Makana municipality faces more court action over filth

Makana municipality faces more court action over filth

Legal Resources Centre says municipality has failed to comply with September court order on waste management

By Loyiso Dyongman

The Legal Resources Centre (LRC) in Makhanda has given the Makana Municipality until Friday 18 February to comply with a high court order of September last year to clean up all unofficial dumpsites in Makhanda – or face more court action.

Makhanda residents (represented by the Ezihagwini community committee) and the Mary Waters High School took the municipality to court in 2020 for its failure to clean up dump sites. The Grahamstown High Court ordered the municipality to:

  • clean up seven unofficial dumpsites within 14 days;
  • provide three refuse bags to each household per week within 14 days;
  • work with communities to identify all other illegal dumpsites within 30 days;
  • clear all illegal dumpsites within 120 days of the court order; and
  • prepare a comprehensive audit of its waste management needs within three months and provide that to the LRC.

But the LRC says the municipality has not obeyed the order. In a letter to the municipality on 8 February, the LRC said it would return to court unless all aspects of the court order were complied with by Friday.

The LRC said only two dumpsites had been cleared. Others had been graded and covered with soil but the waste had not been removed, in contravention of environmental legislation, and others had not been attended to at all. The LRC said that plastic bags had not been supplied, the list of illegal dumpsites had not been drawn up, and the audit of waste management had not been made available.

Enkanini informal settlement residents confirmed that they were not getting any refuse bags from the municipality. Thandeka Mfecane said the municipal truck does come to collect refuse but they don’t get the black bags. “I don’t understand why they send the truck to take refuse while they don’t give us refuse bags. We don’t have a choice but to just throw rubbish away. That is what causes the illegal dumpsites,” said Mfecane.

Questions sent by GroundUp to the municipal communications office, the Municipal Manager Moppo Mene, the Director of Public Safety and Community Services Kelello Makgoka, and the Manager of Public Safety and Community Service Phumzile Smile last week were not answered.

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