New SANRAL CEO Scraps Proposed De Beers Pass Route01 March 2017
Cullinan and Associates acts for the Harrismith Business Forum (‘the Forum’), which is opposed to the construction of the proposed National Road 3, between Keeversfontein to Warden in the Free State, also referred to as the De Beers Pass Route (‘DBPR’). The proponent for this development is the South African National Roads Agency Limited (‘SANRAL’).
We are pleased that the proposed road has been scrapped by SANRAL and we will continue to support the Forum's efforts in ensuring that any road upgrades are done in a just and sustainable manner.
The Forum has actively participated in the Environmental Impact Assessment process for the DBPR, since its inception. Its opposition to this project is informed by the proponent’s unsound analysis of the project’s economic, environmental and social impacts. Notably, the Forum’s team of specialists extensively reviewed and challenged the various studies included in the Draft and Final Environmental Impact Assessment Reports (‘DEIR’ and ‘FEIR’ respectively), for the proposed project.
The Department of Environmental Affairs subsequently declined SANRAL’s FEIR and directed the project’s Environmental Assessment Practitioner, to address glaring shortcomings in those submissions. On 27 February 2017, the South African National Roads Agency Limited’s (‘SANRAL’) new CEO, Mr Skhumbuzo Macozoma, indicated that the DBPR project would no longer be pursued. It appears that SANRAL will instead consider upgrading the existing N3 and this has been earmarked as one of its CAPEX projects. The Forum supports this route alternative, which would also require environmental authorisation.