News agency, Cape Town, South Africa
Thursday September 19th 2019

City accused of illegal dumping

Young children play on top of a mound of waste dumped on the edge of Du Noon, next to a soccer field. Residents say the illegally dumped rubbish is cleared about once a year by the City. Photo: Peter Luhanga/WCN

Young children play on top of a mound of waste dumped on the edge of Du Noon, next to a soccer field. Residents say the illegally dumped rubbish is cleared about once a year by the City. Photo: Peter Luhanga/WCN


While the City of Cape Town claims it spends R200 million a year clearing away illegally dumped waste, Hout Bay ratepayers claim city employees are themselves responsible for illegal dumping there.

And in Du Noon, residents say they’re not seeing any effort being made by the city to pick up mounds of refuse that are continually dumped there illegally.

Additionally, with the city stating that they have identified 985 sites where illegal dumping occurs, ratepayers who finance the R200 million per year fight against illegal dumping, have criticized the lack of policing on the issue.

Illegal dumping and its effects on communities and individuals has come under the spotlight in Cape Town since three-year-old Jordan Lewis died on Monday 22 April after coming into contact with illegally dumped toxic waste in Delft. 20 other children were also treated after coming into contact with the bags of hazardous substances that had been dumped on the corner of Symphony Way and Silver Sands Road.

Chairman of the Hout Bay Ratepayers and Residents Association, Len Swimmer, said the city itself guilty of creating illegal dumpsites.

He said about a month ago a City of Cape Town truck was spotted offloading tar and building rubble next to the Disa River.

He said a letter of compliant was sent to the city, which promised to act on the matter, but had not yet done so.

In Du Noon residents have been living next door to large mounds of illegally dumped waste since 2000 and say the City only clears it about once a year.

At a visit to the township young children were playing on a mound of rubbish dumped next to the soccer field.

A foul stench emanated from the waste which was comprised of household refuse and the carcasses of stray animals.

The young children were seen pulling the horns off the decomposing heads of cattle.

Ntomboxolo Ganjana, 36, whose RDP house is adjacent to the illegal dumpsite, said it was difficult to keep young children away from the area.

“We’re worried of our children health. There are not enough open spaces for our children to play so they play on the dump,” said Ganjana, “It’s difficult to keep eyes on children all the time”.

Ganjana said the City came to clear the mountain of waste about once a year.

Resident Thembisa Sigenu, 43, said often people from nearby Table View dumped their building rubble on the site, as well as backyarders where refuse bins filled up before waste collection day.

Local ward councillor Lubabalo Makeleni said his efforts to get the City to remove the waste were frustrated as departments appeared to pass the buck.

He said City’s Solid Waste Department had told him it was the Sport and Recreation Department’s responsibility while Sport and Recreation told him they didn’t have the equipment to remove the trash.

The lack of policing of illegal dumping was seen to be a problem by officials at the Camps Bay and Table View ratepayers associations.

Mike Channing, chairperson of the Table View Ratepayers Association, said they experienced the illegal dumping of building rubble as well as toxic material in Table View.

He said the ratepayers were always quick to act on such problems and had not had any major problems since January.

However, he said any policing that was done was due to neighbourhood watches and street committees as there was little in the way of law enforcement patrols in their area.

Mayco Member for Utility Services, Ernest Sonnenberg said the funding for the R200 million annually spent on cleaning illegal dumping came from the ratepayer’s bill and known areas where illegal dumping occurred were “continually monitored by a team of by-law enforcement officers” under the Solid Waste Department.

Sonnenberg said “many” offenders were caught red-handed and residents often assisted by providing registration numbers and addresses of offenders.

“All these reports are followed up and the offenders traced and prosecuted.”

The Solid Waste team of “approximately ten officers on any given day” had caught and prosecuted 553 offenders over a seven month period.

He said any money collected by the city from fines was not ring-fenced for use in cleaning operations. However, offenders were often ordered to clear the area themselves, or the City cleared the area and directly recovered the cost from the offender, which eased some of the burden on the ratepayers.

For figures on exactly how much money had been gathered through fines for illegal dumping, he said corporate law enforcement and court would have the figures.

The City’s Safety and Security directorate said questions should be sent to Utility Services

As to toxic waste, there was a High Hazardous Landfill at Visserhok which was privately owned.

The City does not handle chemical or toxic waste, said Sonnenberg. – West Cape News



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