Resident at wit’s end over dumping

A Portland resident has been trying for the last three years to have an illegal dumping site, next to Portland Sportsfield, cleared.

Are Mitchell’s Plain residents happy to live in filth? This is the third story the Plainsman is publishing about dumping in the area in the past three weeks (“Enough of the dumping already,” January 18 and “’Plain dump site named one of the worst in the city,” February 1) and yet residents have continued to report on rubbish piles being a real eyesore in the community.

The most recent one is from Portland resident Bruce Shapiro, who has been contacting the City of Cape Town since 2013 to clear an illegal dumping site across from his home, next to Portland sportsfield.

Mr Shapiro said he has been emailing and resending emails to different people and departments relating to dumping.

“It now spills on to the pavement,” he said.

He said the dumping gets done at night, when no one is around.

“People in charge at the council respond and say the person I should speak to is on leave. Good and well,” said Mr Shapiro.

“So, I give them two to three months and finally someone comes out and clears half of the dirt. What about the other half?

“There is a front loader on the field here but the council tells me it does not have a truck to pick up the dirt.”

Mr Shapiro said the guys who cleared half of the dirt said they needed a truck to collect the dirt and that they would return a week later, but to no avail.

“So what do we do? Do we continue paying rates?” he asked.

He said ratepayers pay the council but no one cleans the streets.

“There is grass growing on the pavements. No amount of writing is going to change things if they don’t have the right people in charge.

“There are lots of people walking the streets who can be employed,” said Mr Shapiro.

While on a walkabout with Goawa Timm, councillor for Ward 76, on Thursday February 2, she showed the Plainsman an illegal dumping site, at the end of Lobelia Road, just outside the fence of Lantana Primary School, in Lentegeur.

She said on Monday January 30, dumped couches and builders’ rubble had been cleared but two days later new rubble and dirt were dumped. “We can’t be cleaning like this,” said Ms Timm.

Just last week, the Plainsman reported on an illegal dumping site alongside Swartklip Road, as one of the 10 worst in the City of Cape Town’s Area South.

Xanthea Limberg, Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services and energy, said as a result of the dumping, the City has to do reactionary cleansing operations on the Mitchell’s Plain boarder road once a month. “We do monitor this site,” she said.

Last year, 12 fines were issued but, due to resource constraints and the fact that dumping occurs throughout the city, constant oversight is not possible.

“For this reason, we reiterate the call to residents to be mindful and report illegal dumping, along with evidence, when they see it.

“We have noted more than 739 illegal dumping hot spots city-wide, thus it is not possible to watch each site without the assistance of the members of the community,” she said.

Priya Reddy, spokeswoman for the City, said they are looking into the particulars of Mr Shapiro’s enquiry.

“We reiterate the call to residents to be mindful and report illegal dumping, along with evidence, when they see it,” she said.

Residents can call the City on 086 010 3089 or send an SMS to 31373. If they have the culprit’s vehicle registration number and or can identify them, they can call 021 400 6157 or email
solidwaste.bylaw@capetown.gov.za

The City’s Law Enforcement department is pressing ahead with its anti-dumping operations.

On Wednesday February 1, officers impounded a truck and a BMW with a trailer in Philippi, which were being used for illegal dumping.

The following day, two more trucks were impounded near Brock’s Farm, in Philippi, and near Sweet Home Farm off Duinefontein Road.

So far, 44 vehicles have been impounded since an amendment to the Integrated Waste Management By-law.

Owners of these vehicles have been fined R5 000 each and will be liable for a R7 500 impoundment release fee to get their vehicles back.

JP Smith, Mayco member for safety, security and social services, said: “Philippi is one of the hot spot areas for dumping”.

He appealed to the public to play a role in enforcement efforts by calling the public emergency communication centre at 021 480 7700, from a cellphone, or 107 from a landline if they spot anyone dumping waste illegally.

“The more details we are able to gather, the better the chances of successfully prosecuting the guilty parties. This includes photographs and video footage.

“We are spending far too much money on cleaning up illegally dumped material – money that could have been spent on providing much-needed services elsewhere,” said Mr Smith.