South Durban Community Environmental Alliance & groundWork Press Statement

Invite to Protest outside Sapref (Shell and BP) - International environmental justice activist speak to residents in south Durban

November 9, 2006 - Residents of Bluff, Wentworth, Austerville, Merebank, Isipingo, Lamontville, Umlazi, Clairwood, Chatsworth, Marianridge and Durban came to listen to international speakers from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Zambia, Botswana, Angola, Ireland, Malawi, The Netherlands and South Africa. All speakers stated that communities must stand united all over the world and build alliances which puts people’s health and well-being above profits.

Reinford Mwangonde of Citizens for Justice based in Malawi, who are resisting uranium mining in local communities raised a collective concern from Southern Africa indicating that as Africans we have to stand united and resist corporate power. Having witnessed and seen with their own eyes they have come to the understanding that the South Africa government, were not in power but in fact that Multi National Corporations, like, Shell & BP (SAPREF), Engen, Mondi and Sasol were the ones in charge. They were disappointed that the Government were not acting in the interest of society.

Frank Alexander from the Construction, Engineering Industrial Workers Union, stated that workers rights were being severely eroded in a Democratic South Africa with the Casualisation of labour, using the Labour Broking system. He further stated that only communities standing united can bring about change and safe guard workers rights.

Terrance Conway from Ireland stated that having gone on the Toxic Tour of south Durban and witnessing how the communities are affected by the oil and chemical industries, he will go back to Ireland more invigorated to continue their fight not to allow their country to become south Durban.

Gerno Kwaks from the Netherlands Institute of Southern Africa: Being in south Durban has opened his eyes to how people are suffering impacts from the Dutch Multi National Corporations and other Corporations. He further committed that NiZA will continue to support the SDCEA in their struggles to obtain Environmental Justice.

SDCEA and groundWork continue to call for the introduction ofl legislation that will dismantle the power of corporations.

Contact the SDCEA Offices for more information or transport: