Calls for municipality, departments to act in Komani
LIVESTOCK grazing among refuse, a polluted river flowing through the Komani CBD, rampant illegal dumping outside the town’s refuse tip in Ezibeleni and in residential areas – these are but some of the waste challenges facing the area.
The Rep reported (’Drowning in filth’, August 11’) that the entry points to Ezibeleni were becoming a landscape filled with refuse due to illegal dumping.
Pensioner Mmeli Sixaba, whose home is in Ezibeleni although he currently lives in East London, said the scene which greeted him during a recent visit was “disgusting and depressing.
“The grass is brown because of the drought and there is garbage all over. We first moved to Ezibeleni in 1978 and it has never been this dirty. I am not saying it was the cleanest, but never has it reached these proportions. The [Enoch Mgijima Local] municipality and the relevant stakeholders, such as the department of environmental affairs, are failing. They are supposed to clean that area, but what I saw there was a health hazard.”
Sixaba said the municipality and relevant departments were not the only ones to blame, however, as the residents also needed to take pride and ownership of their environment.
“This is something that should be started with pupils at school. Schools should be clean and parents should teach children to be clean in their homes – but even there the municipality is failing to educate the people about the importance of keeping their environment clean.”
He said more bins and skips should be provided for waste disposal and that the municipality should work with the business sector to find a solution.
During a trip along the routes to Ezibeleni, The Rep reporter saw a bakkie stop and a man off-loading garbage bags next to the road. Livestock were grazing among the refuse – a known risk to their digestive systems.
Linda Nini, who is from Ezibeleni but works in Stutterheim, said the situation was unbearable.
“I thought it was due to the municipal strike that it was so dirty, but it has just been getting worse – even since the strike ended. The dignity of the people of Ezibeleni is being dragged through the mud.
“Pollution is unacceptable and it has a negative impact on the community.”
She called on the municipality to take a leading role by collecting and removing the waste and to create awareness programmes for recycling.
“The situation could lead to serious health hazards.”
The Rep also visited Westbourne where dumped refuse was found near the Komani River.
The river has long been a contentious point and despite a R20-million clean-up a couple of years ago, remains polluted.
Enoch Mgijima Local Municipality communications manager Fundile Feketshane confirmed that The Rep’s query had been sent to the relevant officials for comment but at the time of going to press, no reply had been received.
Queries have also been sent to the environmental affairs department, the department of agriculture and forestry, the Green Scorpions and the Institute of Zero Waste in Africa which will form part of a follow-up report to be published at a later date.
SHOCKING SIGHT: Heaps of refuse pile up along the road en route to Ezibeleni