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


Update on the port expansion development in south Durban

Durban, South Africa, 25 August 2016 – The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) [1] has recently won a protracted battle with Transnet after it was announced that the Durban dig-out port project would be delayed until 2032.

As a result of SDCEA’s organised resistance over many years, the organisation was in discussion with Transnet, of which the final outcome was this latest announcement. This is an important victory for SDCEA and the communities it represents, as it means retention of the community space as a residential zone, and no displacement of residents and workers such as the old Durban airport farmers.

The organisation, however, has come out stating that the fight for a community-driven development model in south Durban is far from over. 

According to SDCEA’s Coordinator, Desmond D’sa, “Whilst this victory brings us a substantial amount of satisfaction in the short term, we must still consider this project a long term struggle for the communities of south Durban. SDCEA will continue to put pressure on the relevant authorities to ensure that the dig-out port does not ever happen”.

Transnet has verbally stated that the 16 farmers that have been working on the old Durban airport land for 30 years will be secured another decade. SDCEA has, however, requested a formal written document be drawn up. SDCEA continues to fight for the farmers’ rights to maintain their livelihood on the airport land.

“Farming is our livelihood, it is out basic survival and we do not know of anything else we can do if this is taken away from us,” explains Siga Govender, Chairperson of the Airport Farmers’ Association.

“The potential negative impact on the environment and communities from the proposed port development and its related infrastructure outweigh the positives that have government has spoken about. We will continue to research, educate and inform, build our campaigns and stand up for people and our environment,” states D’sa.

Environmental justice organisation groundWork [2] supports SDCEA in its campaign against the dig-out port and broader port expansion developments.



[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
[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


South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
Desmond D’Sa
Tel (w): +27 31 461 1991
Tel (m): +27 83 982 6939

Priya Pillay
Project Manager
Tel (w): +27 31 461 1991
Tel (m): +27 782 035 4138