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Dispute over refuse collection is turning Marikana informal settlement into a health risk

A dispute between the City and residents on who should collect refuse in Marikana is turning the area into a health hazard

For over a month, rubbish had been overflowing from green garbage skips all along Sheffield Road, which runs past Rholihlala, Marikana 1 and Marikana 2 informal settlements in Philippi, Cape Town.

According to resident Siwaphiwe Dolophu, it hadn’t been cleaned up from the end of August until the councillor arranged a truck to tidy up the road on October 17.

Dolophu said the problem is an ongoing dispute with the City of Cape Town.

The residents are unhappy with the way refuse collectors chosen via the city’s database, but the people chosen are neither employed or live in Marikana anymore.

He said residents had provided the city with a list of names of people who lived in the area to do the job, but it was rejected.

On October 3, Marikana residents marched to the Fezeka Municipal Building in Gugulethu to protest the lack of refuse collection. In a memorandum, the residents, supported by the Social Justice Coalition (SJC), demanded the city employ residents who were on the community list and that work resume.

When asked how the city’s database worked and why the list of names provided by the residents was rejected, Mayco member for urban management, Grant Twigg said community leaders are dissatisfied with the recruitment process, therefore they have stopped the service. The job-seekers database is the only method that will be used to employ workers by the contractor.

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Twigg added that leaders in some informal settlements are preventing the City of Cape Town from cleaning their communities, posing serious health risks. He said some leaders were attempting to interfere in the employment processes of the city’s Extended Public Works Programme.

According to GroundUp some pathways were blocked by blue garbage bags piled on top of each other, stinking and rotting in the sun, covered in flies. A woman rummaged through the bags looking for scrap.

Behind the busy Jumbo Cash and Carry store at Marikana 2, an open field used for community meetings has turned into a rubbish tip.

Nosizolele Dyasopu, who has lived next to the field since 2014, said she and her neighbours had resorted to cleaning up the garbage themselves.

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“We pick up what we can and then the rest we burn. It gets tough because residents dump food here as well which attracts mice and rats. Sometimes you will also find people emptying their toilets here on this field,” Dyasopu said.

More: GroundUp

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