Msunduzi Municipality seems to be making progress in resolving issues that plagued its New England Road landfill site.
The municipality’s strategic management committee recently held an oversight visit at the site. This is part of follow-up visits that will be continuously conducted to monitor progress and the effectiveness of the approved action plan, which seeks to resolve and rehabilitate the landfill site.
“The municipality exercised due diligence in the appointment of the service provider, who also underwent an intensive evaluation process to establish the corporation’s ability to perform the tasks at hand,” said acting municipal manager Nelisiwe Ngcobo.
The strategic management committee consists of senior managers of various departments from the municipality who are directly affected by the challenges facing council in relation to the landfill site. During the recent oversight visit they were able to witness the current state of the landfill site.
“The committee has therefore noted the importance of hiring a waste-to-energy plant, identify strategic solutions that will increase the lifespan of the landfill site and also deal with security issues,” said Ngcobo
She confirmed that the approved action plan abides by the law and will be used to ensure compliance with the necessary regulations.
She emphasised that moving forward the committee will make decisions that will see the rapid restoration and rehabilitation of the site.
“The process of decision-making cannot be delayed any further; the municipality cannot afford to be taken to court on the landfill issue; we must act now,” said Ngcobo.
Msunduzi mum on service providers
Msunduzi ignored The Witness’ questions seeking details of the service providers contracted for the maintenance of the landfill site, the duration of the contract, if the contract went to tender, and the cost implications of the project.
Last year the municipality was taken to court by the South African Human Rights Commission. The latter sought that the court declare that the municipality had violated environmental rights by polluting and degrading the environment through the dump site.
The commission also sought the court to slap the municipality with an order to fix the site and rehabilitate the area. The site has seen residents nearby complaining about fires that leave toxic fumes in the air.
DA councillor in Msunduzi, Ross Strachan, said there has been very little or no communication or reports served in council meetings on the status of the landfill site.
“It is extremely worrying that since the last landfill disaster fire in August 2020 and the court action instituted by the human rights commission, there has been very little feedback through council and the relevant portfolios.
He said it is imperative that the action plan to address the court’s directives is implemented and monitored immediately. The landfill site monitoring committee must be urgently established and running on a monthly basis, he said.
Municipal public accounts committee chairperson and IFP councillor Zwelinjani Magubane said they will request the municipality to produce a report on the project.
“We have not seen a report about this project and the service provider appointed. We will request the municipality to table a report at the next Mpac meeting because this matter is of public interest so we need to get the details,” said Magubane.