Taiwan rubbish dump ‘a health hazard’

PHIRI CAWE

Taiwan residents in Site C are worried their neighbourhood is turning into one big health hazard as piles of garbage have not been collected in four weeks

Lebusa Mohare’s shack is next to the rubbish, which he says has not been collected for a month.

“Children scratch here; they play here. You can imagine the disease they will get. Not only that, there are also drains that are always blocked. The situation is not good here. This is not right for our own health and worse for our children.”

Another resident, Zolani Frans, says residents have not even been supplied with refuse bags by the contractor for four weeks.

”We are not happy with the way things go. It is difficult to breathe here. The rubbish must normally picked up on Thursdays but now it has been weeks, if not months. Children are at risk. Our health is at risk.

“This should be dealt with before our children get badly affected,” he said.

Taiwan No2 Cash Store owner Ali Hassan said the stench coming from the heaps of rotting garbage dumped in front of his shop was driving his customers away.

“This is a big problem to all of us. This affects my business because it is right on the doorstep. For more than three weeks, I have been enduring the smell, and it is unbearable.

“Another problem is that we are not far from the communal toilets which have no water. You can imagine the problem I am facing as a businessman. Something really needs to be done,” he said, urging people not to dump their rubbish near his business.

Ward 87 councillor Mlulami Velem said Taiwan’s problems had started when rubbish collectors whose contracts had expired, demanded permanent positions.

“They go around assaulting the new workers, protesting around the streets. But the truth of the matter is that they are not permanent and cannot be permanent. The agreement has always been people work for certain months, get their bonuses and step down for another bunch. This is how things work, unfortunately.”

He said sub-council was trying to find a solution and meetings had been held with the disgruntled rubbish collectors.

“We are hopeful to resolve the issue. The city has nothing to do with this. All the city does is to put people on the database and call them for work. But I am adamant we will get through this issue,” he said.

The City of Cape Town confirmed that cleanising services in the area had been suspended following “serious intimidation” from the workers, who were demanding that their contracts be renewed for the duration of the current three-year tender.

Violent threats had been made against anyone else trying to perform cleaning services, said mayoral committee member for utility services, Ernest Sonnenberg, and it was unsafe for city or contract workers to enter the area.

“Renewal of the contracts is not possible due to the provisions of the Expanded Public Works Programme under which they are employed, which require new workers to be hired periodically. The rotation of workers is also a requirement set out in the tender to ensure that economic opportunity is shared among communities,” he said.

He said the City was liaising with community structures to try to resolve the matter.