Residents roll up sleeves to clean streets

Residents taking part in the clean-up.

Residents fed up with the litter problem in KTC took the initiative to clean their area, including the cemetery.

Armed with rakes, spades and plastic bags, they got stuck in and filled multiple black bags with everything from dirty nappies, surgical masks, to weeds and grass cuttings.

The enthusiastic team, formed by members of the local South African Civic Organisation (Sanco), declared that they could not sit back while their area was becoming a dumping ground.

Last Thursday, the team tackled Mapasa, Great Dutch, Mbambo and Dike streets and NY5 Cemetery, working hard to rid the areas of litter.

Senior citizen Sophie Mfula, who joined the group, said they won her over to join them because there was a need to clean up the area that used to be clean. She said the KTC she is living in now was different to the one she was used to before. “I grew up in a clean environment and a clean KTC. I do not understand… do not know this KTC that is so dirty. The streets are full of dirt and the cemetery has been made a dumping site. I had to stand up and be counted,” she told Vukani.

The team split into two groups to tackle the heaps of dirt in a much-needed clean-up effort this weekend.

Ms Mfula said she will not rest until the entire area is clean. However, the major concern was the NY5 Cemetery. She called on those who dump at the cemetery to have respect for the dead. “This is a cemetery. How does one come all the way to dump here? Can we go back to our roots when we used to respect ourselves. People come as far and Nyanga and Gugulethu to dump here. We need to respect the dead,” she said.

KTC task team member Nkosikhona Mafenuka said he was happy that community members came out although the cleaning task is not their duty. He took a dig at their councillor Khaya Yozi, who he said did not care about the community. “We nicely asked him to bring us a truck and a digger loader but he failed to do that. He has all powers to do so but he does not care,” he said.

He said the community would want all the streets and the cemetery clean but cannot control those who litter and dump. “We cannot control people who dump. That again is a municipal duty to arrest people who dump. But we are grateful to those who took their time to clean and those who supported us with something to eat afterwards,” he said.

Wearing brightly coloured lime bibs, the residents closed part of NY5 street where heaps of dirt were put for collection.

Sanco secretary Lumkile Msila said they were overwhelmed by the positive response from the community. He said rubbish attracted rodents such as rats to houses closer to the dumping areas. “The situation is worrying, especially for those who live near these heaps of rubbish being dumped.”

Mr Yozi said the whole cleaning initiative was started by him so there is no way he would not care. He said the initial campaign started in Ntlangano Street that divides wards 37 and 39.

He said they had a problem in that cleaning contractors have not been approved. “I have done all I can and I can tell you what trucks came but people have their own vendettas which we do not know. I will send you all the proof of that,” he said.