This paper examines the ability of civil society leaders in Durban, South Africa to champion environmental justice in an industrial risk society. It presents viewpoints from key social actors at the Durban city level, including three local case sites, to examine civil society leadership capacity to achieve environmental justice by addressing grassroots concerns. It explores how leaders engage with other civil society actors and subsequent responses towards government and industry. The paper compares the urban regional and case studies analyses and highlights that although post-apartheid civil society leadership is not built from the anti-apartheid leadership, changed civil society leadership during the transition has influenced contemporary leadership in Durban, addressing industrial risks. New opportunities and challenges have resulted in the emergence of limited leaders championing industrial risks such as individualized leaders hindering wider collective actions against risks, including engagement in formal technical processes as opposed to mobilizing people. Not only is new and collective interest in civil society leaders required to mediate between classes, communities and the state and capital, but leaders also need to strategically combine the social and industrial pollution issues for solidarity in order to achieve environmental justice.
Civil society, Durban, environmental justice, industrial risks, leadership, South Africa
Leonard, L. (2011) Leadership against industrial risks: Environmental justice in Durban, South Africa, Journal of Asian and African Studies, Volume 46(2), 113-129.