Heads ‘will roll’ over landfill mess

2019-03-29 15:57
Waste picker Thokozile Mbatha says the situation at the New England Landfill site is concerning.

Waste picker Thokozile Mbatha says the situation at the New England Landfill site is concerning.

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Heads are expected to roll in the City’s waste department after its New England Road landfill site disintegrated into a mess as a result of a late payment to Aqua Transport.

Msunduzi finally paid Aqua and work resumed on Thursday afternoon.

“It will take a few weeks for things to return to normal. We will start with clearing the road before dealing with the situation inside,” said one of the landfill workers.

On Wednesday, The Witness reported how operations had come to a halt after heavy machinery leasing company Aqua pulled its vehicles from the landfill due to non-payment by Msunduzi.

Aqua’s equipment had been keeping the site running since the City’s own broken down vehicles were left unrepaired for months.

A landfill staffer said municipal managers were livid when they saw the state of the site during their visit on Wednesday.

“There was already talk of suspensions of some senior managers within the waste department and the site manager because of the late payment and the general dysfunctional condition of the site.

“The notices of intention to suspend will be served soon, if not already.”

He said the municipality needed to stop treating the landfill like an unwanted child because it was generating millions of rands every month as several municipalities dumped there.

“There needs to be a permanent solution to the problems of a lack of adequate equipment, understaffing, the safety of those working here and the fires that have now become a regular feature.”

Meanwhile, since Tuesday hundreds of waste pickers — who normally work in different parts of the landfill — have had to compete over refuse dumped by trucks outside the site on New England Road.

The waste-covered stretch of the road was closed on Thursday as the sides and one of the lanes had been turned into a dumping zone.

“I’ve worked here for 11 years and yes there’s been some challenges with the running of the landfill but it’s never gotten this bad. We’ve never had trucks being unable to go inside because of piles of waste blocking the access roads,” said the waste pickers’ spokesperson, Thokozile Mbatha.

Waste picker Thokozile Mbatha says the situation at the New England landfill site is concerning.

She said having to work on the road limited the streams of recyclables that they got and there were fears that they would not be able to make enough money this month.

She said most of them were worried that they would not be able to meet their monthly financial obligations such as stokvels.

“There is also a problem of the long distance we have to walk from the road to sell our collections on the other side of the landfill. It is about a kilometre and normally we walk a few hundred metres,” said Mbatha.

The waste pickers use 100 kg bags to carry their haul on their heads.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  new england road dump
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