Dump debacle

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Legal action as Alexandria site spills onto neighbouring farm

LITANY OF WRONGS: Among the many contraventions at the Alexandria dump, refuse was being illegally burnt there when TotT visited the site Picture: JON HOUZET
LITANY OF WRONGS: Among the many contraventions at the Alexandria dump, refuse was being illegally burnt there when TotT visited the site. Picture: JON HOUZET

THE appalling state of the Alexandria dump came to light during a visit by Talk of the Town two weeks ago. There is no access control, a fence bordering a neighbouring farm has been stolen and windblown refuse is strewn across the veld. Rubbish was being burnt while TotT was there, and stray cattle were sifting through the garbage.

An attempt to launch a recycling project there was abandoned after the shed for that project was dismantled and stolen. There is just a pole left.

All of the examples above are in contravention of the National Environmental Management Waste Act.

Four years ago, the Green Scorpions issued Ndlambe Municipality with a pre-compliance notice relating to the illegal burning of refuse and other contraventions at the Marselle/Bushman’s River dump, but the Green Scorpions did nothing further and the litany of wrongs has continued.

The director of public prosecutions in Grahamstown has also declined to prosecute the municipality.

The municipality were aware of this as far back as 2010, during the Ndlambe Ratepayers ’ Forum meetings with the mayor and municipal manager

Ndlambe appears to have been galvanised to do something about the Alexandria dump, however, after neighbouring landowner Tony Cottrell initiated legal action against the municipality because the dump has encroached onto his land, the municipal bulldozer having pushed mounds of rubbish onto his property.

Chairman of the Alexandria Agricultural Association Brent McNamara, who showed TotT the dump, said the issue went back years. He said encroachment started out small but had progressively increased over the years. “The municipality were aware of this as far back as 2010, during the Ndlambe Ratepayers ’ Forum meetings with the mayor and municipal manager,” McNamara said. “I wanted them to stop dumping on the one side when there was an encroachment and to properly fence the tip in accordance with the law.”

But the dumping encroachment continued and no fence was erected. “Two years ago I got Fanie [Fouche, deputy director of community protection services] out on a site visit and he saw it himself,” McNamara said.

It is believed the municipality has reached an out-of-court settlement with Cottrell, but his attorney Werner de Jager did not want to elaborate. “He’s decided not to pursue the matter because the municipality is cooperating, ” was all De Jager would say. He said it was best to speak to Cottrell himself.

Cottrell referred queries to his farm manager Charles Timm, who confirmed the encroachment had been an issue for several years, but he did not know when Cottrell had initiated legal action. “I took the municipality out there two weeks ago to look at what’s going on and they said they’d get back to us. I haven’t a clue what they offered to do – they communicate with the at torneys,” Timm said.

Answering for the municipality, Fouche said: “Funding by Dedeat [department of economic development, environmental affairs and tourism] for a waste management project will be awarded in June/July that will deal with landfill site operational matters. “A meeting took place with a representative of neighbouring farmer and the way forward was discussed and a plan is being crafted. We are awaiting the outcome of the supply chain management process relating to the fence.”

McNamara said it was good something was being done but it was ultimately the ratepayers who would be paying for the fence.

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