Mail & Guardian
Petrol company issues a flat denial of claims
Sasol spokesperson Matebello Motloung referred the Mail & Guardian to the statement it issued on 21 February 2019 following Erasmus’ testimony to the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC).
Sasol categorically refuted Erasmus’s claims that the company had polluted and continued to pollute the Vaal River or any other water source.
The allegation that vanadium and potassium carbonate were being dumped by its Synfuels operations into the Vaal River system was factually incorrect.
“Sasol Synfuels operations in Secunda utilises these chemicals in its Benfield operation units as agents to protect the metal of the equipment, as well as to absorb carbon dioxide. Due to the potentially harmful impact these chemicals can have on people and the environment, these chemicals are managed in accordance with the various requirements governing these hazardous substances.
“Various precautionary measures are utilised to manage any possible exposure or leakage as dictated by applicable environmental and occupational health and safety legal requirements,” it reads.
Sasol participated extensively in the SAHRC inquiry into the Vaal River’s pollution from sewage and the upper Vaal industrialisation.
“Sasol’s participation included an oral representation at the hearing of 20 November 2018, a submission of a written response on 30 November 2018, as well as accommodating a visit of the SAHRC and two SABC representatives at our Secunda operations on 5 February 2019,” the statement reads.
The SAHRC, Motloung says, concluded its inquiry into the matter and issued its final report on 17 February 2021. “It contains no findings against Sasol whatsoever. Therefore, we regard the matter as concluded.”
Erasmus, Motloung said, is no longer in Sasol’s employ after he and Sasol agreed to what she called a mutual separation in July 2020.
“Sasol promotes a culture in which all stakeholders, especially employees and personnel, are encouraged to speak up about unethical, illegal, or undesirable conduct involving Sasol and those engaged with it, without fear of retaliation or reprisal.
“We do not tolerate harassment, bullying or abusive behaviour that creates a humiliating, hostile or offensive work environment). This is underpinned by our whistleblower policy and our code of conduct, which we consistently apply, including in this matter.”
Motloung says Sasol is a key stakeholder to the sustainability of the integrated Vaal River system and “it is in all our interest in the long term sustainability of this vital resource to the regions. We remain committed to assist the SAHRC as far as reasonably possible and will fully cooperate in any subsequent inquiries once we have been formally notified.”