root - June 27, 2023

  • Mounds of rubbish a breeding ground for maggots and rats. 
  • Air fouled by stench of rotting waste.
  • Residents worry about health impacts.
  • SANCO holds up appointment of new waste collection contractor.

Peter Luhanga 

The smell of rotting garbage permeates the streets of Dunoon and Witsand in Atlantis as household waste has not been collected since 30 June due to the service providers’ contract having lapsed, and new contractors yet to be appointed by the City.

The mounting refuse is angering residents in both areas, and leading to a growing rat problem. But in Dunoon, the South African National Civic Organisation is preventing the new waste collection contractor from getting to work, demanding to check their employees are from Dunoon and registered on the City’s unemployed persons database. 

Dunoon resident Thembakazi Sotyamtya, 59, said the corner of Akkerboom and Mnandi Streets near her home has become a dumping ground for household waste, including bags of faeces from surrounding informal settlements. 

Sotyamtya said the winter rains is causing the faeces to be washed past her front door and the filthy environment has resulted in an infestation of flies in her home. 

During a visit on Saturday 9 July, this reporter saw flies sticking to her lounge ceiling and crawling over kitchen utensils and food containers. 

“It (the rubbish) is bringing flies.  Our children are coughing constantly. We suspect it is because of the filth outside,” she said, adding that people also threw dog and cat carcasses on the mound of rubbish.

She said after two weeks of mounting garbage, rats were also becoming a problem.

South African National Civic Organisation (SANCO) Dunoon branch chair Elliot Nkohla said the City had appointed a new contractor and had come to start rendering municipal services but SANCO stopped the contractor, demanding employees be verified as being Dunoon residents registered on the Blaauwberg subcouncil’s unemployed database.

“They are not going to work until we get the list (of the City contractor’s employees) to verify that they are Dunoon residents,” said  Nkohla. 

Dunoon ward councillor Messie Makuwa said “the community” was still negotiating with the new contractor over how many people from Dunoon they employed to collect refuse. 

Meanwhile, the refuse is piling up on all Dunoon’s main roads, as well as along roads in Atlantis. At the Dunoon taxi rank, rubbish is piling up at the corner of Dumani and Waxberry Road, affecting vendors who cater to commuters.

Mkhuseli Ndlwana, who braais and sells meat at the taxi rank, said waste was piling up near his trading area.

“It smells the whole time. There are maggots there.  “The smell is bad for  customers,” said Ndlwana.

In Dunoon’s Ethembeni informal settlement there are mounds of rubbish piling up behind the communal toilets, including used nappies.

“It is very dirty. Even the toilets are not being cleaned. They stopped cleaning at the end of June,” said resident Thandiswa Dayimane, who also had her shack destroyed by a shack fire on 5 July

In Witsand, the area SANCO chairperson Thobile Maseti said the City was throwing the residents under “the bus” and forcing them to live in a filthy environment. 

On Sunday 9 July this reporter saw mounds of rubbish near the Witsand taxi rank and along public roads in the township.

Maseti said his organisation teamed up with former employees of the previous city contractor and volunteered to remove the rubbish piled up on Chris Hani and Steve Biko Roads.

He said the Witsands SANCO branch used R2,400 of its own funds to buy refuse bags and gloves to collect mounds of rubbish which they placed in shipping containers used by the City for waste storage. 

“We don’t know if the municipal services will resume,” said Maseti.

“We are not living in a clean and healthy environment, we are worried our children can contract diseases,” said Witsand resident and SANCO member Aphiwe Krele. 

Questions sent to the City of Cape Town on Thursday 6 July had not been answered by Monday 10 July.

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