South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
13 January 2003
Merebank residents still sick after toxic Engen spill
The MEC for Agriculture and Environment Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, Narend Singh, will attend the scene of a toxic spill in the Stanvac Canal, Merebank, South Durban, this afternoon (Monday) at 5pm.
Members of the media are invited to attend.
Last week, Beverley View Flats residents were overcome by diesel fumes after wastewater from Engen refinery washed into their canal. The residents spent two days vomiting, having severe headaches and needing to get nebulised at the local clinic.
During the night of the toxicity, residents made 25 phone calls to various city authorities and the refinery and nobody came to their assistance. A worker from the City's Water Department arrived two days later to take a water sample. The City Health also failed to provide medical examinations for residents as promised.
The MEC's assistant has given the instruction that he will visit the scene today, meet no more than three community members (although over 100 people were affected) and that he will make a speech and leave - “He will not listen to any speeches”.
Meanwhile, Cameron Smith of Block 82 (1 year, 7 months) has been taken to hospital today – he has had a fever since the incident last week.
For comment and for directions to the meeting, call Meera Rajkumar of the Beverley View Flats Residents on 031 4613905 or 083 7141899