South Africa: Makana Has Again Failed to Obey Court Order, Says LRC

Progress clearing dumpsites has been made but “there is a long way to go”

The Legal Resources Centre has accused the Makana Municipality of failing to comply with a September 2021 court ruling ordering the municipality to identify and clear all illegal dumpsites in Makhanda.

Frustrated Makhanda residents took the municipality to court in 2020 for its failure to clean up illegal dump sites, provide refuse bins and bags and collect rubbish regularly. On 19 September 2021 the Grahamstown High Court ordered the municipality to

  • clean up seven unofficial dumpsites within 14 days;
  • provide three refuse bags to each household per week within 14 days;
  • work with communities to identify all other illegal dumpsites within 30 days;
  • clear all illegal dumpsites within 120 days of the court order; and
  • prepare a comprehensive audit of its waste management needs within three months and provide that to the LRC.

In February this year the LRC again urged the municipality to comply with the order.

In an affidavit to the court on 19 October 2022, the municipality said it had now “taken the necessary steps under the circumstances to comply with the court order.” The municipality named several sites which had been cleared, some repeatedly, including some next to schools. In addition, the municipality said, R2-million had been sourced to purchase a waste management fleet dedicated to illegal dumping, a skip container truck valued at R2.8 million had been donated, and R5-million had been received to build a “material recovery and recycling plant”.

But in a response on 27 October, the LRC’s Cameron McConnachie said though progress had been made, “there is a long way to go”.

“Numerous unofficial, unlawful dumpsites remain scattered around Makhanda,” said McConnachie. He said “a concerted effort must be made” if the municipality was to comply with the court order and avoid contempt of court proceedings.

In his letter McConnachie asked the municipality to “please provide the complete list of the 117 dumpsites identified and indicate which ones have been cleared.” He also asked for details of other steps referred to in the municipality’s affidavit, including the R2-million waste management fleet, the skip container truck, and the R5-million “material recovery and recycling” plant.

Questions sent by GroundUp to municipal manager Phumelelo Kate and mayor Yandiswa Vara last week were not answered.

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