Wallacedene residents want the authorities to take tougher action against people dumping in the area illegally.
They say the growing problem is a health risk.
“Our children are suffering with diarrhoea, rash and ringworms because they are playing in these dumping areas,” said Cynthia Lumkwana.
She blames the City of Cape Town for failing to enforce its by-laws.
“People discard their rubbish at night, and when we wake up, we just see the pile of it. It’s not that the City doesn’t clean it, but some community members are ignorant,” said the mother of two.
Nosandiso Njenjese, who owns a meat stall near the taxi rank said dumping hurts her business.
“My customers are not coming as usual. As you see, there are flies all over because of this illegal dumping,” she said, pointing to piles of plastic rubbish bags just metres from her stall.
The culprits, she said, should be arrested or slapped with big fines.
“I wish people can learn to be responsible and work together with the municipality. The City provides services, but we don’t take care of them,” she said.
Ward councillor Simphiwe Nonkeyezi said he had raised the issue several times at public meetings.
He said street cleaners were forced to spend more time on the ever-growing mounds of illegally dumped waste than on their normal cleaning duties.
“The municipal trucks come and collect the rubbish every week, but because there are people who don’t care and don’t understand the danger of illegal dumping, they continue messing the area.”
He urged the City’s law enforcement to monitor illegal dumping. It is such a big problem that it chews up a hefty chunk of the City’s budget annually.
“It costs the City 350 million every year to clean up illegal dumping,” said City media spokeswoman City spokeswoman Hayley van der Woude.
“Cleaning up illegally dumped waste is about 20 times more expensive than collecting from individual wheelie bins as specialised equipment like front-end loaders must be hired to remove the waste.”
She said dumping was also under reported and that created an environment where people feel they could dump with impunity.
“In terms of penalties the level of fine imposed depends on the quantity and nature of the waste dumped. It ranges from R500 to R5 000 and the magistrate can levy a larger fine if they see fit or even recommend a jail sentence”, said Ms Van der Woude.
Those who use their vehicle to dump illegally risk having it impounded.
“A guilty party will have to fork out R7 500 to have the 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 is the case unless ordered otherwise by the court,” said Ms Van der Woude.