“From the Mayor’s desk” on 21 February 2020 (Working in Makhanda for a cleaner environment) cannot be left unanswered. In particular, there is one stated fact which is completely untrue.
According to the Mayor’s statement an unnamed and unreferenced “environmental scientist” who assessed the waste streams of Makana claims that Makhanda generates more waste than any small town of its size in the country. This statement immediately struck me as unlikely. Why would this be? Do we eat more than most people? Do we buy more consumer goods? I could not see any reason why this could be true. As it happens it is not true based on the following figures and in fact we probably generate less than the South African daily per capita average which is documented as between 2 and 2.5kg depending on the reference.
Based on the 13 November 2019 Social Development (SD) Portfolio Committee Agenda, the Makhanda community generates a total of 4236.6 tons of waste per month. The SD agenda states that this equates to 2.15kg per person per day. This is based on a population of 65 675. It is generally believed that the population of Makhanda is closer to 80 000. Therefore the average equates to 1.76kg per day.
The following quoted in the 2017 second draft of the State of Waste Report (SoWR) issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) states that “South Africans dispose of enough municipal solid waste to fill an entire football field 10 metres deep, every day. Every single person of our total population of 57 million generates up to 2.5kg of waste per day, on average, depending on his or her level of income.”
It is important to clarify as Makana Municipality and its representatives continually finds reasons why their failure to provide basic services is due in some way to the failure of its citizens. So no, Mr Mayor, the reason for the enormous mountains of rubbish which plague our communities is not because we produce more rubbish than average, although of course we all need to work harder at reducing the waste we produce and recycle and reuse as much as possible. It is because Makana Municipality has routinely not provided the black bags that they are obliged to provide and often failed to complete collection cycles. As illegal dumpsites have emerged they have failed to respond to complaints and clear them in a timely fashion. Existing bylaws regarding illegal dumping, stray animals, etc. are not enforced. Minimum to no effort has been made by this Municipality to support recycling systems where they have been attempted.
Additionally regarding the Thuma Mina Good Green Deeds (TMGGD) program, contracts for these 35 young people were signed in September 2019 (SD Agenda) so it is unclear why it would take until January 2020 to get this operational. There are municipal workers employed to clean the areas the Mayor lists so it would make sense to rather employ the TMGGD youth in some of the Township hotspots where the need is greater.
Finally this would have been an appropriate time to thank some of the many citizens who are working tirelessly in their own communities and those of others to make a difference and create a cleaner environment at their own expense.
GRA Committee Member