‘We are suffering with pollution’

Deseree Goodmann
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Deseree Goodmann, from South Basin in Durban, lives with chronic asthma disease and is currently medically boarded. She was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer at the age of 29 and is in remission. She was recently diagnosed with colon cancer.

Goodmann says she has to leave the house at 2am to go to the hospital while doctors only arrive at 10am. The hospital has also had a short supply of medication. She says they get treated badly at public hospitals.

“I was told by nurses that if I don’t stop crying, they will take the drip off me and send me home. That’s why you rather sit in your house and treat yourself. If you die you die. When you go to any government hospital, they give that impression they are there just to earn money; there is no compassion for the patient. People need to take their job serious, and take our health serious.”

Goodmann says that they have been affected by gas in the area.

“On the 17th of July I was sitting in my lounge with my two daughters and we got the stench. We just saw kids running for cover. It was clouded with gas here. They have to give us an evacuation plan. Had they accommodated to get us out of our buildings, we would have been fine. They evacuated their staff, but no one worried about the residents.”

Hime Street resident and co-ordinator of the Durban South Community Environmental Alliance, Desmond D’Sa, says the community was impacted by a gas leak in August.

“On the 16th of August, a major gas leak impacted on the entire community in a 5km radius. The estimate is that over 400 women, children and families were affected. We still don’t have an emergency plan.”