Illegal dump left for months to create hazard on road

2012-03-14 00:00

TRASH on the Otto’s Bluff Road, which became a tourist curiosity in January, has still not been cleared by the Msunduzi Municipality.

Three months later the rubbish is still piled up and, says Otto’s Bluff resident James Arnot, it is growing in size and stench every day.

This health hazard has also become dangerous to traffic. Motorists who travel daily on this major road say the rubbish has encroached on to the tarmac, impeding traffic travelling in a northerly direction.

Arnot said there was only one lane and cars had to cross into the southbound lane to negotiate past the rubbish. The road is busy, serving the residential, agriculture and tourism communities of Claridge, Otto’s Bluff, Cramond and Albert Falls.

The Witness first reported on the overflowing garbage when Arnot spotted a group of Danish tourists photographing the piles of rubbish and he felt embarrassed.

He thought that by now an equally embarrassed municipality, which cared about the image of the city, would have cleaned up the mess.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Brian Zuma said there was a garden refuse site on the Otto's Bluff Road that started overflowing when residents began dumping household refuse there over the festive season.

“Clearing of the site stopped when some of the SMMEs [small and medium enterprises] that were doing business with us could not continue doing so for contractual reasons,” he said.

Zuma said there was a plan to clear the rubbish before the end of next week.

“We have started with the clearing of refuse garden sites — you are welcome to visit the Edendale one next to the mall — and we will be attending to illegal dumping sites as well.”

But Arnot is not impressed.

He said, “We’ve heard those empty promises many times before.”

The garden refuse site is opposite the informal settlement of Site 11 (Ntuthukoville), which in 1998 started an award-winning, community-based maintenance and environmental management project.

The project was a partnership between the local community living in the informal settlement, the Msunduzi Municipality and the Built Environment Support Group.

Under the programme people from the community were employed to clean up the environment. This included cleaning stormwater channels, sweeping the streets, door-to-door refuse removal and household education and tidying up the surrounding area.

The project was recognised by the Green Trusts Award and the World Bank Development Market awards. But shortly after 2006 the Msunduzi Municipality pulled the plug on the project, saying that according to the Municipality Systems Act it could not enter into a public-private partnership and would have to put the clean-up programme out to tender.

It was put out to tender but did not go to the community.

Instead the clean up contract went to an SMME which failed to do the job properly.

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