-follows the struggles of the South Durban community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), a multi-ethnic
and multi-racial alliance of ten community based organizations (CBOs) and two NGOs in South Durban
(in South Africa), against Mondi Paper (Pty) Ltd, which operates a paper mill in the area
The South African Waste Site Struggle
- a glance at the history of waste management practices in South Africa reveals an abysmal record of
ineptitude, poor monitoring, and environmental injustice.
-people protesting and filing legal action about the waste sites. Resulted in media attention and national
-resulted in monitoring programs. People in those areas demanded more than just monitoring and
wanted a direct say in the management of these sites
-this demand was well articulated in South Durban: agreed that community members, CBOs,
NGOs, govt, and waste tech would jointly decide, negotiate, monitor and evaluate waste management
(first time in history that all these different groups and organizations of people could have input
on waste facilities)
-some successes but also a couple of setback offset that. One struggle was in the Aloes community.
Dispute between waste tech and the community. Minister Asmal said that the contract to continue
dumping waste should be postponed until they agree with communities but it was too late because the
permit renewal was given. Protests continued which eventually resulted in a promise from the mayor
that the aloes landfill site would not be re-extended
-these battles over the siting and management of waste in South Africa have helped to heighten the
profile of environmental justice struggles and to move environmental debates in the country in general
away from the physical, technocratic, and conservation-oriented focus of the past to a more human
right centered approach.
-environmental activity in South Durban must be viewed in this broader context, where communities
and organized movements have been provided with more space to challenge the environmental abuses
of the past, but where the legacies of environmental racism and industrial; indifference still persist.
South Durban- An unfortunate history
-South Durban was, until the 1940s, a thriving market gardening area. However, in 1938 the Durban City
Council resolved that the district would be developed into an industrial estate with black resedential
areas providing a work force.
-many industries thus in South Durban
-in addition to suffering from the poor environmental practices in South Durban, the majority of the
population also live in areas of urban decay caused by the housing policies of the apratheie regime
-with the end of formal apartheid and the election of the African National Congress (ANC) some
important steps have been taken toward resolving these inequalities
-meeting between Mandela, the community, and stakeholders of Engen
-the meeting served to highlight the pollution debate as a holistic environmental and
socioeconomic problem in South Durban, rather than an isolated industrial problem
- Minister Asmal did the same thing with Waste-tech. with a multistake holder meeting
-All these campaigns have met with significant success
-These victories were attained through the united stance of a broad spectrum of communities, vigorous
public campaigning, strong political lobbying, and assitance from NGOs such as the Legal resource
Centre, and links to organizations abroad -realizing that to succeed in the environemental justice struggles in their region, a strong unfied
community voice had to be developed, various local communities in South Durban established the South
Durban Community Envrionmental Alliance.
-A vigilant, well organized, and relatively well-reourced voice, the SDCEA plays an important role, not
only because it represents people who are living amid “one of the largest concentrations of inherently
dangerous petroleum and chemical industries… and hazardous waste” but also because of industrial
vision that the national go