0006 during office hours, for any further information regarding the project.  To learn more about air quality, visit our page at:

Feature Image: Bersig Primary School


10 May 2022 Frequently Asked Questions: Rooikat Recycling Project, Great Brak River

Frequently Asked Questions and Answers: Rooikat Recycling Project, Great Brak River

Click on the questions below to view the answers to frequently asked questions.

1. What is the Rooikat recycling project in Great Brak River?

Rooikat Recycling is developing robust, fit for purpose, thermal depolymerisation technology.  This technology will allow the treatment of waste plastic and tyres to produce a basket of fuels that can be placed in the existing market.

All waste will be delivered to the site directly from designated sources for processing. Waste will be sourced from private companies wishing to reduce their solid waste footprint and reputable waste management entities e.g., recycling companies.  Waste from the public will not be accepted.

2. What is the Garden Route District Municipality’s involvement in the project?

In terms of Section 36(1) of the National Environmental Management: Air Quality Act, Act 39 of 2004 (the Act), metropolitan and district municipalities are responsible for implementing the atmospheric emission licensing system referred to in Section 22 of the Act.

The Garden Route District Municipality is the Air Quality licencing authority for the Rooikat Recycling Project.

The Provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Developmental Planning is the competent authority for the Waste Management Licence and the subsequent Environmental Authorisation.

3. Why was an air emissions license issued?

The proposed activity triggers two Section 21 listed activities, Categories 8.1 and 3.4 and subsequently, Rooikat Recycling applied for an Atmospheric Emission License (AEL) on the South African Atmospheric Emission Licencing and Emissions Inventory Portal (SAAELIP).

The application also triggered activity 6 of the NEMA Listing Notice 2 and required Environmental Authorisation and a Waste Management Licence.

A specialist Air Quality Impact Assessment was required in terms of section 38(1)(a) and also a public participation process as per section 38(3) of the Act.

The issuing of the AEL was subjected to Environmental Authorisation as it takes precedence and must inform the AEL decision.

All Section 39 factors (impact factors) were considered in reaching the decision to issue the granting letter (minimum emission standards, ambient standards, pollution caused by the activity and effect on health, environment, best available technology, etc.)

4. What is depolymerisation?

Depolymerisation is a mild form of pyrolysis. Pyrolysis is an established chemical process that breaks down large molecules (plastic and tyres) into smaller molecules (fuel oil) by the application of heat.  Heat is supplied by burning petroleum gas (LPG) and fuel oil in a furnace.  The process uses a closed-loop system to produce oil (fuel oil).  Carbon black and petroleum gas are produced as by-products.  Petroleum gas is used internally as a fuel.  Both fuel oil and carbon black are sold as fuels or chemical feedstock.  The significant emission from the process is the combustion gas produced in the furnace.   All water produced in the process is recycled as cooling water.  Rainwater is contained on the plant and recycled.

5. What are the emissions associated with this process?

The furnace is the main emission source.  Petroleum gas and fuel oil are combusted in a purpose-designed burner in the furnace to provide heat.  The burner is designed to completely combust the petroleum gas and fuel oil to produce carbon dioxide and water, similar to a vehicle’s exhaust gas.  All combustion processes may produce by-products including particulates (black smoke) which are pollutants. To remove pollutants the combustion gas from the furnace is cleaned, by scrubbing with water, before it is released to the atmosphere.  The cleaned combustion gas is the main air emission from the process.  This is in great contrast to the common idea of tyre, plastic or waste burning or incineration.

6. Will tyres and plastic be burned in the process?

No, Garden Route District Municipality will never allow the uncontrolled burning of tyres and waste.  This is illegal.  Burning of plastic or tyres is not permitted as toxic by-products are produced and released into the atmosphere.  The proposed process does not burn tyres or plastic. The process heats tyres or plastic, to elevated temperatures, in an oxygen-free environment.

7. In the Final Bar it is mentioned that further distillation of diesel oil will take place. This changes the plant from a pilot plant to a processing production plant. Was this considered?

Yes, it was considered.  A suggestion from the public participation process was to explicitly include the distillation of oil to produce diesel, as part of the process description for transparency.  Diesel is a product of the distillation process.  The distillation step is not a new process, but a modification to improve an existing process.  There is no change in environmental impact or emission.  The classification of the plant or process is not changed.

Category 2 of the section 21 activities covers the Petroleum Industry, the production of gaseous and liquid fuels as well as petrochemicals from crude oil, coal, gas or biomass.

  • Subcategory 2.1 Combustion Installations
  • Subcategory 2.2: Catalytic Cracking Units
  • Subcategory 2.3: Sulphur Recovery Units
  • Subcategory 2.4: Storage and Handling of Petroleum Products
  • Subcategory 2.5: Industrial Fuel Oil Recyclers

The distillation of diesel is not a listed activity in terms category 2. The proposed activity triggers only 8.1 and 3.4.

The Act in terms of category 8.1 and 3.4 does not make provision for “pilot plants”. The emission limits and special arrangements for the proposed facility fully applies. For example, the installation of a CEMS unit remains a requirement although the application referrers to the proposed facility as a pilot plant.

8. The area is surrounded by many dairy farms, old age homes and tourism venues. Surely the emission of noxious gasses will have a detrimental effect on this pristine area?

The operation of the facility is highly regulated.  The facility must be operated to comply with both the Waste Management and Atmospheric Emission Licences to ensure the operation is not detrimental to the environment.

