By LIKHAPHA THAATHAA
The Makana Municipality failed to meet the Legal Resources Centre’s (LRC) 18 February deadline to fully comply with the Grahamstown High Court order of September 2021 to clean up illegal dumpsites in Makana. But, some progress has been made.
On 17 February, a day before the deadline, the municipality met with the LRC to provide a breakdown of their attempts to comply.
LRC attorney Ona Xolo said that while the municipality is still in breach of the court order requirements, they had complied with some parts of it.
“Therefore, there would be no further court action right now because the municipality is trying to see if they can come up with an accurate plan and implement what they commit to in the plan,” Xolo said.
Over 130 dumpsites were identified last year – but only two have been eradicated. A few have been graded and covered with soil.
But the LRC noted that the Municipality now had a plan for eradicating them over the next two years.
In its plan, the municipality has provided some suggested bylaws. The LRC will comment on these to determine if they are sufficient.
The municipality indicated that monitoring and policing community dumping would be a challenge. It is still unclear what should happen to those caught dumping illegally.
In an interview last year, Makana media and communication officer Anele Mjekula said it was also the community’s responsibility to stop illegal dumping.
“We would like to appeal to the residents to refrain from dumping illegally,” Mjekula said. Dumping causes health vulnerabilities in the community. “If the dumpsites are left uncleaned, will find rats, and that will probably cause health hazards to the community,” he said
A ‘Stop Illegal Dumping Site’ billboard had been placed on Jacob Zuma Drive, including a number where people can report illegal dumping. LRC will monitor whether residents have been reporting dumping using that number or not.
The number is: 087 160 5005/ 0800 205005
In their draft plan, the municipality promised to give a three-month supply of 30 plastic bags to every household and committed to updating its waste management audit.
The municipality told the LRC they had failed to remove dumpsites because they needed to upgrade their fleet of vehicles and buy specific equipment.
“The municipality does offer the service of collecting refuse all over, but we are challenged by broken trucks, “Mjekula said. New vehicles and equipment will help them work regularly, and they said they would employ several people for the next six months to do the cleaning and perhaps put up ‘no dumping’ signs.
The LRC has not given the municipality a deadline because “it will be a long process”.
Makana employees will receive training from the Sarah Baartman District Municipality, which will help them devise a final plan. “Hopefully, they will publish it before the end of July,” Xolo said.
LRC is not fully satisfied with the draft but finds it to some degree inclusive.
“It’s a great start. It’s not as comprehensive, but I think it’s better than them not doing anything,” Xolo said.
The LRC will regularly meet with the municipality and monitor all proposed actions in the plan. “We will ask why they have not done something and what steps they will take to rectify it.”