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Transcript of South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA)

Below is a transcript of the South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) activist Des D'Sa from South Africa, speaking of his experiences with Shell on MidWest radio today (22/05/2006). The text may be of some use as there are a number of quotes that stand out.
***************************************''Well, as a fenceline neighbour of Shell, my experience of the company is that it puts profits before people, and that over the years, over fifty years of Shell being in South Africa, Shell has damaged and maimed many people. We have huge amounts of people, educated and learned at local schools, and including the residents that are affected with Shell's dumping of tons and tons of toxic chemicals into the air. This has resulted in the educated and learned suffering from asthma, as well as leukemia and cancer, which is prevalent, very rife and high. For instance in my neighbourhood fifty two percent [52%] of the educated and learned at a local primary school have got asthma, and the leukemia rate is twenty four [24] times the norm than anywhere else in South Africa. So Shell is partly responsible for it because there are two refineries, one is Shell and one is the former Mobil company now called Engen.''The other very important thing is that the refinery has been well documented in the last ten years regarding huge amounts of explosions and fires and pipeline leaks, and gas leaks as well. So our experience is that their refineries are just bad medicine. You know, if you bring them to a clean, pleasant land like Ireland, where I'm sitting presently now, this just gets worse. And not only do the refineries and the pipelines affect people, but also the secondary chemical industries that will be developed after they approach the first refinery and pipeline. They will develop further chemical and downstream industries that will further pollute the area, and so people miles away, kilometres away will be affected. Pollution knows no boundaries, and there is no guarantee that the pipelines they are using will be able to sustain this over a long period of time.''In Durban where I come from, we've got huge petrol leaks under people's homes, millions of litres of petrol under people's homes in 2001, and that is still there... Shell is still busy trying to recover that petrol. They will be there for the next fifty years. So those [are the] sort of risks that communities are faced with.''Unfortunately in Durban is that there, we woke up too late, we woke up after, and obviously the Apartheid system had a lot to do with it, but, we woke up in the last ten years, and you know the industries were already there for over forty and fifty years.''People will bear the brunt for generations to come. And that's what I'm here to offer, I'm here to share the knowledge, offer the support that we in South Africa have received over the years from the Irish, and so I'm back here to offer my support to the Irish people and say ''Stand firm against Shell, stand firm against this Corrib gas pipeline.'' The generations that will come will benefit out of it, rather than allow Shell to continue because people will suffer, for many years, and their great-grand-children will be suffering the impacts of Shell and their pipeline.''Des D'Sa, South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA), South Africa, speaking in Mayo, Ireland, May 2006 .

Posted Date: 
25 May 2006 - 11:52am