MEC (EDTEA) Nomusa Dube Ncube visit to Durban Canal

24 October 2020

Pictured above : MEC Nomusa Dube Ncube during the oil spillage inspection at the Durban Canal.

*Media Statement by the MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube following the visit to the Durban Harbour Canal at 17h30*

24 October 2020

Durban Canal Harbour: This afternoon I inspected the rehabilitation and cleaning up operations at the Bayhead Natural Heritage Site, near the Durban Habour Canal.

This follows the Transnet pipeline crude oil leak incident in Durban (Bellair area), in eThekwini District.

As guided by the National Environmental Management Act, a team of environmentalists from the department conducted inspections on the 22nd, 23rd and today – the 24th October 2020.

In terms of NEMA, the pollution of the Umbilo River and the Durban Bay has been declared a Section 30 incident.

It should be remembered that I made a presentation before the provincial executive council meeting chaired by the Premier Sihle Zikalala on the 21st October.

Flowing from this meeting, I wish to report formally that a Joint Operations committee (JOC) has been established.

An integrated approach has been adopted to ensure the rehabilitation of the environment and to minimize threats to biodiversity.

So far, I am satisfied with the work of the team of experts and environmentalists that are involved in the cleaning up operations. We have assembled skills required to deal with the spillage of this magnitude.

I wish to reflect briefly on the main role-players:-

  • Department of Fisheries and the Environment (DEFF) is observing and working together with all role-players. They have advised on an Action Plan which is being repackaged continuously in response to challenges encountered each day.
  • The Department of Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (EDTEA) is leading in support of DEFF.

We are co-ordinating all activities as agreed with DEFF.

I am in constant contact with Minister Barbara Creecy. And we appreciate the support we are receiving from the national government.

  • National Department of Human Settlement, Water and Sanitation (DHSWS): The key focus area is river health and pollution. DWS has already investigated the affected sites and are in the process of issuing a Directive to Transnet and called for inputs from all authorities.
  • The Directive focuses on clear instructions to be followed in the river and Bay clean-up and remediation in terms of the National Water Act.
  • KZN Ezemvelo Wildlife: Their primary concern is the impact of the crude oil on the Mangroves in the estuary.

Today I received a report from a Coastal and Estuary Specialist from Ezemvelo who has been stationed on site over the past two days having been flown in from Smangaliso Wetland Park for this operation.

Working with the team deployed by Transnet, he has done exceedingly well in  protecting our biodiversity.