IMAGE: Exposed refuse in the Chatty community

Disgruntled Chatty residents are pleading with the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality to remove waste that has not been collected for the past ten years.

The past few weeks has seen the municipality face challenges of workers embarking on a “go slow” strike, due to working long hours without compensation for overtime, and the municipality failing to address grievances. This has led to waste not being collected in many areas, a familiar problem to Chatty residents who have been living with refuse for over ten years.

“I have been living here in Vastraap for over nine years and with this waste next to me, but the municipality has never done anything about it. All we have ever received are promises that this waste would be removed but up until now, there has been no change” said Zola Mjikelo who stays at Vastraap “Last week my shack almost got burnt because these children were trying to burn the waste”.

Vastraap and Marikana are the areas that have been highly affected as the waste is closest to people’s houses. One of the residents explained how dangerous the waste it is to children since they play with it.

“In the past few weeks I saw my neighbor’s child slowly losing his strength and I took him to my house and called his mom. We took him to the hospital and all to find out that he drunk poisonous medicine that was meant for dogs” said Sonwabile Senze.

Ward councilor, Mr. Dyele, attributed the waste problem to the lack of wheel bins.

“We don’t have wheel bins and the municipality said that they are no longer distributing them out. Getting black plastic bags is proving to be a huge challenge because the refuse bags they gave us last month were not enough and we have not received any more since then”.

Residents who are highly affected by this issue have also started to assist the councilor with removing waste.

“I tried to help the councilor with removing waste since municipal workers had last come to remove it in March and ever since then, they never came back. Sometimes the truck will collect in certain areas then leave, which then makes people come and dump the waste next to my house.

As much as I try to talk to them, I sometimes feel it is useless because people have no wheel bins therefore; they do not know where to throw their waste” said Vaastrap resident, Mr. Mzimkhulu Tokota.

Municipality spokesperson, Mr Mthubanzi Mniki said the ‘go-slow’ strike has indeed contributed to waste not being collected in many areas. Mniki further explained as to why the municipality is eradicating the wheel bins.

“The public health is reviewing the refuse collection program, so in areas where it is densely populated such as informal settlements, we are using trucks to collect the waste. The municipality is pleading with people to take their refuse to nearby dumping sites, where trucks can collect it

Chatty residents have expressed how they feel that the municipality has failed them, saying the waste has brought them nothing but health complications. This has been highly frustrating to them, mainly because of the municipality not honouring promises to remove the waste which has been there for over ten years.

Nosipho Keuti

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