October 2nd, 2020
Makhanda residents take Makana Municipality to court over uncollected refuse
MAKHANDA — The residents of Extension 6 in Joza Township, Makhanda, acting as the Ezihagweni Street Committee, represented by the Legal Resources Centre, have 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 MECs for Environmental Affairs and for Cooperative Affairs, along with the Minister of Environmental Affairs, as respondents. Ezihagweni Street Committee, and the school governing body of Mary Waters High School, argue that waste management in the Makana municipality is in disarray and inconsistent with the removal and at times, the non-removal of refuse, which poses a health hazard for the community. They state further that due to the failure of periodic waste disposal, residents and businesses have resorted to illegally dumping waste material at locations around the area. Some of these illegal dumpsites are in close proximity to schools and have become an attractive nuisance to young learners who play in them after school. The applicants regard these illegal dumpsites as a consequence of inadequate municipal rubbish collection.
The applicants also state that 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 the rubbish. While not enough, the single refuse bag allowed households to be responsible, to an extent, for the management of their own waste.
Prior to litigation, the residents made numerous attempts to get the municipality to carry out its job in terms of the collection and disposal 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.
Issued by the Legal Resources Centre
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