South Africa: What a Dump - Pietermaritzburg City Council Slammed By Court Over Neglect At Toxic Landfill Site

analysis

Pietermaritzburg residents are celebrating after a court ruled in their favour in a decade-old conflict over an unhealthy landfill site run by the Msunduzi municipality.

The Msunduzi municipality, which runs the KwaZulu-Natal town of Pietermaritzburg, has been given 30 days to come up with an action plan to deal with the environmental disaster that is the New England Road landfill site.

This comes after Pietermaritzburg High Court judge Rishi Seegobin found that the municipality had breached several environmental laws, including section 24 of the Constitution which highlights everyone's right to a healthy environment protected from pollution.

According to Seegobin's judgment, interested parties like the Sobantu community, which lives next to the landfill, the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) and environmental activists will be given an opportunity to comment on the plan, but the municipality must return to court within six months to state under oath what it has done to remedy the situation.

After this, the municipality is expected to file "monthly reports indicating its progress with regard to the implementation of the action plan".

Seegobin said the court reserved the right to make further directions on the matter.

In December 2020, the SAHRC filed an urgent application asking...

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