groundWork (Friends of the Earth South Africa)
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance

BATTLE ESCALATES BETWEEN CIVIL SOCIETY AND ENVIROSERV AT SHONGWENI LANDFILL

Correspondence between EnviroServ and SDCEA attempts to fudge facts of malodour and dumping of toxic waste at sea

Durban, South Africa, 15 September 2016 – In its latest communication with the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) [1] regarding its problematic Shongweni landfill site – the source of 300 complaints in one week in August – EnviroServ has called statements by the environmental justice watchdog “sensational and factually incorrect” [2].

Residents of Hillcrest, Shongweni, Waterfall, KwaNdengezi and Dassenhoek have since December 2015 been complaining of malodour emanating from the Shongweni landfill site, allegedly causing “asthma, nausea, vomiting and bronchitis” [3]. Together with the SDCEA and members of these communities, pressure has been placed both on the company and the Department of Environmental Affairs with little success – as the problem continues today.

Alarm was further sounded when it was announced that EnviroServ received authorisation from the department in an 11 point plan to dump approximately 27 million litres of toxic waste leachate into the ocean through the Southern Sewerage Works [4].

In response to this most recent letter penned by EnviroServ Group CEO Dean Thompson to Desmond D’Sa and the SDCEA, the SDCEA and groundWork wishes to clearly state the following:

 

A resolution adopted by the organisations at a meeting held on the 8th of September [5], continues to be upheld and states the following:

“We therefore stand in solidarity with the people of Shongweni, believing they are protected by our Constitution.  It is an injustice that they have to suffer the consequences of  increased toxic waste production in KwaZulu Natal, the mismanagement of waste by corporations in general and Enviroserv in particular and the failure of all government departments to protect the residents of the area by allowing this practice to continue.”

FOOTNOTES

[1] The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) is a non-profit organisation which aims to, inter alia, service the common interests of participating civil society organisations, provide a common structure through which different sectors of civil society can explore, strengthen and promote matters of common interest justice or relating to environmental justice and sustainable development and create a culture of environmental justice and sustainability www.sdcea.co.za
[2] See attached letter from EnviroServ Group CEO Dean Thompson to Desmond D’Sa and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance on 14 September 2016.
[3] See latest news article on this issue http://www.iol.co.za/news/crime-courts/waste-firm-in-a-fix-over-toxic-fumes-2066740
[4] See attached update on its 11 point plan presented by EnviroServ on 1 September 2016.
[5] See attached resolution made by civil society organisations on 8 September 2016 in solidarity with the communities affected by EnviroServ’s Shongweni landfill site.

CONTACTS

Desmond D’Sa
South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
Coordinator
Tel (w): 031 461 1991
Tel (m): 083 982 6939
Email: desmond@sdceango.co.za