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Re: Unnecessary Imposed Megaprojects: 8-11 May

from Patrick Bond on May 04, 2014 07:46 PM
> On 2014/05/04 12:05 PM, chris williams wrote:
> ... Here in Australia (hosting G20 meetings) we learn that OECD has 
> identified $50tr of infrastructure projects it wants to fund prior to 
> 2030.  How many unnecessary, imposed projects will that be? 
> Furthermore, OECD seeks to tap $29tr of global pension funds, which 
> include past and present contributions of workers. Presently, unions 
> are stirring on this matter, but the composition of worker pension 
> funds seems to vary country - to - country, so any inquisition or 
> opposition will take skill and time to mobilise.

It is vital to contest the G20 - and BRICS (which is due to launch its 
BRICS Bank in July at a summit in Fortaleza, Brazil) - on megaprojects. 
Here is one of interest: a $25 billion port/petrochem expansion in 
Durban, South Africa. When, last Monday, as you see below, /The 
Economist /and /The Guardian's /John Vidal both offered admiring stories 
featuring Desmond v. Goliath, then maybe we have a fighting chance of 
winning hearts and minds! The reason for the press attention is that 
salt-of-the-earth Durban rabble-rouser Desmond D'Sa just won the Goldman 
Prize. Des is profiled in this 6' mini-doccie: 

  port-petrochemical expansion threatens South Durban

*Published on 28 Apr 2014 *

The largest site-specific infrastructure investment in South Africa is 
hotly contested. 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize winner Desmond D'Sa 
and other community residents and experts explore overlapping crises in 
South Durban. They show how displacement, deindustrialisation, the 
BRICS, shipping and trucking, climate and pollution, corruption and 
resistance come together in a $25 billion mega-project disaster. For 
more see http://www.sdcea.co.za, http://ccs.ukzn.ac.za and 



  Desmond D'Sa, 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize, South Africa

Goldman Prize <http://www.youtube.com/user/goldmanprize>Goldman Prize 


  South Africa's 'cancer alley' residents face new threat from port

*Decades of activism have made some gains, but the expansion of Durban 
port will wreak new devastation for many communities*

  * John Vidal <http://www.theguardian.com/profile/johnvidal>
        John Vidal <http://www.theguardian.com/profile/johnvidal>

      o theguardian.com <http://www.theguardian.com/>, Monday 28 April 2014

MDG : 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize : outh Durban Community 
Environmental Alliance Desmond D'Sa
South Durban environmental alliance co-founder, Desmond D'Sa, recipient 
of the 2014 Goldman prize. Photograph: Jenny Bates for the Guardian

The smells drifting into the cramped office of the South Durban 
Community Environmental Alliance <http://www.sdcea.co.za> range from 
sweet and sickly to stomach-churning. Volunteers and others who work 
with the small group can see oil and gas plants, refineries, landfills, 
agro-chemical works, shipyards, paper mills and a massively expanding port.

"We have high levels of air pollution 
<http://www.theguardian.com/environment/pollution> which would be 
unacceptable in the US or anywhere in the rich world. Nearly 70% of all 
South Africa <http://www.theguardian.com/world/africa>'s industry is 
concentrated here. It stinks," says Desmond D'Sa, who co-founded the 
coalition of environmental, community and church groups in 1995 and who 
this week has won a Goldman award <http://www.goldmanprize.org/home>, 
the world's most valuable ($150,000) international prize for grassroots 
environment work.

D'Sa refers not just to the smells that waft around south Durban, but to 
the 300,000 people, including some of South Africa 
<http://www.theguardian.com/world/southafrica>'s most disenfranchised, 
who must live cheek by jowl with more than 300 industrial plants. Many, 
like D'Sa's own family, were forcibly moved there in apartheid days.

"I was 15 and we lived in Cato Manor, the biggest community of mixed 
folk in South Africa. It was a very radical place in the apartheid era. 
But mum and dad were brutally forced to move by the army and security 
forces. We were put in a truck, they bulldozed our house and suddenly 
the family of 13 had to live in four rooms in one of Africa's most 
polluted places."

Racial and environmental injustice went together, he says. "There were 
smokestacks everywhere, chemical works, emissions. We were gasping for 
breath. We began to understand something was very wrong."

