Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Mineral Resources and Energy has voted against a proposal to launch an investigation into how bids were awarded for a multi-billion-rand programme to fast-track new power production.

Karpowership, a unit of the Turkish Karadeniz Energy Group won the bid for three projects fuelled by liquefied natural gas to provide 1,220 megawatts of electricity. This programme is aimed at mitigating the effects South Africa’s ongoing black-outs and electricity troubles. The 20-year deal will cost as much as 10.9 billion rand annually.

A number of environmental groups have actively opposed the use of more fossil fuels to deal with South Africa’s power crisis.

“The continued use of non-renewable resources will bring about irreversible damage to the environment in particular coastal communities, said Sibongiseni Gwebani from Masifundise.

Small-scale fisher and Saldahna Coastal links member  Carmelita Mostert said: “I am exceptionally frustrated and saddened that our pleas have fallen on deaf ears. Especially since we had a face-to-face zoom meeting with the Minister Barbara Creecy, where we raised our concerns. It is obvious that the government does not care about our communities, who literally depend on the oceans for their daily bread. The presence of these ships, off our coast, will have a real impact in scaring-off the fish in the area, and we fishers will be the ones going hungry. I read these developments with tears in my eyes, our already scarce fish reserves will be killed by these ships.”

Research has shown that fish will be scared off through noise pollution and the underwater cooling will change the marine ecology.