The Environment Minister, the Eastern Cape’s Environment MEC and the MEC in charge of local government have been named in a High Court application to hold Makana Municipality to account for illegal dumpsites in Makhanda and the alleged poor waste management system that causes them.
The Ezihagweni Street Committee, made up of Extension 6 residents, has filed an application in the Grahamstown High Court against Makana Municipality for its failure to eradicate illegal dumpsites and implement a waste management system that meets the needs of residents.
Along with the municipality, the affidavit names the Eastern Cape MEC for Finance, Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism, the MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs and the Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, as respondents.
The Ezihagweni Street Committee and the school governing body of Mary Waters Secondary School argue in the application that waste management in Makana Municipality is in disarray and inconsistent. They say that at times, refuse isn’t removed and that this poses a health hazard for the community.
Because waste disposal isn’t consistent, they say, residents and businesses have resorted to illegally dumping waste material at certain spots in their areas. Some of these illegal dumpsites are close to schools and pose a risk to young learners who play in them after school.
“The applicants regard these illegal dumpsites as a consequence of inadequate municipal rubbish collection,” the Legal Resource Centre, which is representing the applicants, said in a media release.
The applicants also say the municipality has drastically reduced the provision of refuse bags to residents and refuse bags are now supplied to residents sporadically.
“In the past, the municipality provided a single refuse bag per household for the disposal of rubbish,” the LRC said. “While not enough, the single refuse bag allowed households to be responsible, to an extent, for the management of their own waste.”
Before bringing the matter to court, the LRC said, the residents had made numerous attempts to get the municipality to carry out its job of collecting and disposing of waste.
“Residents were given promises that illegal dumpsites will be removed. This never happened. Instead, residents were given reasons such as the unavailability of diesel for rubbish collection trucks as the cause of the non-collection of waste.”
The applicants are seeking an order directing the municipality to remove all illegal dumpsites, including those close to schools, and that the municipality will take all necessary steps to ensure that waste management within the Makana Municipality respects residents’ right to an environment that is not harmful to their health, as guaranteed under Section 24 of the Constitution.
PLEASE SEE MAKANA MUNICIPALITY’S RESPONSE BELOW
- Makana’s response received and added here on 8 October 2020.