SDCEA mobilises anti-nuclear community unity with petition

Desmond D'Sa addresses the crowd.

COMMUNITY meetings have called for South Durbanites to take action against nuclear energy and for a referendum to decide the future of nuclear energy in the country.

The South Durban Community Environmental Alliance (SDCEA) hosted energy meetings at ML Sultan St Marys Primary School on 2 March and the Austerville community hall on 6 March to educate and mobilise community on the proposed nuclear energy build.

“Citizens need to understand they have the power to refuse or accept the nuclear energy fleet proposed to be built in South Africa. Sustainable energy should be the main focus in this country not unsustainable and dangerous energy,” said a statement from SDCEA.

Among SDCEA co-ordinator, Desmond D’Sa’s topics of discussion was the importance of community unity against what he termed as unsustainable developments.

“This community has a history of environmental activism that has previously brought successful results. The communities of South Durban need to unite against this nuclear build as the proposal is to develop a fleet of these facilities along the South African coastline which will pose an enormous danger to people and marine life,” said D’Sa.

Economist in development studies, Dr Gerard Boyce spoke about the financial and environmental aspects of the nuclear deal.

The use of a referendum was discussed, calling for government to set up a public vote on the matter, leaving the decision in the hands of the people.

“The referendum will benefit citizens by putting people back at the centre of politics, create greater openness and transparency in nuclear dealings. It will ensure increase current levels of public participation and foster a
culture of participatory democracy. To sum up, it will be a creation of an active and engaged citizenry,” said Dr Gerard Boyce.

SDCEA environmental project officer, Noluthando Mbeje galvanised people into being part of SDCEA’s nuclear energy campaign, which has been waged for years and has included protests, community meetings and discussions with experts in the field, including Russian environmentalist, Vladimir Slivyak.

Outcomes of the meeting include the decision to garner at least 15,000 signatures on an anti-nuclear petition; research to be conducted on cancer statistics in South Durban; getting the youth involved; renewable energy programmes;education and meetings with municipal and national officials.

Petitions can be collected at the SDCEA offices and on social media.

 

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Erin Hanekom
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