15 May 2017

South Africa: No Garbage Collected in Marikana for Nine Months

Photo: Thembela Ntongana/GroundUp
One of the two sections in Marikana where residents dump rubbish. Garbage has not been collected since August 2016.

According to residents, rubbish has not been collected in Marikana since August last year.

"We have been writing to the City [of Cape Town] as well as our ward councillor asking for plastic bags and containers, but nothing [has happened]. The place is just getting worse," says community leader Sipho Tofile.

The informal settlement has 6,000 people in six sections listed A to F. Tofile says people have no other option, but to dump their rubbish. Piles of garbage fill two open spaces, one used by sections A to C and another by sections D to F.

Tofile says, "It is difficult to even get into the toilets because the rubbish is slowly piling up in front of them. Even the people that clean them are complaining."

Resident Zolile Hamnca says that when it's windy, the rubbish spreads all over the place.

"Children play here because they see an open space, and we also see animals eating this dirt," says Hamnca.

He says every time they request assistance from the City, they are told it cannot be provided because Marikana is on private land.

Marikana residents occupied the property in 2014 and are currently awaiting judgement in a court case in which the landowners want the state to buy them out or compensate them.

"How do they choose what not to provide and what to provide?" asks Hamnca. "Because other services, like toilets, we get, but we cannot get plastic bags and containers?"

Residents also point out that the City has previously collected rubbish.

Ward 35 councillor Mboniswa Chitha says the only services provided by the City are water and toilets. He says he has been trying to get the City to provide electricity and rubbish collection, even if they are temporary.

On why the City had previously collected the rubbish, he said the City was cleaning up the open spaces and not necessarily providing a service to Marikana.

Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements Councillor Xanthea Limberg reiterated that "this is private property zoned for industrial usage and, as such, the City is limited in the extent of services it can legally provide."

Limberg said, "The City currently has been providing ad-hoc refuse removal with a front-end loader ... Due to illegal connections across the road, however, solid waste vehicles are struggling to gain access. We will continue to strive towards finding solutions to these challenges."

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