Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality failing to collect refuse is unconstitutional - Public Protector

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Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
Busisiwe Mkhwebane.
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  • The Public Protector has found that the City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality was in contravention of the Constitution after it failed to collect refuse in the Kempton Park area.
  • This follows a complaint laid by former DA Gauteng chairperson Mike Waters, who said the refuse had built up and was putting residents at risk.
  • The Public Protector said Water's complaint was substantiated and that the City had also conceded there were challenges with refuse collection.

The Public Protector has found that the City of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality was in contravention of the Constitution after it failed to collect refuse in the Kempton Park area, resulting in an unhygienic build-up of refuse and putting residents at risk.

In 2019, the then DA Gauteng chairperson Mike Waters lodged a complaint with the Public Protector against the City, alleging that refuse was not being collected in the Kempton Park area.

During Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane's investigation, the City conceded during the period under investigation, it had experienced challenges with the collection and removal of refuse in the area due to continuous breakdown of trucks which hampered service provision.

In a report released on Wednesday, Mkhwebane said: 

... the City of Ekurhuleni, by its admission, acknowledged that it had failed to ensure the provision of refuse removal services to the communities of Kempton Park in a sustainable manner, resulting in these communities being exposed to an unsafe and unhealthy environment, in contravention of the obligations imposed upon municipalities in terms of section 24(a) of the Constitution.

Mkhwebane added that Waters had to seek alternative interventions on behalf of Kempton Park residents to address the adverse impact resulting from a lack of proper service delivery.

"Therefore, there is sufficient evidence to conclude that the City of Ekurhuleni failed to deliver on this constitutional imperative by proactively and timeously instituting measures, both financially and administratively, to prevent such failures in service delivery as required by the supreme law of the Republic."

The City also informed the Public Protector that it had subsequently put measures in place to address these challenges, which included procuring new trucks and concluding an "as and when" required contract to prevent the occurrence of backlogs and to ensure a reliable provision of refuse removal services.

The 23 new trucks were delivered in November 2019, while the "as and when" contract was concluded in January 2020.  

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Mkhwebane said her conclusion was also premised on the observation that the measures put in place after the complainant had already lodged a complaint with her office.

"This is indicative of a failure in the planning processes of the City of Ekurhuleni to implement a permanent solution to the service delivery challenges by timeously initiating the procurement of waste removal trucks instead of resorting to constant repairs, which undoubtedly also had an adverse impact on the municipal budget.

"Evidence obtained during the course of the investigation indicates that, had the City of Ekurhuleni instituted the procurement of new waste removal trucks, the consequent service delivery failures and negative impact thereof on the community of Kempton Park would have been averted."

In her recommendations, the Public Protector said the Ekurhuleni City Manager must:

  • Ensure that the waste removal trucks and other equipment associated with the sustainable provision of these services are properly maintained and serviced as required;
  • Ensure that any outsourced services are properly monitored and managed; and
  • Noting that the contract for the appointment of specialised waste management vehicles, equipment and support services on an "As and When" required basis was concluded on 30 June 2020, timeously commence the procurement process prior to the cessation of this contract(s), to ensure the sustainable provision of refuse removal services in the Kempton Park area, without any interruptions


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