Ratepayers turn screws on litter bugs

Pupils from DF Malan High School with their supporters' banner.

TASNEEM HASSAN

Some Goodwood residents have vowed to turn back a tide of illegal dumping in parks and on street corners in their neighbourhood with a newly-launched awareness campaign.

The drive started on Friday April 1, and Jacques van Zyl, secretary of the Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association, says it will focus on several hot spots in the area, including empty buildings, parks, street corners and under the N1 bridge.

Mr Van Zyl and other residents are distributing pamphlets door-to-door around the neighbourhood. Supplied by the City, they tell how to report illegal dumping.

He said he planned to extend the drive into schools on Monday April 18. He hopes principals will work with the campaigners by urging pupils to join recycling initiatives.

“The purpose is to make people aware of the concerns and encourage to rather reduce, reuse and recycle as it is better for the environment,” said Mr Van Zyl.

Apart from the foul smell of rotting waste, he fears the health hazard posed by things such as soiled nappies and medicine bottles.

“I would like to encourage residents to join hands and help to keep Goodwood clean. It is our home, and it will require the effort of everyone to make Goodwood a safe and clean environment for everyone. Together we can do so much more.”

Mujahed Jantjies, 45, from Goodwood, is also worried about illegal dumping and is doing his bit to tell the community about the problem. It dismays him that the people who so often dump illegally are part of the very community they spoil.

“It is our community, and we need to take it in or hands to keep the environment clean,” said Mr Jantjies, who joins volunteers to clean the parks.

Standard municipal wheelie bins weren’t big enough to handle all the rubbish from overcrowded houses in parts of the neighbourhood, so people dumped their waste on street corners, he said.

“Sometimes we find bottles and nappies lying in the gutters of the roads,” said Mr Jantjies.

Ernest Sonnenberg, mayoral committee member for utility services, said anyone caught dumping could be fined R500 to R5 000 – the size of the fine depends on how much waste is dumped, and a magistrate can impose a bigger one if they think it is warranted.

Recently, the City amended its Integrated Waste Management By-Law, giving it the power to impound cars used for illegal dumping. The car is released if a criminal charge is not laid or no fine is issued within 48 hours of its seizure, as well as in the event that the criminal charges are withdrawn or the accused is acquitted. The court can also decide that the car should be forfeited to the State, as long as this doesn’t violate the rights of someone else who has use of the vehicle.

* Individuals found guilty of using their car for illegal dumping, with that car having been seized and impounded, will need to pay a tariff for its release, the value of which will increase for the first three offences. A guilty party will have to fork out R7 500 to have their vehicle released for the first offence, R10 000 for the second, and R15 000 for the third. Each subsequent impoundment fee will have a value of R15 000. This will be the case unless ordered otherwise by the court.

* Asked about the Tygerdal drop-off facility, Mr Sonnenberg said it was still a key service in the community and would stay open until a new one had been developed in Beaconvale, scheduled for the end of September next year.

Ward 27 councillor Cecile Janse van Rensburg said the City refuse removal services at businesses and homes were reliable, so it was unacceptable that illegal dumping still happened.

* Residents can report illegal dumping to the City’s Call Centre at 0860 103 089 or email wastewise@capetown.gov.za.

* Goodwood Ratepayers’ Association will meet on Thursday April 28, at 7pm, at the council chamber. Visitors are advised to use the entrance in Molteno Street.

Call Brian Lawson at 078 979 8382 or Jacques van Zyl at 061 721 1223 for details.