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Publication Details

Reference
Sparks, Stephen (2006) A long history: Civil society, pollution and the
Wentworth oil refinery. Centre for Civil Society Research Report 45: 1-27.

Summary
This report aims to historicise post-Apartheid civic mobilisation against pollution associated with oil refining in south Durban. There has been a tendency to mythologise this mobilisation, seeing it as the embodiment of a new local resistance to globalisation and the ANC government’s adoption of what has been characterised as ‘neoliberal’ economic policies. Certainly, south Durban represents an important test case for post-Apartheid South Africa, juxtaposing major multinational petrochemical industries and residential neighbourhoods with histories of forced removals during Apartheid.3 The continued experience of pollution associated, in particular, with the ‘big 3’ industrial complexes in the area (Mondi, Sapref and Engen), has led to increasing frustration and anger among residents about perceived political complicity with environmental abuses by oil companies.

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