An unemployed man carries a bag full of recyclable waste. Picture: Siphiwe Sibeko
Pretoria - The City of Tshwane’s proposal to make Lyttelton Town Hall available as emergency alternative accommodation for homeless waste pickers has been rejected by the group.

As a result, the city said it was running out of options.

A new proposal to try to find a solution for about 200 waste pickers illegally occupying private land in West Avenue, opposite the SuperSport Park cricket stadium in Centurion, was yesterday handed to the Gauteng High Court, Pretoria.

This time, the city is offering an undeveloped piece of land it owns at Ellman Street in Sunderland Ridge.

But the city made it clear that only the waste pickers were welcome, not their goods.

The case was back in court yesterday after it stood down on Monday for the city to come up with a new proposal.

The waste pickers said the hall was not sufficient to house them as they numbered more than 200.

In its new accommodation proposal drawn up overnight, the city now said it had exhausted all options for temporary emergency accommodation in the vicinity of the waste pickers. It proposed that it would prepare the undeveloped land in Sunderland Ridge so that they could move in by mid-March. It also offered to assist them to move by providing trucks.

The city said the site would have rudimentary services provided by the municipality, including 20 portable chemical toilets, serviced weekly.

It would also provide two large tanks to be filled with water weekly.

But it said, in terms of its waste management by-law, these people may not store or sort waste on this property.

They may also only stay there for three months. Those who qualify would then register as applicants in the municipality’s housing programme.

The waste pickers, with the help of Lawyers for Human Rights, still have to consider this proposal. It is expected that the parties will be back in court in January. The group will remain on the private land until then.

It is unclear whether they will accept the city’s latest offer as this site is 17km from where they are now. They are not unwilling to move, but want to stay where they can sort and store their waste. The property where they are staying at present, also known as Mushroomville, belongs to Turnover Trading 191 (Pty) Ltd. The owners want them off the land as they want to develop it. But as the recyclers are homeless, the city has to first find alternative accommodation for them.

Pretoria News