Broken promises: the failure of the Highveld priority area

The release of the report, entitled Broken Promises: the Failure of the Highveld Priority Area, coincided with a peaceful protest at the Department of Environmental Affairs annual Air Quality Lekgotla in Woodmead by people who live and work in areas most effected. People on the Highveld are dying prematurely and suffering from respiratory and cardiac illnesses because of the government’s controversial non-enforcement of minimum emission standards for Eskom and Sasol. This is one of the findings releasedin a damning report by the Centre for Environmental Rights, groundWork and the Highveld Environmental Justice Network. In 2007 the Minister of Environmental Affairs declared 31 000 square kilometres of the heavily-polluted Mpumalanga Highveld a priority area in terms of the Air Quality Act. The Highveld Priority Area (HPA) was created because, as the DEA said at the time, "people living and working in these areas do not enjoy air quality that is not harmful to their health and well-being".