The Astron Energy Refinery in Cape Town which was formerly owned by Chevron or (Caltex) refinery exploded at 04.00am this morning, 02 July 2020.
The latest news is that two people were killed and seven  seriously injured has had a number of explosions and fires over the years. This refinery is an aging refinery which has had many explosions and fires over the many years of operation. Just like the Durban refineries Engen, Shell and BP these refineries cause a huge health problem and deteriorate the quality of life as well as posing a risk threat to life. A number of community members were invited from all hotspot areas of South Africa where the petrochemical and chemical industries are located cheek by jowl to present air quality information to the national portfolio committee on environment in Cape Town. We as the leadership of our community arrived a day before and our host in Cape Town was the Tablebay and Milnerton and La Doon communities. We drove all the way from Cape Town International Airport and as we arrived, we were greeted with a massive explosion at the Chevron Refinery with black smoking billowing out high into the air and affecting the neighbourhood surrounding the refinery.
We were all taking photos and at the public hearings we presented our lived experience at the time of arrival. The National Portfolio committee was stunned with this evidence and the refinery managers were rebuked immediately by the members of the portfolio committee .This resulted in the people of South Africa getting the most progressive air quality act that had Health in the Preamble of this important piece of legislation and resulted in some refineries prosecuted and fined although meagre .
The oil refineries do not comply with any South African law and continue to abuse their power and affecting the health of their fenceline neighbours .We will continue to strive for a clean and healthy environment and the petrochemical refineries must be held to account. We must kick fossil fuel out of our world and stop the investment into this failing dinosaur .The time has arrived and we must push with all our strength and might to put an end and protect our future !
Report from Desmond D’Sa
Oilwatch South Africa