An atmospheric emission licence must be seen as a regulatory tool which is implemented to ensure compliance and protect the ambient air quality of a specific air space.   The applicant will only be issued with a Provisional AEL. Only if the applicant can prove compliance with the conditions of the Provisional for period of at least 6 months, will a full AEL be considered.  The facility cannot operate without an AEL.

Based on the outcome of the specialist study the activity will not have a significant detrimental effect on the environment, including health, social conditions, economic conditions, ecological conditions or cultural heritage. The assessment made was based on the minimum emission limits as per the categories and the results demonstrated that the emissions will not exceed the limits as per the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (GN1210 of December 2009). International ambient air quality standards were used to compare the results where ambient air quality standards for specific pollutants are not included in GN1210 of December 2009. The study also included the cumulative impact of the surrounding industries (brick factory and pole yard) on ambient air quality.

9. Why is the plant located in Great Brak River and not in another industrial location such as Mossdustria?

This site was chosen based on its zoning and is an existing industrial zone.  This site is zoned Industrial Zone 3.  The other industrial site investigated, including Mossdustria, is zoned Industrial Zone 2.  This site is part of an existing serviced development and is in a disturbed state.   The site is on the existing Mobicast facility, bordered to the north by a sawmill/pole yard and to the south by the Rheebokstene brick factory. The landfill site is also north of the pole yard.

The entire facility, including storage, office, plant and roads has a footprint of approximately 2 100m².  This is relatively small compared to the sizes of the surrounding industries; Mobicast (43 000m²), Rheebokstene (195 000m²), Woodline Timber Industries (163 000m²) and the Landfill site (74 000m²).

As the proposed site is within the existing Mobicast site on a previously disturbed area and will be fully walled/fenced, its impact on the sense of place of the area would be low. The impact on tourism in the area is negligible due to the presence of existing industry surrounding the chosen site.

10. What process was followed to offer the public an opportunity to lodge their concerns aboutthe proposed project?

Public participation is understood to be a series of inclusive and culturally appropriate interactions aimed at providing stakeholders with opportunities to express their views, so that these can be considered and incorporated into the decision-making process. Effective public participation requires the disclosure of relevant and adequate project information to enable stakeholders to understand the risks, impacts, and opportunities of the Proposed Project.

The processes regulating the application for and granting of both Waste Management and Atmospheric Emission Licenses require public participation at various stages and in different forms.  The timing and nature of the public participation is prescribed by the licensing authority and subsequent legislation.

The following public participation processes were performed as part of the application for a Waste Management Licence:

  1. Pre-application Public Participation
  2. Application Public Participation including clarification meetings
  3. Appeal to granting of Waste Management License

The following public participation processes were performed as part of the application for an Atmospheric Emission Licence:

  1. Application Public Participation
  2. Appeal to granting of Atmospheric Emission License

The following was done in terms of the Waste Management License application:

Pre-application: Due to the nature of the project, a pre-application public participation process was undertaken to obtain comments on the proposed project prior to submission of the Draft BAR application.

Application: More than 150 individuals, organisations and authorities registered as interested and Affected Parties. Methods used to inform the public were inter alia: direct notification, advertisements, site notices, availability of draft basic assessment reports and final draft basic assessment reports.  This was also supplemented with:

Clarification Meeting with Representatives of the Resident’s Associations

  • The Rooikat project team was invited to attend a virtual meeting on 23 November 2020 to provide clarity on the proposed project. This meeting was hosted by representatives from the Resident Associations in the area.

Public Participation Feedback Meeting with Interested & Affected Parties

  • The Rooikat project team hosted a virtual meeting on 10 December 2020 to provide feedback on the main comments and concerns raised during the public participation.

Appeal:  The public participation process also allows the public to appeal the Waste Management License and Air Emissions License after the licenses are granted. Appeals were lodged by the public for both licenses post granting. The appeals were reviewed by the respective licensing authorities and the final licenses were granted.

Other public participation processes followed:

  • There was a parallel Public Participation process in terms of the Air Quality Act which was done according to the requirements of the Air Quality act.
  • Furthermore, a presentation was done to the Mayor of Mossel Bay and was open to the public with a special link. Question and answer sessions were allowed.
  • Media 24 also approached Mossel Bay and Garden Route District Municipalities to produce a video. They interviewed and published a video on their network after interviewing some of the relevant role-players of the project.  Not all role-players chose to be interviewed.
  • The project was presented to the Garden Route Council and a resolution was approved to communicate the project further by means of this question and answers press release to inform the community accordingly.

11. What assurance does the public have if the projects do not live up to the expectations of not affecting the receptor environment?

The facility must be operated to comply with both the Waste Management and Atmospheric Emission Licences to ensure the operation is not detrimental to the environment.  The facility cannot operate without these licenses.

The facility is required to measure and report on its operation to the Licensing Authorities.  The Licensing Authorities also conduct inspections.  The Garden Route Municipality will ensure that the applicant operates within the regulations of the Atmospheric Emission License.  Should the facility not operate within the license conditions, the license may be withdrawn and the facility shutdown.  This has happened to another operating entity in the Garden Route District Municipality in the recent past.

For Air Quality-related queries and assistance, contact Dr Johann Schoeman (Manager: District Air Quality) via e-mail: 
Learn more about Air Quality here: Air Quality

All media-related queries can be directed to Herman Pieters (Chief Communications Officer), e-mail:

Photo credit: Istock.