In-depth oversights by the KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) provincial Conservation and Environmental Affairs portfolio committee have laid bare significant deficiencies of most of the province’s landfill sites.
The Focused Intervention Study (FSI) – now stretching into its second financial year – has found glaring inconsistencies between national regulations and what goes on at what are meant to be strictly managed sites.
While the report and tomorrow’s KZN Legislature debate focus on the Kransfontein, Harding, Manguzi and Mbazwana sites, it is the eThekwini and Msunduzi landfills that must rank as some of the most concerning.
Rivalry and gang warfare among litter pickers on the Msundizi sites has reached alarming proportions, almost guaranteeing that the landfill will soon be in flames again. Not surprisingly, the collapse of local government in Msunduzi and its horrendous political upheaval could be behind the ongoing and unpalatable landfill site issues.
Meanwhile, the committee’s insistence on inspecting eThekwini’s Buffelsdraai landfill leachate ponds has again exposed toxic water being funnelled directly into a local river.
Often obscured and hidden from the public, landfill sites are a critical element in the growth and sustainability of cities. The economic potential of waste reclamation is enormous – but the associated environmental impacts are equally challenging.
KZN’s Conservation and Environmental Affairs portfolio committee must get an “A” for its tenacious oversight of landfills. Sadly, many district and Metro municipalities, governed by both the IFP and ANC, have shown scant regard for the law and constitutional imperatives placed on them.
Unlike the Minority Front – which never attends these oversight visits – the DA will continue to investigate our toxic landfills and interrogate those responsible for ensuring that they do not pose a threat to communities.