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


Durban, South Africa, 15 December 2014 – The rhetoric of big infrastructure projects promoting development, employment and economic growth is at the heart of government’s National Development Plan (NDP). Planning Poverty: The NDP and the infrastructure of destruction [1] released by groundWork [2], examines this development model and argues that these plans instead represent an assault on people and their environments in the interests of corporate profit. Far from eliminating poverty and reducing inequality as it claims, the NDP will reproduce poverty and inequality.

News on the dig-out port has been scarce since July when it was announced that phase 1 of construction will not meet the expected completion date of 2020. Transnet announced that as a result of technical issues, the start date would be delayed to a date yet to be announced. Other factors for the delay include financial constraints and legislative processes, however further details are unknown.

The new port is part of the Strategic Infrastructure Project (SIP) 2, which is the Durban-Free State-Gauteng logistics and industrial corridor. Costs for the projected have continued to escalate and estimates are projected to between R75 billion and R100 billion. The project in its entirety could take between 20 to 40 years to be fully completed.

For now, Transnet is looking into a smaller expansion of the current Durban port, a project which groundWork and the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) [3] consider to be a more feasible approach. Due to poor maintenance and management, the existing port is currently running under its available capacity. If rail replaces trucking, the mangroves and sandbank are protected, and the improvement in efficiency and possible expansion of the existing port will be more sustainable.

If SIP2 does go ahead in future, it will have vast social and environmental impacts on south and broader Durban community. The report outlines the strategic infrastructure projects before zoning in on the port expansion plans proposed for south Durban under the SIP2.

In the report’s Foreword Director of groundWork, Bobby Peek states:

"A new history is being created by a new politic. A politic that is as brutal as the apartheid capitalist economy.  A politic that does not work on the principles of democracy but rather on the principles of the elite who hold political and financial power. A politic that does not work on the principle of justice but on the failed promise of economic growth for all but which delivers only to a few. In south Durban, people are living through these failed promises".

A press conference will be held in the heart of south Durban on Thursday, 18 December 2014 at 10h00 at John Dunn House, Gouritz Crescent, Wentworth*.

The event will include:

(The press conference closes here, however, media are welcome to remain)

*Directions: From the M4 south bound, take the Quality Street off-ramp; at the robots keep left; continue along and up Quality Street until an intersection at the top of Quality Street; at the robot turn right onto Austerville Road; turn left into Gouritz Crescent; follow the horse-shoe shaped road to John Dunn House.

Download the media briefing document here.


Megan Lewis
Media and Communications Officer, groundWork
Tel (w): 033 342 5662
Tel (m): 083 450 5541


[1] To read the report visit
[2] groundWork is an environmental justice organisation working with community people from around South Africa and increasingly in Southern Africa on environmental justice and human rights issues focusing on Coal, Climate Justice and Energy, Waste and Environmental Health. groundWork is the South African member of Friends of the Earth International
[3] The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) is an alliance of 16 organizations concerned with environmental justice and human rights, particularly relating to industrial pollution in south Durban, an area which is home to more than 285 000 people living in settled communities