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eThekwini Municipality's non-delivery of orange recycling bags attracts flak from community

Orange bags in Chatsworth which have not been collected. File Picture: Marilyn Bernard

Orange bags in Chatsworth which have not been collected. File Picture: Marilyn Bernard

Published Nov 22, 2021


DURBAN - DESPITE the eThekwini Municipality insisting that its orange bag recycling programme was still operational, city ratepayers said yesterday that in their areas they had not received bags for a year or two.

However, the city said it was not aware of any challenges with the distribution of the bags.

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One resident said Kies Avenue and the surrounding areas in Reservoir Hills “are not getting orange recycling bags and recycling stuff that are left for collection are not being collected and have to be brought back into our yards”.

“I have sent numerous emails to DSW over the past two years with no response. We are now putting recycling materials into our black bags,” he said.

He said another concern was that residents were dumping their refuse at bus stops. Rubbish dumped outside the local clinic had attracted rodents, he said.

Two years ago, The Mercury reported on allegations of corruption that were associated with this programme.

The city was criticised after a forensic investigation revealed that a contract for the supply of orange recycling bags to the city, to the tune of R90 million, had been awarded to a company that lacked experience and technical knowledge.

The Mercury previously reported that, according to the investigator’s report, the company was “wrongly awarded the tender”.

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The company’s inability to handle the contract meant that the city regularly ran out of bags. It was later found that even though the city cancelled the contract, money was still being paid to the company.

Numerous ratepayers’ organisations that spoke to The Mercury said they had serious doubts that the recycling project was still functioning.

Akesh Teeruth of the Stoneham Ratepayers’ Association said in their area they had not seen the orange bags in the past two years. “Everything is now dumped in the black bags. This (recycling) was a good initiative. It would be good to get the programme going again,” he said.

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Dr Annie Singh, chairperson of the Asherville Ratepayers’ Association, said in her area, they had not received any plastic bags in at least a year.

“It was a good programme, what I have also noticed was that some people were also abusing it by loading normal refuse not meant for recycling,” she said, adding that all stakeholders needed to play their part.

IFP councillor Mdu Nkosi said: “I doubt that the recycling programme still works. There were many complaints that had been coming from the communities. I haven’t met anyone who says that they are getting those orange bags delivered.”

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DA councillor Nicole Graham said she would not be in a position to speak on the matter as she was investigating a number of issues happening in DSW and this issue was one of them.

EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela said the city was still committed to its recycling project.

“We are not aware of any issues with the delivery of orange bags. However, residents experiencing issues with this are encouraged to contact Durban Solid Waste on 031 311 8841,” he said.

Raymond Rampersad, head of DSW, said the recycling programme was still operational but there might be an issue with the contractors . He said there were eight contractors to handle matters related to the programme and each contractor handled a different area.