Engen Memorandum handed over on 11 Dec 2020

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    11th December 2020 

  1. Merebank Residents and Ratepayers  Association
  2. Wentworth Development Forum 
  3. Chatsworth Civic Federation 
  4. Ubunye Bama Hostela 
  5. Abahlali Basemjondolo
  6. Groundwork Friends of the Earth SA  
  7. Auswent Taxi Association
  8. Durban South Business Forum 
  9. Wentworth Church Leaders Fraternal 
  10. Market Users Committee  
  11. Merebank  Taxi Association 
  12. Merebank Business Forum 
  13.  Merebank Fellowship of Christian Ministers 
  14.  Merebank Clinic Committee 
  15. Merebank Seniors Citizen Forums 
  16. AMSA 
  17. United people against corruption
  18. R2Know 
  19. Anti-Corruption  Orange mask  campaign
  20. Durban South Community trust 
  21. KZN Subsistence  Fishermen Forum 
  22. Settlers Primary School
  23. Fairvale Secondary School
  24. Gangsters 4 Jesus  
  25. Wentworth Angels 

The above organisations unite and endorse the Memorandum to ENGEN Refinery 

MEMORANDUM TO ENGEN

Handed to ENGEN GM/Management in Durban South Africa 

Noting:

Engen’s abuses have been well documented since 1994 here in South Durban. It appears that in spite of the aging, rusting and often exploding facilities as witnessed on the 4th December 2020, Engen continues dumping its toxic waste over the fence line, poisoning communities, heating our climate, attacking our environment and human lives. 

Our Main Concerns:  

It is common cause that:

1) An explosion occurred at the Engen Refinery on December 4th 2020 at approximately 07:00. As a result of this explosion a number of residents in the vicinity suffered damages to their person and property. The quantum of the damages is still being assessed. 

2) For 66 years Engen has emitted toxic gases into the neighbouring communities, which creates health problems like cancer, asthma and leukemia, as well as CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases which contribute to climate change.

2. Engen thereby violates South African’s constitutional right section (24) that guarantees that everyone has the right to a clean environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being.   

3. Engen violates Section 28 of the Bill of Rights, as children are vulnerable to their pollution and children have been injured in this sad event.

3. Engen’s violates workers rights guaranteed in section 23 of the constitution by been killed and seriously injured at the refinery, due to aging infrastructure and tanks exploding. 

4. Engen engages in the continuous dumping of oil and chemicals into the Badulla Canal and the Durban Harbour.

5. The high number of fires occurring at the Engen refinery since 1999 is of great concern to the local community. The fires emit toxic chemicals which affect the health and well being of the communities and workers.   

6. Engen continuously violates permit conditions and local by-laws, and disrespects the country’s constitution.

7. Engen continues to employ casual labour which means workers are maintaining the refinery on a part-time basis – which partly explains all the accidents that occur.

8. The community of South Durban is concerned about the aging of this refinery, and the resulting explosions, fires and regular release of poisonous gas into the communities.

  1. Engen lacks transparency over incidents concerning workers being injured or killed. 

10. Engen’s abuse of contract employees for limited-period work duration contracts is extremely abusive. 

11. Engen does not accurately count – and has no apparent commitment to reduce – greenhouse gases like CO2 and methane, which cause climate catastrophe (witnessed by the April 2019 Rain Bomb that killed 71 in Durban and the South Coast). 

We Demand: 

  1. Accountability from Engen senior management:

The senior leadership of Engen (a member of the Petronas group of companies), the Engen Refinery Manager and his senior managers make themselves accountable to the South Durban for community damage caused by the explosion of 04 December 2020 and many the other, incidents that have plagued South Durban Basin for more than five decades now.

  1.  Compensation for Damages

All of the residents and workers in the South Durban basin who have been affected by the most recent blast are adequately compensated for damages – both material and psychological.

  1. Full, transparent and independent investigation of the Incident

Community representatives must be included on any investigative bodies.

  1. More meaningful Employment opportunities 

The practice of using labour brokers and outsourced labour to perform critical maintenance to his aging infrastructure be stopped and that fulltime, qualified and experienced core maintenance personal be appointed.

  1. Full transparent audit of Engen Operations

Beyond the immediate relief, Engen subjects its self to a full, independent review of its operations to determine the impact it has had on the health and wellbeing of adjacent communities and, in response

  1.  A Public apology to the Communities affected by Engen

Engen must publicly apologise for this incident and commit to redressing the historical debt owed to the communities most severely impacted by their operations.

  1. Ongoing, meaningful engagement with the Community

Engen must Engage in a consultation to determine how Engen might provide a meaningful, long term remedy to compensate for the impact that its operations have had on the health of the adjacent communities.

  1. Full public disclosure of any and all planning already conducted or underway which relates to the conversion, closure and/or sale of the Refinery facility and other operations.
  1. Procurement policies that give preference to business based in the communities most severely impacted by Engen operations.
  1. Engen engage in a long term, participatory and consultative planning process to development of a decarbonisation strategy that takes centres the needs and interests of affected communities.

Conclusion 

ENGEN should meet with Representatives of the SDCEA and the Committee representing the communities of South Durban by Monday December 14 2020 to address Engen response to the above demands of the community. 

Signed on behalf of SDCEA/Community Representatives          Signed on behalf of ENGEN REFINERY

____________________           _____________________________

Dated 11th December 2020           Dated 11th December 2020

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