Community members and NGO’s call on members of Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs to act on concerns raised

Cape Town, 24 June - Community members from the four fossil fuel refining areas of South Durban, Secunda, Sasolburg and Cape Town, as well as groundWork raised their concerns to Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs in Cape Town today.

This presentation was made possible by Contact Trust, a non-government organisation based at parliament that seeks to facilitate community voices being heard in parliament.

Nicholas Kasa, from the Sasolburg Environmental Committee (SEC) raised issue with the proposal by Peacock Bay Environmental Services (PBES) to construct a hazardous waste incinerator in Sasolburg. This after both civil society and the local political representatives of the people of Sasolburg, unanimously vetoed the proposal. “We requested the Portfolio Committee to raise our concerns presented here with the MEC for Environment in the Free State, Mr Belot, and the Minister of Environment, Minister Moosa,” reports Mr Kasa.

Andy Birkenshaw, of the Table View Residents Association (TVRA), presented his concerns about the Caltex Oil Refinery in Table View, and requested the representatives to take action to improve the plight of the people of Table View and the surrounding neighbourhoods. “We have often addresses the Portfolio Committee, and we want to see some action now,” stated Mr Birkenshaw.

The ongoing pollution in South Durban was once again highlighted to the politicians. Since Minister Moosa initiated his 7 point plan in 2000 to improve the environment in South Durban, there has being ongoing accidents, injuries and deaths at the petrochemical and associated industries in South Durban, reported Mr D’Sa, Chairperson of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA). Industries have not being held accountable to the deaths they have caused and the pollution than they have dumped onto the community.

groundWork presented its plans for the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), and stated that they would seek to work with local communities and international NGO’s to call on governments of the world to development a international framework to hold multi-national corporates accountable for their atrocities against the environment and humanity. “The present case of Sasol facing a possible contempt of court action, for not re-instating an injured worker, highlights the case of corporate power. They will even challenge a democratic legal system, such as the South African judiciary,” stated Bobby Peek, Director of groundWork.

For more information on the other sectors of the hearings today, please call Linden Booth at 082 878 3688.

For more information on the above issues please contact:

Bobby Peek, groundWork: 082 464 1 383
Desmond D’Sa, SDCEA: 083 982 6 939
Nicholas Kasa, SEC: 073 187 6 393
Andy Birkenshaw, TVRA: 083 703 0 183