Resistance to proposed reintroduction of recycling tax
Discussion on the reintroduction of the recycling tax took place recently during a council workshop.
The council was engaging with business people and community organisations on its budget for the 2020-2021 financial year. Business and community organisations objected to the idea, with a representative describing its benefits as “pie in the sky”.
Ratepayers would pay the proposed tax to the municipality for collecting refuse bags of material that could be recycled.
The Mercury understands that when it was first introduced, residents were given pink refuse bags meant for material that should be recycled.
Msunduzi mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla stressed that there had been only a discussion on the matter, and no decision had been made.
He described the proposal as an important strategy to extend the life of the municipality’s landfill site. “The problem right now is that everything ends up in the landfill site; things like plastic end up at the landfill site,” Thebolla said.
“My idea on this is that we could even develop a co-operative that could work at ward level - that will sort out the refuse, so that when it is transported, not all of it goes to the landfill site. This will also create opportunities in communities and combat the problem of illegal dumping
“This will extend the life of the landfill site, and the municipality could also generate income from this, so we kill two birds with one stone.”
Thebolla said he had made waste management a cornerstone of service delivery efforts in the next financial year. The municipality was planning to spend R30million on machinery to use at the landfill site, and trucks for refuse collection.
“We are going to be much tougher when it comes to enforcing by-laws to keep the city clean. If you trade where you are not supposed to, we are going to charge you, and if you take out your refuse without adhering to the schedule or you dump waste, we are going to charge you,” he said.
He said the municipality had recalled some employees who had been redeployed to scholar patrol activities to enforce city by-laws.
Melanie Veness, chief executive of the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business, said they would not support the reintroduction of the tax until they had the opportunity to engage on how it would work.
She said the municipality had previously charged for the service without prior consultation - “Last time, they just slipped it into the tariffs without an explanation; we asked this time how it would work and we did not get an answer. At the moment they are battling with waste management - how are they going to manage recycling?” she asked.
Peter Green of the Maritzburg Association for Residents and Ratepayers described the benefits of the proposed tax as “pie in the sky”. He said ratepayers would oppose its reintroduction.
ACDP councillor Rienus Niemand said of the proposed tax: “We are opposed to it. They were charging this tax, promising to collect (refuse bags for) recycling... but they did not do that.”