Port Elizabeth – Residents of Motherwell in Port Elizabeth have expressed anger at the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality for failing to collect rubbish regularly. They claim the dump sites were last cleared in early December.
According to GroundUp, the dumps, mostly alongside streets, were overwhelmed with garbage. Residents feared for the health of their children who played in the garbage, because there were no parks.
The worst affected areas were NU8 and the informal settlements of Powerline and Endlovini.
Headman Janjies, 57, of Powerline informal settlement, complained that the overflowing rubbish near his shack was attracting rodents and flies.
“I have been living here for more than 20 years, but it has never been bad like this. The place is covered with rotten garbage. The smell that comes from here is so heavy that some of the shack owners no longer live indoors. The municipality last collected rubbish in December.”
Disappointment in DA-led municipal leadership
Damara Kano, 48, who lives in NU8, said he was avoiding the shortest route to the shops because of the rubbish. Instead, he and others were taking a longer, more dangerous route.
“People are dumping everything there. They throw away dead dogs and cats. The smell is very heavy that we live indoors all the time. Our windows are always shut to prevent the flies and mosquitoes that come from the strewn rubbish. We are paying our monthly municipality rates, but the municipality is not bringing better services to the people.”
Kano accused the municipality of being quick to enforce by-laws on defaulting residents, but not doing its job.
“We are fed up with protesting against the municipality. We had high hopes for this new DA-led municipal leadership, but it seems our hopes are in vain.”
Residents were burning rubbish, but the smoke was polluting the air.
Shortage of refuse trucks
Ward 57 councillor, Becinga Mbuqu (ANC) said that, since November, he had been putting pressure on the municipality to collect the rubbish from Powerline and other areas in his ward.
When he submitted a list of affected areas to the municipality’s sub-office in Motherwell, he said he was told that there was a shortage of refuse trucks, but that it would be collected soon.
Municipality spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki wrote in a WhatsApp response on Tuesday: “Officials will visit the site tomorrow morning to check the problem. However it is encouraged that residents stop dumping illegally as this affects the wellbeing of others, more especially the children.”
On Thursday afternoon, GroundUp found the rubbish was still piling up and children were playing on one of the dumps.