Msunduzi’s waste recycling project is gathering dust

2014-06-18 00:00

A WASTE recycling project at the Msunduzi landfill site that was to create 200 permanent jobs, is yet to get off the ground three years on.

Environmental NGO Groundwork now accuse the municipality of putting the job creation project on the back burner, criticising the municipality for not signing off on a memorandum of understanding for the construction of Materials Recycling Facility (MRF).

The waste-picker co-operative Hlanganani ma-Africa and small recyclers who were to be involved in the project, said they were tired of waiting, but also concerned that the KZN Department of Co-operative Governance will take back the R21 million for the project because it has not been spent.

Groundwork’s Megan Lewis said the project entailed the construction of a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF), a buy-back centre and a composting facility next to the landfill site.

“It will mean waste-pickers will no longer be subjected to the dangerous working conditions of a landfill, but will divert recyclables to be sold,” Lewis said.

She added that by not signing the memorandum of understanding, Msunduzi was losing out on creating jobs and increasing the lifespan of the landfill site.

“Critically, this project could mean Pietermaritzburg would become the first zero waste city in Africa,” she said.

According to Lewis, the project — if it went ahead — would be the first of its kind, as it would fall under management of the waste-picker co-operative. She said Groundwork had helped facilitate the formalisation of the organisation with the help of the South African Waste Pickers’ Association (Sawpa).

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