17 May 2017

South Africa: Marikana Residents Clean Up Rubbish Dump

Marikana informal settlement residents in Philippi East have started their own clean up campaign on one of three open fields used by residents to discard household waste.

On Monday, GroundUp published an article on the rubbish in Marikana that had not been collected in nine months.

Since then, community members with the assistance from the Social Justice Coalition (SJC) have started cleaning up the rubbish tip.

Mbulelo Madinga, a resident who lives nearby, said residents used to burn the rubbish to try and get rid of the foul smell it caused in the area.

Another resident, Bonelwa Manyube, said the smell has been getting steadily worse.

"How do you eat with this smell?" she asked. She also said the rubbish hand now closed their pathway to the local shops.

"We get maggots and flies [inside our homes] ... There are no parks and soccer fields in the area. Our children have to play close to this dirt," said Manyube, who was part of the clean-up.

Axolile Notywala from the SJC's Local Government Programme said they had brought 200 plastic bags for the clean up.

Notywala said that the community had asked the SJC to help them raise the issue with the City of Cape Town.

"This is a start, but we need to discuss with the community on how to force the City to come and clean, because we have been trying to get them here amicably.

"We know through media articles that this is private land, but seemingly they [the City] have been selective by providing one service and not another. These are people living within the boundaries of the municipality. They have the responsibility to provide the services," he said.

Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements Councillor Xanthea Limberg told GroundUp on Monday that the land was private and was zoned for industrial usage which meant that the City was limited in the extent of services it could legally provide.

She said that the City had been providing ad-hoc refuse removal, but due to illegal electrical connections in the informal settlement, solid waste vehicles battled to gain access.

After they had filled all 200 bags with rubbish, residents dumped them in a waste container used by the City's Expanded Public Works Programme workers. About half the field was cleared.

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