By the 1980s, south Durban had become known as "cancer 
<http://www.theguardian.com/society/cancer> alley" and the toxic capital 
of Africa, with the highest rates of cancer and asthma 
<http://www.theguardian.com/society/asthma> on the continent. More than 
100 smokestacks belched out over 50m kg of sulphur dioxide each year, 
children in local schools had three times the rate of respiratory 
diseases as those living outside the area and nearly everyone had skin 
ailments and diseases.

The area is still massively polluted, he says, with regular chemical 
fires and innumerable leaks in the oil and gas pipelines that crisis 
cross the communities.

"Leukaemia is 24 times the normal there. My mother was ill for years. My 
brother died of cancer, my daughter has asthma. Eleven of the 12 
families in the council block where I live have asthma. In every block 
you have around 50% of people who have respiratory problems. I still 
look out of my window and see refineries. I am a victim as much as 
anyone. We pay the price," he says.

MDG : 2014 Goldman Environmental Prize : Desmond D'Sa South Durban 
Community Environmental Alliance
Campaigns in south Durban have forced the government to introduce air 
pollution standards. Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal/AFP/Getty

Perhaps because of the grim physical environment, Cato Manor and then 
south Durban, where people were dumped, became an extraordinary hotbed 
for political resistance to social and environmental injustice. Only 
streets apart lived human rights activist Kumi Naidoo, now director of 
Greenpeace International, fellow 1998 Goldman prize winner Bobby Peek, 
who went on to advise Mandela on environmental issues, and Nkosazana 
Dlamini-Zuma, Mandela's minister of health and now chair of the African 
Union Commission.

D'Sa, a former chemical worker and union leader, worked with Peek to 
organise the diverse south Durban communities to confront government and 
industry. He helped develop a "smell chart" to help people identify 
which toxic chemicals they were being exposed to, trained people to 
measure pollution and has taken companies to court and closed down 
hazardous waste sites. In 20 years of activism, D'Sa and his small army 
of local volunteers have forced government to introduce air pollution 
standards and got much of the industry in the area to switch from oil to 

Standing up to the authorities, however, has led to personal danger. His 
home has been firebombed by unknown people and because of constant 
threats, he lives apart from his family.

The biggest threat, he says, is the planned expansion of Durban port to 
a monster development able to handle 20m containers a year -- nearly 10 
times as many as today. It would mean south Durban becoming a 
construction site for decades, the devastation of several suburbs and an 
inevitable increase in crime, smuggling, prostitution and air pollution.

"It will bring major new roads, warehouses, railways. All the green 
space will go. We are not against development. We are against being 
bulldozed," he says. "We thought we were free after Mandela came into 
government. Now we see the Zuma government retreating into nationalism 
and conservatism. Environmental injustice fits into all of this. We are 
promised jobs and better health. But people are not fooled any more."



/The Economist/


Baobab <http://www.economist.com/blogs/baobab>


  Durban port expansion

      South African campaigner wins environmental prize

Apr 28th 2014, 11:47 by V.M. | London

THE man leading the opposition against a proposed expansion of the port 
in Durban, South Africa's largest, has won the 2014 Goldman 
Environmental Prize in San Francisco. Desmond D'Sa, a community leader, 
campaigns against toxic waste dumping in South Durban, a poor but highly 
industrialised area.

The South African government wants to expand the Durban port to cope 
with growing cargo traffic. The multi-billion-dollar project to deepen 
and widen berths at the container terminal will create the largest cargo 
port in the southern hemisphere, boosting the economy and creating a 
multitude of jobs, according to Transnet, the government-owned 
corporation behind the project.

Mr D'Sa and his South Durban Community Environmental Alliance, an 
association representing local communities, are sceptical. They believe 
they will gain only casual jobs, while bearing the brunt of the social 
and environmental costs.

The proposed expansion may displace 30,000 people and affect the lives 
of 300,000 more. To date, the government has not committed to plans to 
rehouse the displaced and compensate those otherwise affected. The 
impact on the area's wildlife has not been fully assessed.

Local communities have an unhappy history. The south Durban basin, which 
houses 70% of the region's industry, including hundreds of oil and gas 
refineries, chemical companies and paper mills, was originally populated 
by indentured servants working in local sugar plantations. The apartheid 
government forcibly relocated additional residents there to create a 
pool of cheap labor for the emerging industrial economy. Mr D'Sa and his 
family were a part of this forced migration.

"(The expansion) will cause the biggest social upheaval since apartheid. 
We already suffered enough trauma under apartheid: we lost our lands, 
our houses, our communities. We don't want to go through that again," 
says Mr D'Sa, who has vowed to fight the plan at every step.

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