Durban refinery blast: Residents who want answers tell Engen: ‘Prepare for war’

An explosion has left several people injured and critical emergency care personnel were dispatched to the scene on Tuesday afternoon in New Germany, Durban. Photo: Garrith Jameson

In their memorandum of demands, the community accuses Engen of polluting the local environment. They say there have been several explosions in the area since the late 1990s.

One of the lead organisers of a protest against Engen Refinery in Durban South says the fuel conglomerate should prepare “for war” if it does not resolve issues and deliver justice after an explosion that injured several people.

“If we don’t resolve it on Friday, then they must prepare for war,” Desmond D’Sa, a community leader and environmentalist, said on Wednesday.

He was talking following protest action by about 200 community members who marched on the Engen Refinery, where an explosion injured several people last week.

“We do not want to be doing these things. We don’t want to have to protest, but what other choice do we have?”

D’Sa and other community members say that an explosion last Friday, which injured several people, was the last straw.

He said that, for years, they had complained about the effects of the refinery on the community.

“I am happy with the turnout we had from the community today. It was the middle of the week and people still came out.

“We have had historic issues and now such a major one with these people. We want answers and we are not stopping until there is justice.”

He said the community will be continuing the peaceful protest at the refinery on Friday.

“We will not stop. We are refusing this time.”

Demands

In their memorandum of demands, the community accuses Engen of polluting the local environment. They say there have been several explosions in the area since the late 1990s.

Also in attendance at the protest was activist and sociology expert, Ashwin Desai, who said that Engen had to account for the explosion.

“This plant is a ticking timebomb. They don’t want to put the resources in. They claim they do not have the money. At the same time, they are putting tens of thousands of people’s lives at risk.”

News24 has reached out to Engen for comment, which will be added once received.

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