Dumpsite ‘still a mess’

2019-11-27 06:01
Some of the broken heavy machinery at the New England Road landfill site.PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane

Some of the broken heavy machinery at the New England Road landfill site.PHOTO: Moeketsi Mamane

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POOR management practices and Msunduzi’s alleged failure to attend to snags continue to threaten operations at the City’s problematic New England Road landfill site.

Last month the dump erupted into a suspicious inferno, which kept flaring up and covered Pietermaritzburg in smoke for several days.

Soon after the fire, the municipality made a commitment to revamp the landfill and ensure that it was properly managed and secure — but that has not been done.

Some of the things the council said it would do included rehabilitating the site, repairing the equipment which was broken, including the weighbridge, fixing the palisade fencing to prevent intruders, improving the lighting around the property and installing cameras to monitor activities within the site.

Yesterday the landfill site’s staff told The Witness that the municipality had not met any of its recent commitments to improve the condition of the site nor had it ensured that it was properly managed.

Instead, they said, the dump was slowly disintegrating into the same mess it was in March when trucks ended up off-loading on New England Road because access roads to the site were blocked by piles of waste. The staff added that they currently could not even work on the “active cell”, situated at the top section of the site, because vehicles could not get there due to the mud.

The piles of waste along the interior roads have started going up and one of the landfill staffers said they did not have trucks to move it to the working area.

The transfer area is not looking any better either, because bakkies and some trucks have been off-loading their waste there since last week.

“If the transfer area fills up — and that could happen before the end of this week — people are going to start off-loading on the access roads and the recycling area, and there is nothing we can do to stop them because they can’t get to the working area either and we can’t expect them to take their waste with them because some come all the way from Bergville and Greytown.”

There is only one operating truck but the site apparently needs at least three.

The compactor and three other machines were working yesterday but the site employees said they would not be sufficient for cleaning up the mess that had already been created. The staff fear that operations will soon grind to a halt because they do not have adequate equipment to deal with the problems. Adding to the problems is the fact that both the site and waste department don’t have managers to attend to the problems at hand.

“The municipality is now going to blame the recent rains for this mess, but the truth is it’s been long coming and people will end up dumping outside the gate if we don’t get this sorted as soon as possible,” said one of the employees.

Msunduzi spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the City had not neglected the problems at the site and was working on addressing them.

She added that supply chain management, as well as recruitment processes, were underway to procure the equipment needed, get the necessary service providers and fill the vacant positions in the waste department.

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