South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
 
PRESS STATEMENT
 
17 October 2002
 
Bresman fuel tank explodes,
killing a worker
The very same fuel storage tank that exploded only one week ago at Bresmen Factory has just exploded again!

The explosion of a fuel tank at Bresmen Factory, South Durban has resulted in the death of one worker and six others being burnt. Two workers are critically injured in Entabeni Hospital. 

Machinery is lying in bits and pieces all over the scene.

The tank containing bitumen and paraffin, part of Bresmen Factory in Jacobs, caught on fire and exploded last week.The roof of the factory has collapsed. 

The Department of Labour has clearly failed to do their job. Why was a fuel storage tank which exploded just one week ago, back in operation?  

The workers at neighbouring industries told SDCEA minutes ago that they want the factory to be closed down as their lives are at risk. There have apparently been other leaks at the factory which have been covered up with sand.  

The SDCEA Chairperson, Desmond D’Sa, was faced with the tragic and gruesome site of the body of the dead worker upon returning to the scene to make a second investigation today. 

SDCEA is shocked that the Department of Labour did not close this factory down on 10th October after the first explosion. Had they done this, the worker would have still been alive today.  

“Why is government failing the people of South Durban,” asked Desmond D’Sa. “How many more people must die before they do what is right?” 

SDCEA was not able to find any correspondence from the Department of Labour. They clearly failed to do even the basics of their job. Bresmen was breaking the law in many places – they did not even have emergency procedures in place. 

SDCEA has vowed to ensure that justice is done and that the worker’s family is compensation although no amount of money can bring back a workers’ life because of government’s failure to act against dirty industries in the South Durban basin. A worker died at Engen last June and the Managing Director got promoted to a higher position, instead of being prosecuted. The results of the investigation were never revealed to the public. It is time that government was taken to task. 

It is ironic that government will be coming to Engen Refinery on Tuesday 22nd October to meet with industry yet they repeatedly fail their own constituents, leaving South Durban workers and communities to die from accidents and pollution.

…./ends

For comment call Desmond D’Sa or Steven or Mervyn on 031 4611991 or 083 9826939