Biofuels on Cabinet agenda

The long-awaited National Biofuels Strategy is scheduled to be discussed by Cabinet on 22 November.

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Biofuels on Cabinet agenda

The long-awaited National Biofuels Strategy is scheduled to be discussed by Cabinet on 22 November. Sibusiso Ngubane, the Central Energy Fund (CEF) Energy Development Corporation commercial manager, said after Cabinet has discussed the document it will be made available for public consultation for a period of three months. “Slowly but surely we are getting there,” said Ngubane. The biofuels industry analysis conducted throughout the year has identified three possible national interventions for the industry. They are clear government direction regarding blending; industry support measures; and government support for projects promoting domestic industry development and black economic empowerment. Andrew Makenete, general manager of Absa agribusiness, said government must set clear blending target percentages and target dates for the industry. “It is proposed that an E10 blend and a B5 blend by phased in by 2012,” Makenete said. – Wilma den Hartigh

Biowatch appeals ruling

Biowatch South Africa will appeal on 23 April next year against a court order forcing it to pay Monsanto South Africa’s legal costs. The costs order being appealed arose out of Biowatch SA’s successful application to the Pretoria High Court for access to information about how decisions are made in the permitting of genetically modified crops in the country. In February 2005 acting Judge Eric Dunn ordered that Biowatch SA be granted access to almost all the information it had requested. But instead of applying the general principle that costs should follow the result of litigation, Judge Dunn ordered Biowatch SA to pay the legal costs of Monsanto SA. He said Biowatch SA had been too general in its request for information and this had forced Monsanto SA to come to court to ­protect its interests. Biowatch SA said it is appealing the costs order as it is likely to have a deterrent effect on future public interest litigation. It said it will ­create the impression that if any part of a request for information is found to be insufficiently specific, even a successful litigant may be heavily penalised. – Wilma den Hartigh

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