South Africa: Death of Children From Toxic Waste - Municipality Blames Residents for Dumping

The Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality has blamed residents for illegal dumping after the death on Sunday of four children, apparently after eating toxic food from a nearby dump site.

Residents of NU30 in Motherwell had blamed the municipality for the dump site after the death at the weekend of Asive and Alizwa Rhwayibana and Alunamda and Zintle Mqawu. The dump site is about 100 metres from the children's shacks.

In response, municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki told GroundUp the municipality always cleaned dump sites in all areas of the municipality. He blamed residents for illegal dumping. "We always clean all dump sites. The problem is residents continue to dump even in places where there is provision of skip bins. People throw their waste outside the bins even when they are not full. We urge them to dump in those bins to curb health hazard cases."

But there are no skips in NU30, and no rubbish collection services. Residents say the dump site has never been cleared.

However, on Tuesday municipal trucks cleared all the dump sites in NU30.

The mother of Asive and Alizwa, Nomthandazo Rhwayibana, said she feared that dumping would continue even after the clearing of the site because no skip or refuse bags had been provided.

Meanwhile a resident of Motherwell NU10, pointed out that the dump site opposite the local clinic had not yet been cleared.

Police spokesperson captain Andre Beetge said autopsies on the dead children's bodies had been done on Wednesday. "Toxicology tests were done and samples sent to Cape Town. Cause of death will be then determined by the doctor."

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