Pretoria - Since 2015 a landfill site in Soshanguve township has been operating without electricity due to illegal power connections made by residents from neighbouring informal settlements.
As a result of the prolonged power disruptions, the waste weighing process has been negatively affected.
The facility also has a broken window and damaged office door allegedly reported in 2020 but not repaired because the City of Tshwane did not have the budget.
These were some of the shocking discoveries made by members of the Section 79 standing committee on municipal public accounts during their in-loco inspection at the landfill site. The poor state of the site was attributed to lack of maintenance.
It was further highlighted that the lifespan of the landfill site was about five years, and that this required adequate intervention to avoid closure of the site.
In a report recently presented to council, the committee said: “As per operational requirements, daily waste compaction and soil covering are essential to minimise odour.
“During rainy seasons, it was impractical to carry out these operations effectively.
“In addition, the site was slippery during rainy seasons and this limited its accessibility, and as a result an alternative spot closer to the gate was identified for temporary disposal to ensure continued service delivery.”
Another impediment to maintenance, the committee said, was lack of budget allocation to repair the damaged fence at disposal sites and for routine clearing of dumped waste.
Also under the spotlight was the Ga-Rankuwa landfill site, which was said to be facing the same problems as Soshanguve.
In Soshanguve, the personnel lamented the fact that they had worked for more than a year without proper uniforms, personal protective equipment or a shower facility.
The committee expressed concern over the shortage of staff at the facility.
“It was reported that at least two security guards were needed to manage the site, noting the incidents of illegal connections listed above and the stolen palisade fence,” committee members said.
They were told that the full staff establishment required for maximum operation of the site include security officers, a caretaker, administrative staff and an engineer.
The facility has no power supply due to cable theft, a backlog in terms of compacting waste because of recent heavy rains, and a broken machine.
The weighbridge was not working and informal waste pickers at both landfill sites were exposed to health hazards because of mobile red toilets located next to where the pickers were cooking.