City Vision

Rubbish left to pile up

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Rubbish dumped outside the container along Mew Way, near Ndlovini informal settlement in Khayelitsha. PHOTO: UNATHI OBOSE
Rubbish dumped outside the container along Mew Way, near Ndlovini informal settlement in Khayelitsha. PHOTO: UNATHI OBOSE

Concerned residents from informal settlements in Khayelitsha are appealing to the City of Cape Town to collect the now piling rubbish in their areas, because it has been almost two months since the garbage was last collected. They accuse the City of negligence and incompetence.

One resident of Ndlovini informal settlement, Nokhwezi Mweli, said residents were concerned about their health and well-being. Her shack is along Mew Way, and she cannot understand why refuse workers are no longer coming that way. “I woke up one day and saw piles of rubbish dumped along the road,” Mweli said.

“No-one informed us what happened to the people who were working here. Now the dogs are breaking the plastic bags and dragging out dirty nappies and other things.”

She said conditions people are living under can adversely affect their lives. “We have children roaming around and some of them are playing in the dirt. We have to close our doors all the time to prevent the flies and rats from coming into our shacks.”

Babalo Magqeku of TR section informal settlement said the stench in the area is unbearable. Echoing Mweli, he said he had no clue why the cleaners had stopped coming to take the dirt away.

“How are we going to survive this pandemic by living on top of heaps of rubbish? There are old people here who have chronic illnesses and are supposed to stay in a clean environment. No-one is safe here.”

Magqeku said all residents want is for the City to clean-up the area.

“We don’t care about their politics. All we need is service delivery. They must put politics aside.”

Mayco member for waste and water, Xanthea Limberg said refuse collection at informal settlements in Khayelitsha were interrupted due to a tender appeal.

She said as a result of the appeal the City’s Solid Waste Management Department had to apply for an extension of the contract with the previous financial year’s service provider to allow services to continue while the appeal is considered.

“This tender has now been awarded,” Limberg said.

“This was resolved and services were resumed on 14 July in most areas. However, Ndlovini and TR section communities refused to allow the contractors’ old staff to continue while waiting for randomised selection of new workers to take place.”

Limberg added that the process was slowed down by challenges associated with the lockdown. She said the City had been using internal resources to help clear waste that had accumulated during the service disruption as well as illegally dumped builders’ rubble in the area.

“This requires specialist equipment and four grab trucks, two trucks and one front end loader have been deployed to assist with clearing,” she stated.

Limberg added that the City regretted any inconvenience caused in this period. She said residents are assured that every effort is being made to ensure the servicing continues as scheduled.

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