A CLOSE family member, who used to own a chocolate shop, said he was so excited to go to work as everyone who entered his shop was always happy.
However, me being a public servant, our customers have quite the opposite approach, as instead we have to endure daily complaints and criticism, with praises being few and far apart, but that does not mean we don't look forward to assisting with each day's challenges.
They say listening is a skill, but the real story is often to be found hiding between the lines. While one could possibly claim to have heard or seen it all (entertaining as many as 100 daily inquiries is apparently considered good practice), one remains amazed at what people are capable of.
And then its not strangers, but neighbours, people standing shoulder to shoulder at a braai, who frequent the same church or club or pub or school, eat at the same restaurant or who are opinionated - yet who also harbor a dark side.
Today we focus on vandals and litterbugs (a word far to nice to describe the actual problem), as among us are people who seem hell bent on destroying either whatever they can lay their hands upon or society as a whole, without any consideration for the consequences or the cost of rectification.
Over the past few months we have been subjected to any number of street signs, stop signs, directional signs, warning signs, etc., going either missing or being broken or bend or defaced - despite extending resources and effort, they are certainly not turning up at scrap metal dealers which means it is being done to display in a room or bar or man cave?
Certainly there has to be a story to be told every time someone asks about the origin, or has the fact that the municipality is unable to keep up with the replacement, at considerable cost to the ratepayer, escaped consideration.
Braai areas at the beach are broken down brick by brick. Flower boxes in Rogies Park are being dismantled, someone is deliberately breaking manhole covers with a hammer - and nobody hears anything.
Cement dustbins are being crushed to pieces, plastic bins are set alight, gum-pole fences are dismantled piece by piece, bollards are knocked over, drain covers are demolished or go missing, bridge railings are being destroyed and beach ablutions are being degraded with broken pans, doors and taps - yet nobody sees anything. We receive daily inquiries about litter and what the municipality is doing to address it. The reality being the municipality is actually unable to cope with it as the problems, while geared to collect and dispose litter according to schedules and rosters, remains increased by the actions and/or negligence of people who are to blame for the situation.
People ignore bins, discarding rubbish either next to the bin (I will never understand that one) or where they stand without any consideration of using the bin, even if its in close proximity.
One shopping centre for example has someone regularly using their bins to dispose of garden refuse during weekends. Given that Durban Solid Waste do not remove garden refuse, it falls to the centre to make arrangements for the disposal - or people who garner additional domestic refuse over the weekend and who are then either too lazy to dispose at the correct site or are not prepared to wait for their collection day, and who then dispose at shopping centres, sport clubs, at the roadside or into the bush or brush next to the road or into natural resources such as Illanda Wilds, or even by tossing it over the railing into the river in the hope that "someone" will collect it.
Not to forget people who fail to put the garbage out in time, who then merely discard it along the road in a area that is scheduled for collection (usually close to home as nobody wants to drive around with a stinky bag for too long), but then well after the truck has passed - voila!, monkeys take control and suddenly it becomes someone else's - and the municipality's - nightmare.
While there are domestic dumping sites along Old Main Road (Wanda Cele) near the one-way bridge and the landfill site at lower Illovo (approx 500m after the steel bridge) and with garden refuse and/or building rubble sites in School Road and Nyala Place in Athlone park, people still seem to prefer dumping illegally in Lantana, Camp roads, the road past Amcup at Illovo Beach or the sand road between School Road and the R603 - which are in relative close proximity to the municipal dump sites?
As a rule we are a caring and abiding society, yet the reality remains that they who are responsible walk among us - they do not carry a mark or dress differently - so it remains our duty to expose, report and shame them in the better interest of our community - it’s the right thing to do.
Illegal dumping - Monday to Friday 7.30am to 4pm - Kingsburgh on 031 322 2002 or Amanzimtoti 031 903 6739. - Cllr André Beetge, Ward 97 – 082 718 8137.
- Councillor André Beetge.