Fed-up action on litter

2013-08-07 00:00

A FED-UP Pietermaritzburg businessman has turned to a top law firm to try and force the municipality to clean up a filthy stretch of road leading into the provincial capital.

If his request falls on deaf ears, he has threatened to turn to the courts for relief.

The law firm Mason Incorporated has sent a letter of demand to the Msunduzi Municipality giving it until August 30 to remove the rubbish on the R56 between Southgate Spar and Foxhill.

The road is a major entry to, and exit from, the city and is littered with trash.

Lawyer Carl Johnson states that should the unsightly situation persist, his instructions are to apply to the high court for an order compelling the municipality to ensure that the litter and rubbish are removed and to pay all legal costs.

At this stage his client wishes to remain anonymous.

Johnson has also sent copies to The Witness asking for coverage and to the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business CEO Melanie Veness.

It is hoped that the publicity and pressure from influential quarters may galvanise the municipality into action without resorting to legal action.

In the letter, Johnson states that he municipality has paid little or no attention to the R56 between Southgate Spar and Foxhill.

“Travelling this stretch of road leads one to conclude that those in power have no pride in our city and that those responsible for ensuring that the city is kept clean and free from litter do not care.

“Our client as well as residents of this community, as rates- and taxpayers, deserve action from the municipality regarding the litter and likewise, the municipality has an incumbent duty to provide the necessary services which form part and parcel of maintaining and keeping the city clean.”

Msunduzi municipal manager Mxolisi Nkosi said last night that waste collection was the responsibility of the municipality and residents did not have to turn to the courts to get the municipality to do its job.

“If it is in our area we will clean it up,” he said.

There were a number of illegal dump sites all over the city and when residents alerted the municipality to the problem, teams were sent out to clean up.

In an attempt to address the illegal dumping problem in the city, the municipality had also initiated a project to provide a refuse removal service to informal settlements in the area, said Nkosi.

Big rubbish collection trucks could not go into these areas, so small businesses and co-operatives with vans were being signed up to provide the service.

Community services portfolio committee chairperson Manilal Inderjit said in January this year that there were about 186 illegal dump sites in and around the city.

No sooner had a site been cleared, than dumping began again.

Msunduzi spokesperson Brian Zuma appealed to the public to take pride in the city and to stop littering.

He said Pietermaritzburg belonged to all its residents and keeping it clean was as much the municipality’s responsibility as it was the citizens’.

Veness said she had not received a copy of the letter by the time she left the office and would only comment once she had an opportunity to read it.

• nalini@witness.co.za

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