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Patrick Bond at South Durban BRICS-from-below campaign against port-petrochemical expansion, 27 November

NGOs to wage war on ‘trifecta of troubles’ in South DBN
MEMBERS of the South Durban Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), groundWork and the Centre for Civil Society (CCS), along with South Durban residents declared war last week against big industry and the industrialisation of South Durban.
Erin Hanekom 2 December 2013

About 70 people gathered at the John Dunn Home in Wentworth on Wednesday, 27 November to discuss the trifecta of troubles facing the area, namely the climate crisis, unsustainable urbanisation and trucking.

The trio of speakers, Desmond D’Sa (SDCEA), Patrick Bond (CCS) and Bobby Peek (groundWork) denounced the BRICS summit through their BRICS from below counter-summit; the port expansion; COP 19 (which they renamed Conference of Polluters), the refineries and trucking companies. Their plan is to eliminate these industries and the proposed developments and to create a non-toxic, post-carbon strategy for South Durban through protest, education and sanctions, if necessary.

A video uploaded to Youtube describes the fears of residents and the issues the trio of organisations hope to highlight. They hope the video will go viral and attract people to the cause. In it they propose multiple-community involvement and widespread action.

At the meeting, Bond said South Durban needed to detox from its current high industry landscape, instead of ‘retoxing’ by increased developments. D’Sa and Peek asked the crowd to help them in recruiting more people for the large scale struggle they foresee in 2014. “These protests we have had over the last few years have all been a part of a broader programme, which will go into full force in 2014, as we work to dismantle these harmful corporations,” said D’Sa.

Residents at the meeting painted the picture of an apocalyptic future for South Durban and likened the upcoming struggle to reclaim their homes, neighbourhoods and livelihoods to that of the struggle for democracy.

“We need to motivate people to join the fight, because if we do not, many people will suffer,” said resident, Bongani Mkhize.

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