WATCH: Metro commits illegal dumping in view of City Times

Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) workers offload decomposing hyacinth along Golden Drive.

Illegal dumping should be of concern to the municipality, especially when they are at fault.

The City Times on January 18 received word from a concerned citizen that Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) workers were dumping along Golden Drive.

Soon after we arrived at the area, two bakkies pulled up with loads of half-decomposed hyacinth from Homestead Dam.

An employee in one of the vehicles assured the City Times “it’s allowed”.

“We were instructed by our boss.”

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The BCT called Clr Malanie Haggard (Ward 28), who later arrived on site with Clr André du Plessis (Ward 23).

Clr André du Plessis (Ward 23) and Clr Malanie Haggard (Ward 28) discuss the hyacinth problem at Homestead Dam.

After driving to Homestead Dam, the same workers – in the same vehicles – were loading more hyacinth on the back.

Du Plessis, who is also the DA spokesperson for environmental resource management in Ekurhuleni, said the act of transporting and dumping the material is a “serious infringement of the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act”.

He said hyacinth may not be transported on an open vehicle as the seeds from the invasive alien plant being transported may find its way to other water sources.

He said apart from the material being illegally dumped, hyacinth needs to be discarded in a responsible way in order to minimise seeds spreading.

Municipal workers collect decomposing hyacinth which they are due to dump illegally along Golden Drive.

Haggard, whose ward includes Homestead Dam, said she was under the impression the material was being dropped off at a landfill site.

The City Times has received information suggesting that workers were told to bag the decomposing matter at Homestead Dam.

This was to be dumped along Golden Drive until such time another department within the metro dumped the waste at a landfill site.

Budget constraints are believed to be the reason why another department would dump the matter at the landfill site.
The instructions to workers were apparently not followed.

Themba Gadebe, spokesperson for the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM), said the hyacinth has been lying at the dam for eight months and “poses no threat to the environment”.

He said the areas chosen as a dumping site is not a legal dumping site.

“The veld in question is land used to dump biodegradable plant material for firewood and composting,” he said.

“The site is not a legal dumping site but was only used to further dry the waste and allow for separation.

“Only soil should be left after the operation and the rest of the materials will be sent to a legal and appropriate dumping site.”

He said those responsible have been asked to explain themselves.

“Further information will be sourced from the actual workers involved,” Gadebe said.

“Should there be a need to take action against anyone, action will be taken without hesitation.”

Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality (EMM) workers offload decomposing hyacinth along Golden Drive.

Stephen Rehbock, a Farrarmere horticulturist, said to his knowledge the contents at the top of the pile were decomposed.

He said there is a slight possibility of contamination, but this is “absolutely minimal”.

Rehbock said organic matter would benefit an environment such as an open piece of veld, but stressed that illegal dumping is not acceptable.

“Any organic matter that does not contain seeds, or is decomposed, is not a threat to the environment,” he said.
“That obviously needs to be checked by an expert.”

He said the material could have been utilised at the Benoni Bunny Park.

Meanwhile, Gillian Goodchild-Brown, who brought the dumping to the attention of the City Times, on January 19 sent more photos of Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality-branded vehicles dumping along Golden Drive.

She said she has seen the municipality dump in the area up to three times a week.

 

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  AUTHOR
Kevin van der List
Editor

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