Rubbish pleas go unheeded

2013-03-20 00:00

MORE than 20 visitors from the United States had to navigate their way past an unsightly illegal rubbish dump to get to Northbury Park Secondary School in Pastoral Road, Northdale, yesterday.

Correspondence between the school, ward councillor Jay Singh and the municipality showed that several officials knew about the problem and did nothing.

Although the school has been trying since January to get the mess cleaned up, they tried even harder in the past week to ensure their visitors would not get a poor impression of the capital city. Northbury got the run-around and the visitors got a squalid welcome.

Exasperated school counsellor Feroza Shariff said: “I phoned the parks and recreation department and was put through to Hassan who told me to call the mayor’s office.

“There I spoke to Jabu who said the line was bad she would phone me back but she never did. I rang again and was put through to Ash who in turn put me through to Zinhle in Sipho Dubazana’s office.

“I was told he was the deputy municipal manager for community services. By this stage having made all these calls and getting nowhere, I asked Zinhle for a reference number. She told me to note the time and date of the call and I could mention this if I was to call back.”

The staff arrived in the morning to a dump that was smouldering because of a build-up of methane. Their hopes of creating a good impression of the city had gone up in smoke.

Shariff said it was not just about impressing the visitors.

They had been complaining since January because of the safety of their pupils.

“The rubbish is strewn all over the pavement, forcing the learners to walk on the road.

“A child was injured in a hit and run accident. [Pupils] have been pick-pocketed and assaulted by vagrants who ferret in the dump and camp out in the vacant land.” she added.

Singh took out a wad of correspondence going back to January. He said the only official who had replied regularly to his e-mails was Clive Anthony of the environmental health section.

He said Anthony had sprayed for rats and copied him correspondence to the waste management section requesting a clean-up of the dump.

Singh also received e-mails from Richard Rajah of waste management. On March 15, he wrote that they did not have equipment to clear the dump and that as soon as a front-end loader was hired by the fleet management unit, they would put it on the list of priority sites to be cleared.

He was forwarded a copy of an e-mail that Rajah had sent on Monday at 10.26 am.

The e-mail was to employee Pius Moseya asking him to “please address [the dump] as a matter of urgency”.

The e-mail to Moseya was also copied to Dubazana and process manager Mandla Zuma.

Harry Callicharal, of Pastoral Road, complained to environmental health officer Arjuna Lindy and received a copy showing that his complaint had been sent to waste management on March 12.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma said illegal dumping within the municipality was at an unacceptable level, adding: “As for not responding in this particular case after so much effort by the school, this smacks of negligence on the part of responsible officials and this will be investigated.

“I apologise to the school for having been let down by us.”

He added that blaming the municipality for not clearing the dump was justified, but it was also justified to say that residents needed to take care of their environment.

“It is bad enough that the Americans saw the filth, but it is even worse that this poses a health risk to the residents.”

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