Residents band together for closure of Ga-Rankuwa landfill site
Pretoria - A petition calling for the immediate closure of the Ga-Rankuwa Zone 16 landfill site has garnered nearly 300 signatures from the community.
The site has been contentious for the wrong reasons, including foul smell. Residents formed a group to garner a stronger voice in their demand to have the site closed down.
One of the residents, Edith Leeuta, said what was taking place at and around the site was an environmental and social injustice, which needed to be urgently addressed.
She said people of Ga-Rankuwa were subjected to the negative effects of the site, which also received waste from other sites.
“When we visited some of the surrounding areas we saw that the buffer zone was not in line with requirements.”
She said the more waste being dumped there, the more harm to the community.
“The waste comes from other parts, maybe if it was just Ga-Rankuwa it would not be an issue. The real problem is that Ga-Rankuwa is like the dustbin of Tshwane together with Soshanguve. Waste from Region 3 and 4, which have more than 300 000 households, comes to these sites.
“The site should have been closed ages ago; it has some non-compliances which a naked eye can see. It has long breached its height limitation. This is an ongoing social injustice in both these townships.
“The fact that there is a smell and nuisance means therein lies the problem that needs to be managed, so it does not affect the community further. Why must the community bear the brunt; why is it okay for people in Soshanguve and Ga-Rankuwa to be subjected to such? The City has a responsibility to manage the issue.”
Community member Joe Motloba said there had been numerous complaints about the state of the site, with some residents saying they were not able to even cook due to flies and the bad smell plaguing the area.
Happy Makumbila said he was glad there were finally more people coming together to fight the issue. He said the problem had been discussed in isolation without anything being done.
“At least now we have a bigger voice; they cannot claim there are no complaints. The numbers speak for themselves.”
According to a waste management expert who asked not to be named for fear of being blacklisted by the City, the site ought to be closed until a decision to grant the height extension had been granted by the provincial Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.
“By the City continuing the operation of the landfill, it is effectively denying the community of Ga-Rankuwa their say.”
He said looking at the complaints from the area such an extension was most likely not going to be granted.
The metro has also been slapped with notices of non-compliance by the department at both the Ga-Rankuwa and Soshanguve sites.
MMC for Environmental Affairs Dana Wannenburg said they had received the petition.
“Similar to the petitioners, the City has for some time been concerned about the Ga-Rankuwa landfill site and the increased amount of waste being taken there.
“As such, we started plans late last year to acquire another landfill site specifically to relieve pressure on landfills in the north of the City.”
He said the plans were at an advanced stage and they should complete the acquisition by the end of this financial year.
“This will bring much relief to Ga-Rankuwa's residents," said Wannenburg.