Landfill site in chaos

2010-01-13 00:00

THERE was chaos at the New England Road Landfill Site yesterday as massive piles of rubbish littered the premises while workers downed tools.

When The Witness arrived on site shortly before noon, rubbish-laden vehicles were seen off-loading large amounts of refuse on to the roads. There was no more space for vehicles to off-load in the landfill site’s designated area as stacks of rubbish had already filled all the available space.

According to striking workers who spoke to The Witness on condition that their identities were not revealed, the area set aside for residents to dump their waste contained rubbish that was deposited as far back as October last year.

The employees said countless requests to the Msunduzi Municipality’s management for the acquisition of new machines that would enable them to shift rubbish further up into the site where it is supposed to be compacted have fallen on deaf ears.

“They keep telling us there’s no money, yet cars that come and dump here every day are made to pay. What are they doing with that money because they are not ploughing it back into the landfill site?” said a worker.

During a walkabout, employees pointed out machines and vehicles that have been lying idle on the premises for years. They said a landfill site supervisor has been forced to conduct his rounds using his own car because the municipal vehicle at his disposal broke down three weeks ago and is sitting in a workshop.

They said they have been complaining about the lack of machines and equipment for years and are now at their wits’ end.

“[Deputy municipal manager for community services] Zwe Hulane is never available to address our concerns and has never set foot inside the dump. He doesn’t even bother to reply to written correspondence and the site is in worse condition than ever,” said a worker.

As it stands, vehicles are unable to move into the premises and travel from one entrance of the site to the other as piles of rubbish are blocking the road. Instead, they have to go from New England Road and onto the N3 highway if they need to access the other side of the site, the entrance of which is situated next to Sobantu’s low-level bridge.

“We only have one machine with which to move the rubbish, but as more refuse starts coming in a backlog ensues and the stacks get higher. Even the water tanker that is meant to settle the dust that flies up is lying around unfixed.

“It’s not that we don’t want to work, we just don’t have enough vehicles with which to work,” said a worker.

They complained that paying customers swear at them, but say the blame should be laid on the shoulders of the municipal officials who are not managing the landfill site as effectively as they should be.

“These officials are a disgrace to the ANC. Things under the previous regime were never as bad as this. If they bought the relevant machinery, we could do our jobs and this problem wouldn’t exist,” said a worker.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell had failed to respond by the time of going to print.

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