According to the Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality management report for 2022, the Roundhill landfill site is in need of urgent intervention.
BCM was issued with a court order in 2021 to attend to issues at the site within 90 days, which compromised its licence conditions.
These included, among others, repairing the boundary wall, erecting signage pertaining to access control (in three official languages), and compacting and covering waste on a daily basis.
None of these issues have been addressed and local councillors say the situation at the site has become worse.
The GO! & Express visited Roundhill and found that waste pickers had built shacks at the site, which they access through gaps in the boundary wall.
There were several fires, and the biggest, burning since February 7, is believed to have contributed to poor visibility on the N2 that caused a multiple car pile-up on February 8.
Firefighters from the Buffalo Flats and Mdantsane fire stations are dispatched to Roundill to assist with fires there, leaving no-one to assist communities.
There is also insufficient supervision on site and no compacting and covering work is being carried out.
One of the machines needed for compacting work was burnt in 2022 and has not yet been removed from the site and replaced.
The report found that overall, the landfill site was not being managed properly in accordance with waste management licence requirements.
The report states: “Should the municipality not implement remedial actions addressing the condition of the site, this will have a negative impact on the environment and health of the public.”
Centre for Local Community Rights chairperson, Christo Theart, said “it is a damning report. The fundamental problem is a dysfunctional municipality.
“The system of oversight within the municipality is not working properly.
“Directors are not taking responsibility for their directorate and are not held accountable for the items highlighted by the auditor general.
“The quarterly reports from directors to their respective portfolio committees are lacking in content and information to such an extent it is impossible for councillors on these committees to apply oversight.
“We hope the incoming municipal manager will manage in such a way as to create an environment for oversight and ensure directors are held accountable.” Spokesperson for the Green Scorpions, Ncedo Lisani, said: “Non-compliance with environmental legislation was investigated by the department of economic development environmental affairs & tourism’s directorate for compliance and enforcement.
“A criminal case docket has been opened in this regard and is presently with the National Prosecuting Authority.”
Lisani said the department had engaged with BCM regarding compliance with environmental legislation.