Uncollected rubbish infuriates residents

Marikana residents and Social Justice Coalition representatives spruce up the area.

Residents of Marikana near Philippi East and lobby group, Social Justice Coalition, have accused the City of Cape Town of failing to provide basic cleaning services to the area.

On Tuesday May 16, the group held a clean-up campaign after the community asked to be helped to engage with the City because they need dedicated cleaning staff in the area.

Marikana residents said their rubbish had not been collected since August last year, resulting in large piles of rubbish accumulating near people’s homes, taps and toilets.

At the clean-up campaign, SJC’s head of their local government programme, Axolile Notywala, accused the City of double standards.

“They are selective because they have provided toilets and taps but do not want to hire dedicated workers to look after the area. This is not how people should live. The place is filthy, dirty, stinking and children and seniors are at risk of contracting diseases,” he said.

He said there should be City Health officials who go around to areas like Marikana but this was not happening in the area.

The group also encouraged residents to take the initiative and clean their area­­-to ensure there were no health risks.

SJC member Zukiswa Qezo said she had come to the clean-up to add her support to the campaign for “better sanitation and dignity of our people”.

“These people have been crying for services for too long now. We believe where there are people, there should be services. There is nothing stopping the City from buying this land,” she said.

Area committee member in Marikana 1, Simphiwe Matiwane lashed out at the City, accusing them of not caring for their own people.

He said in the four years they had been living in the area, the City should have bought the land. “We are foreigners in our own country. This City should have bought the land long time ago. We have made calls to them to help us with refuse bags and containers but that has not happened. Do you want to tell me they care for people? The answer is no,” he said.

As Vukani made its way around the area, we found filth in most parts of Marikana.

Vukani also found Fundiswa Twala whose shack is surrounded by stagnant drain water.

Desperate for help, she told Vukani she had tried to build a bridge across the water to access her home.

“This has been like this since March. I cannot describe the stink,” she said.

Sandile Ndesi, who moved to Marikana 2 from Gauteng last year, described the area as hell.

However, he laid part of the blame on residents who, he said, did not care about the area.

“We should be able to clean on our own. But the problem is that we do not have containers where we can throw rubbish. But again we should be more responsible by not dumping all over the place.

“If you look at this area, it is a dumping area. But again, this City does not care about poor people at all. They can do something better to clean the area,” he said.

Mayco member for informal settlements, water and waste services, and energy, Xanthea Limberg said the land was at the centre of a court case which had not yet been concluded. She said the City could therefore only provide services on City-owned land.

Ms Limberg said toilets and taps had been installed on the City-owned land on the periphery of the settlement, for humanitarian reasons.

“The settlement was formed after an illegal land invasion. The land invasions are currently the subject of a court case,”
said Ms Limberg.

“At this stage this land remains private property zoned for industrial usage and, as such, the City is limited in the extent of services it can legally provide.

“The City currently has been providing ad-hoc refuse removal with a front-end loader and has installed taps and temporary toilets on the City-owned land on the edges of the settlement,” she said

She added that due to illegal electrical connections across the road, the solid waste vehicles were struggling to gain access to the area.