Desperate parents have turned to the high court over the Makana municipality’s negligent waste management practices and empty promises.
Residents of Extension 6 in Makhanda’s Joza Township have filed an application in the high court in Makhanda against the Makana municipality for its alleged failure to eradicate illegal dumpsites and implement an effective waste management system.
The residents have banded together as the Ezihagweni Street Committee and are being represented by the Legal Resources Centre.
The affidavit also names the Eastern Cape MECs for environmental affairs and co-operative affairs, together with the minister of environmental affairs.
The Ezihagweni Street Committee and the school governing body of Mary Waters High School argue that waste management in the municipality is in “disarray” and inconsistent with the removal and non-removal of refuse.
This, they say, poses a health hazard for the community.
A statement by the Legal Resources Centre said: “They state further that, due to the failure of periodic waste disposal, residents and businesses have resorted to illegally dumping waste material at locations around the area.
“Some of these illegal dumpsites are in proximity to schools and have become an attractive nuisance to young learners who play in them after school. The applicants regard these illegal dumpsites as a consequence of inadequate municipal rubbish collection.”
The affected parties also allege there has been a reduction in the provision of refuse bags to residents and refuse bags are now supplied to residents sporadically.
“In the past, the municipality provided a single refuse bag per household for the disposal of rubbish. While not enough, the single refuse bag allowed households to be responsible, to an extent, for the management of their own waste.”
The Legal Resources Centre said residents had made “numerous attempts” to get the municipality to carry out its job in terms of the collection and disposal of waste.
“Residents were given promises that illegal dumpsites will be removed. This never happened. Instead, residents were given reasons such as the unavailability of diesel for rubbish collection trucks as the cause of the non-collection of waste.
“The applicants are seeking an order directing the municipality to remove all illegal dumpsites including those close to schools and that the municipality will take all necessary steps to ensure that waste management within the Makana municipality respects residents’ right to an environment that is not harmful to their health.”
Makana municipal spokesperson Yoliswa Ramokolo asked the Dispatch to send queries but said the municipality might only be in a position to respond on Monday.