Waste picker killed over R50

2019-05-07 15:30
A KSA Security vehicle outside the New England Landfill Site.PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

A KSA Security vehicle outside the New England Landfill Site.PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

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A waste picker was shot dead on Sunday morning at the New England Road landfill, allegedly by a KSA security guard over R50 worth of scrap metal.

Pietermaritzburg police spokesperson Sergeant Mthokozisi Ngobese said the security guard was arrested on Sunday and is set to appear in court on Thursday facing murder charges relating to the shooting of 28-year-old Samkelo Hloaisi.

Waste pickers’ spokesperson Thokozile Mbatha said she was not at the dump site when the incident happened but was told that the security guard and the waste picker had an argument over R50 that the waste picker owed the guard.

“First of all, the security guards are not even allowed to collect waste, but they do and they sell it to the waste pickers.

“From what I heard, the guard had sold scrap metal to Samkelo for R50 and when he failed to pay the money, the security guard shot him,” she said.

Mbatha said the incident happened at around 9 am.

She said other waste pickers had to flee the scene after the security guard allegedly drew his firearm and threatened to shoot Hloaisi.

Mbatha said there has always been tension between the KSA security guards and the waste pickers.

“These security guards have been exploiting and bullying us for a very long time now. When rubbish trucks come to dump waste here, the security [guards] take valuable items before us and then they sell those things to us.

“They are not supposed to be doing that. We don’t even understand why they are here in the first place. You find five or six security guards all sitting at the gate and we don’t know exactly what they are guarding.”

She said they have told Msunduzi Municipality, which is responsible for the landfill, that they did not want KSA security guards at the site.

Tumelo, Hloaisi’s younger brother, said the family were still very distraught about the incident.

“We don’t know what really happened. Everyone is telling different versions of the story and the police and the municipality haven’t told us anything,” he said.

Tumelo, who is also a waste picker, said their greatest concern as a family at the moment was finding funds to bury his brother.

“I wish the security guard would ... pay for his funeral because we don’t have money to bury him.”

Hloaisi, who was described as a “people’s person”, is survived by his wife, three children, two younger brothers and his mother.

Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the matter was being investigated by the police.

Champion for the rights of waste pickers, Groundwork’s campaign manager and environmental expert Musa Chamane said the incident was very unfortunate given that they have been telling Msunduzi Municipality that they need to have proper control of the site and build a material recovery facility so that recovery of waste happens in a formal way.

“We have been telling them [the City], but they never listen,” said Chamane.

“They were even allocated more than R21 million to build a proper material recovery facility, which would have made life so much easier for the waste pickers but the municipality disregarded all this and that is why such things are happening.

“This is not the first death at that dump site, maybe it’s the fifth death in a space of about six years. Every year somebody dies either by accident or by infighting between themselves and sometimes with security [guards]. It’s very unfortunate and Msunduzi has failed dismally in managing the site,” he added.

Attempts to contact KSA boss Mohamed Yacoob were unsuccessful on Monday.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  murder

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