Issued George Municipality, Monday 31 August 2020
George Municipality has identified a shocking 200 illegal dump sites in George, located in Thembalehtu, Protea Park, Lavalia, Rosemoor, Conville, Maraiskamp, Parkdene, Rosedale, Syferfontein, New Dawn Park, Seaview, Blanco, Touwsranten, Wilderness Heights Informal Settlement and Kleinkrantz Informal Settlement. The impact of Covid-19 on our communities and in particular on our two hotspots, Thembalehtu and Pacaltsdorp, has highlighted the extreme dangers of these illegal dump sites which serve as a breeding ground for insects and vermin as well possibly containing dangerous medical waste which could be contaminated with COVID-19.
The Budget office in response to a plea from the Hotspot Strategy Task Team, has set aside a sum of R500 000 to address the illegal dump sites over the next two months and the Community Services Directorate, Cleansing division will start this week with a cohesive clearing programme. Areas will be systematically cleared up and the refuse removed to the Transfer Station using JCB’s and trucks.
An Intergovernmental, multi-disciplinary Hotspot Strategy Task Team (HSSTT) was established in July 2020 to mitigate the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in areas such as Thembalehtu and Pacaltsdorp the moment evidence became available that these areas were Hotspots i.e. communities showing the highest rates of transmission of infection.
Steven Erasmus, Director for Protection Services and Chairperson of the HSSTT noted that one of the proposed interventions which is critical to the strategy outlined in the HSSTT’s action plan, is the removal of refuse that has been illegally dumped in the respective hotspot areas.” This matter has been escalated internally as well as externally. A Provincial Cabinet decision on this and other critical matters is awaited. In the meantime, the George Municipality as well as the Garden Route District Municipality have joined efforts and made funding available for this purpose. This is a classic and very commendable example of intergovernmental cooperation, demonstrating how various authorities can collaborate to achieve a common goal. The Task Teams’ main objective is to minimize the spread of the virus and in so doing save as many lives possible,” said Mr Erasmus.
During a Budget meeting held on Friday 28 August, Executive Mayor Leon Van Wyk highlighted the urgency and need to keep our vulnerable communities safe, but at the same time admonished those citizens who perpetuate the misinformation that illegal dumping provides for job creation. “The reality is no jobs are being created, the clearing of these sites is generally done with expensive equipment which uses budget previously allocated to infrastructure and/or similar projects. By allowing illegal dumping to take place in your neighbourhood, and turning a blind eye, you are forcing the municipality to spend unnecessary funds on cleaning, when the funds should be used to maintain roads, water and sanitation services and so on, “ said Ald Van Wyk.
Municipal Manager, Trevor Botha thanked the Garden Route District Municipality for their collaborative approach and funding assistance. “The ongoing inter-governmental approach to tackling the pandemic of Covid-19 means we are stronger and better at taking action with the unified goal of keeping our communities safe. In fact this pandemic has served to strengthen the cohesiveness of the three spheres of government in assisting and supporting each other, sharing information and coordinating efforts against this invisible enemy,” said Trevor Botha.
George Municipality asks you to spread the news in your community that the dumping of waste is dangerous and a health hazard. Waste should be collected in refuse bags and placed for collection on waste removal days. Builders rubble and waste not suitable for bags must be dropped at the municipal refuse site situated off the R102 (airport road). Please report illegal dumping to our law enforcement offices, if you can provide names, the vehicle registration details or addresses of the alleged perpetrators and are willing to make a statement in this regard it will assist the municipality in catching the culprits.
Please report those illegally dumping waste to 044 801 6350 or e-mail email@example.com. If you notice dumped waste in your area, please report for collection to 044 802 2900.
Stock Photograph: Melanie Mare for George Municipality