South Durban Community Environmental Alliance
Where is SDCEA?

South Durban is located on the Indian Ocean. It is the largest industrial centre of Durban, which provides numerous jobs and revenue for the city. From the single point buoy anchored off the Umlazi cuttings flows probably 80% of South Africa's crude petroleum.

Efficiently gathered around this energy source and Durban's harbour, the busiest in Africa, are many manufacturing and chemical processing industries which produce hundreds of chemical products. Living amidst these industries are communities that, during the apartheid era, were segregated and designated as Indian, White, Coloured, and African South Africans.

The South Durban topography is characterised by a long basin extending from the main Durban harbour. South Durban extends from the Harbour Point south along the Bluff, through the Happy Valley Vlei wetlands and some unique dune grasslands, and further southwest beyond the Umlazi Cuttings to the Isipingo Estuary. The basin is created on the seaward side by the main beachside sand dune from the South Point at the harbour entrance, southward through Brighton, Anstey's, Treasure Beach, Isipingo Beach, and beyond. A few kilometres inland, the basin is completed by the first ridge of hills, approximately 100-150 metres high, beginning the stepwise rises to the Drakensberg Mountains. The main basin area is bisected by the rivers draining from the mountains.

Originally, most of the resulting basin was at or near sea-level, quite swampy, and therefore supported many naturally rich wetlands. The land and water systems of the area were drastically altered to create the site for the airport in 1952 and usable industrial land. The rivers were canalised, the Bluff dune was cut through to divert the Umlazi River away from its original outlet at Isipingo, and the swampy wetlands were drained.

Map of South Durban

Read about the History and Environmental Problems of five of the South Durban communities

More Maps of the South Durban Area