Grandma besieged by garbage in PE

2017-02-28 09:22
Joyce Jakavula at the field next to her home, shortly after the municipality had collected a large container of rubbish earlier in the day. Roaming pigs and her house are visible behind her. (Joseph Chirume, GroundUp)

Joyce Jakavula at the field next to her home, shortly after the municipality had collected a large container of rubbish earlier in the day. Roaming pigs and her house are visible behind her. (Joseph Chirume, GroundUp)

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Port Elizabeth – For the past 10 years, Joyce Jakavula has had to live with the unbearable smell from an illegal dump near her house in NU7 Motherwell, Port Elizabeth.

After GroundUp made enquiries, the rubbish was removed. But this will only give temporary relief for Jakavula, 80, who lives alone.

She is starting a petition with other residents for boundary walls to close in the site and establish a children’s playground.  

It started with local residents dumping their garbage in an open field next to her house. Jakavula says she did her best to plead with them not to use the site.

She tried repeatedly to get the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to stop the illegal dumping, but without any success.

'Unbearable' smell

A couple of years ago, the municipality brought a large waste container to the site.

“This made my situation even worse. Because residents from other streets were now bringing their rubbish to the mobile bin, it is not easily accessed by children and short people. They have to climb on it in order to throw trash inside. Few people do this.”

The rotting skins of slaughtered sheep and goats are tossed there during the festive and circumcision seasons.

“The smell is horrible and unbearable. I usually use incense to drown the odour. The dumpsite is also frequented by pigs and dogs in search of food,” she says.

Rubbish blows into her yard and gets plastered to her fence. Every morning, she has to remove plastic, paper and cardboard.

Jakavula is asthmatic. She skips meals because the smell ruins her appetite.


When a provincial government portfolio committee held an outreach programme at Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University’s Missionville campus several years ago, she used it as an opportunity to explain her predicament.

“They promised that they would approach the municipality on my behalf. Unfortunately, I have never heard anything from them since then.”

Jakavula’s grandchild said they had tried on numerous occasions to contact the municipality to remove the dump site.

“She no longer opens her front door, only the back door, because of the dirt and the flies. We also wrote to the Public Protector for assistance, with no luck.”

Nelson Mandela Bay Metro spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said they had contacted Jakavula and would clean the dump site.

GroundUp can confirm that the site was cleaned as promised. Jakavula was however worried that dumping would start again, which was why she had started the petition.

Read more on:    port elizabeth  |  service delivery

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