On the final day of the World Summit, Greenpeace activists did what governments,
they say, failed to do. They stormed the Sapref refinery in Prospecton,
gaining access to a bridge that crosses the Umlaas Canal to drop an anti-pollution
banner. Sapref refinery is regarded as a national key point area and has
tight security - but not on Wednesday.
The banner, which read "Clean Energy Now" was, however, confiscated by
Sapref security personnel, but this did not deter the five activists -
two women among them who scaled a 30-metre bridge which spans oil, gas
and petrol pipelines. At the time the climbers gained access the area
All the commotion was played out in front of local and international
media. Onlookers, including residents and motorists sounded their car
hooters to show support while Greenpeace activists on the ground, their
lawyers and other local environmental activists waited.
Greenpeace spokesperson Zeina Alhaj said: "The Earth summit has failed
to take action against dirty policies which are fuelling climate change.
We thought there would be change but once again governments are caving
in and allowing company profits to dictate. What we are doing in Durban
today is what governments have failed to do - sending a loud message that
the refineries must clean up their act."
When the police were initially summoned, Superintendent Vengtas Naidoo
said the climbers were not a threat, it was a peaceful protest and the
refinery was not placed at risk. Sapref spokeswoman Margaret Rowe said
the company understood the activists' mission was peaceful and aimed at
Early this week 12 Greenpeace activists were fined R1 000 each for trespassing
when they stormed the Koeberg plant in Cape Town and draped their anti-pollution