Tshwane in hot water over non-compliance at landfill sites
Pretoria - In an unprecedented move, the Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development has referred Tshwane for criminal investigation and possible prosecution because of non-compliance in municipal landfill sites.
According to the department, all City of Tshwane landfill sites inspected were still not compliant, and no changes were done to address the non-compliances identified.
Deputy director-general of natural resources management in the department Dorah Modise said they had investigated a new cell being “illegally” developed at the Soshanguve landfill site without approval.
It has also been reported that leachate is seeping from the landfill into the adjacent river, causing a stink. In terms of the department’s latest investigation at the Soshanguve landfill site, the leachate formed part of the non-compliances that were detected at the facility.
Modise said during the follow-up inspection, it was found that no infrastructure was put in place to address this non-compliance.
The expected negative impacts would be surface and underground water contamination with severe consequences on human and ecosystem health, Modise said.
City of Tshwane spokesperson Selby Bokaba said the budget allocation for landfill sites in the 2019/20 financial year did not cover the upgrades.
“It should be noted that capital budgeting in the city only happens once in the beginning of the financial year as well as the reprioritisation process during the adjustment budget period.
“However, over time due to demand for land, settlements were formed closer to the landfill sites, creating elements of health nuisances to encroaching communities.”
In avoiding intensive health nuisances to the community, according to Bokaba, the city developed an incident register for recording of all the incidents and complaints that occurred; thus far no community incident recorded.
With regards to the erection of a cell without approval at the Soshanguve site, Bokaba said this was not the case. He said during inspection, the cell in question was for stockpiling of a cover material on site. “The city is finalising and preparing documentation for the application to open a new cell at the site. The new disposal cell can only be operational once the necessary approval has been granted by the department.”
Bokaba said city landfill sites were being audited on an annual basis to improve operations in terms of permit conditions.