A GROUP of Port Alfred surfers have laid a criminal charge with the police in an attempt to stop emergency dredging of the Royal Alfred Marina canals.
Jerome Boulle cited contravention of the National Environmental Management Act as the basis for their charge,
Now, he says, it is up to police to formulate a charge and decide who should be charged.
Police spokesman Luvuyo Mjekula confirmed an investigation would be conducted.
Boulle and fellow surfers have objected to the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (Dedeat) granting an emergency dredging permit to the Royal Alfred Marina Homeowners' Association after dredging was stopped last year.
The co-complainants are Mike Varela and Justin Maddocks, along with resident Joy Hayes.
The objectors are concerned about the damage being done to dunes by the disposal of silt from the river bed and use of a grader to create barriers to prevent the dredge water from running into the sea.
The department had previously warned the ratepayers that an environmental impact assessment would have to be carried out before authorisation could be granted.
But it emerged this week that the association had been allowed to deviate from a record of decision in 2007 based on a previous complaint by surfers, the source of which is unknown.
The deviation, says Boulle, means that "this sludge can be dumped into the coastal protection zone on our front doorstep without any form of EIA, in direct contravention of the Integrated Coastal Management Act". He called for all involved in taking this "emergency decision", both government and other parties, to be named so they were accountable.
The ratepayers' association applied to dredge as an emergency after new sandbanks formed in the marina canals and the entrance to the small boat harbour after floods in October.
But a written response from environmental official Dayalan Govender said the silting up of the entrances of the marina was not an emergency or crisis, but an inconvenience at best.
He also said regulatory requirements "do not differentiate the triggers of EIA-listed activities based on circumstances",
However, after that response, a dredging permit was signed by senior official Bulumko Nelana.
Further inquiries to various parties remain unanswered.