MEDIA ADVISORY

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

DEA ‘PICKS UP SPEAR’, TAKES AIM AT ENVIROSERV’S TOXIC WASTE DUMPING

EnviroServe running scared and Ethekwini Metro in shame-faced retreat

Durban, South Africa, 23 September 2016 – The Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) Oceans and Coasts section has stopped, with immediate effect, all toxic waste leachate waste from being tankered by EnviroServ from its Shongweni landfill site to the Southern Waste Water Plant destined for the ocean.

In the future, permits will have to be sought by Ethekwini from the DEA – Oceans and Coasts – who have instigated research and analysis to take informed decisions on the standards and guidelines for waste and toxic emissions into the sea.

The DEA also confirmed that investigations are currently underway into alleged criminal activities of EnviroServ for submission to the National Prosecuting Authority.

This was revealed at the third public meeting called by the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) [1], which was held last night.  After DEA Director General, Mark Gordon, pulled out of the meeting at the last minute, a member of both the DEA’s Green Scorpions and its Oceans and Coastal branch addressed the meeting.

This success is indicative that people's power can bring pressure upon government and can also strengthen the hand of those elements in government who are committed to ensuring the environment and people’s well-being are protected.

Ethekwini Metro, who have continued to defend the leachate dumping, were conspicuous by their absence at the meeting.  EnviroServ have failed to attend a single community meeting regarding this matter.

Desmond D’Sa, Coordinator of the SDCEA – the environmental watchdog organization leading the fight – states: “The failure of our local government structures to enforce proper environmental governance jeopardises the people they were elected to serve and protect. It is unacceptable that private companies, like EnviroServ, which handle toxic materials that have the potential to be life-threatening, are allowed to act with such impunity. If the municipality chooses to turn a blind eye to such matters, the community will not let it do so for long.”

The meeting agreed that there be full and proper response to the community’s concerns and demands made to government officials two weeks ago.

Additionally, those concerned citizens, activists and organised community-based organisations in attendance pledged to fully participate in the processes that unfold to ensure people’s lives and the environment are free of hazardous pollution and that those who flaunt the laws are bought to book. 

 

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] groundWork is an environmental justice organisation working with community people from around South Africa, and increasingly Southern Africa, on environmental justice and human rights issues focusing on Coal, Climate and Energy Justice, Waste and Environmental Health. groundWork is the South African member of Friends of the Earth International www.groundwork.org.za

CONTACTS

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

Bobby Peek
Director – groundWork
Tel (m): +27 82 464 1383
Tel (w): +27 33 342 5662
Email: bobby@groundwork.org.za