Now it’s a stinking mess

2010-01-14 00:00

ONCE regarded as the best landfill site in the country, the New England Road site has finally been run into the ground.

Workers continued their strike yesterday, saying they refuse to go back to work until the municipality purchases the necessary machinery and equipment that will enable them to perform their duties effectively.

“We’re not asking for money or promotions. All we want are tools so we can work,” said a worker.

Meanwhile, rubbish piles continue to mushroom at an alarming rate, both inside and outside the premises while municipal officials continue to twiddle their thumbs.

“They still haven’t come here to address us or assess the situation. Obviously they couldn’t be bothered,” said a worker.

But the landfill site was not always in the sorry state it is in today. In 2003, the site was the pride of the city when it took first place honours for being the best managed landfill site in the country. This feat was repeated the following year, but in 2005, things started to deteriorate.

At that time, KZN Water Affairs head Lyn Gravelet-Blondin issued a stern warning to the city regarding poor management of the site.

In 2006, Water Affairs Department (DWAF) official Pat Reddy — who oversaw the running of landfill sites — said he was concerned that the site was not being managed properly and threatened legal action if the Msunduzi Municipality failed to address the problems.

Yet things failed to improve and conditions continued to worsen; resulting in countless strikes which brought on empty promises from senior officials.

For instance, when workers went on strike in September last year site manager Cyril Naidoo admitted that some of the equipment was broken, but they were busy fixing it. However, equipment that has been broken for years still litters the site today.

During the September strike, The Witness reported deputy municipal manager for community services Zwe Hulane as saying that the issues raised were news to him, but he was committed to dealing with them as “some of the concerns can easily be dealt with”.

However, workers have been reporting the same problems for years and accuse Hulane of never setting foot on the premises or replying to written correspondence.

With the change of legislation, landfill sites no longer fall under DWAF and are instead under the Environmental Affairs Department.

Dr Timothy Fasheun, the department’s environmental support manager, said they are aware of the problems and will work together with the municipality to find workable solutions.

Municipal manager Rob Haswell had still not responded by the time of going to print. Mandla Zuma, the process manager in charge of the landfill site, also failed to respond.

 

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