Makana Mayor Mzukisi Mpahlwa and Municipal Manager Moppo Mene face six months in prison for contempt of court after the Grahamstown high court found they wilfully ignored a 2015 judgment ordering them to bring the catastrophic municipal landfill site in line with legislation.
Judge Miki Mfenyana today gave Mpahlwa and Mene just 30 court days to get their house in order and fix up the decrepit, unfenced, gateless landfill site or go straight to jail to serve their six months, DispatchLIVE heard in the court.
This means their prison sentence is effectively suspended for 30 working days on condition that they comply with the 2015 high court order in terms of which they were required to properly manage the disgusting municipal landfill site in line with the municipality’s permit conditions and other statutory and environmental requirements.
To make matters worse for Mene, Mfenyana directed the court’s registrar to forward a copy of Mene’s affidavit to the office of the national director of public prosecutions to consider perjury charges against him.
Mene contended in his affidavit that they met all the terms of the 2015 court order.
Literally days after he signed his affidavit, civil society organization Makana Unity League (MUL) submitted photographic evidence that the landfill site’s perimeter fence was largely collapsed, access control and waste screening mechanisms were non-existent, the rubbish was not covered as required and there were persistent fires on the dump.
MUL’s attorney Brin Brody today said the organization welcomed the judgment and was confident it would contribute towards protecting citizens of Makhanda who had suffered the ill effects of the constant air and other pollution.
By Adrienne Carlisle – DispatchLIVE