AfriForum announces landfill site audit report

AfriForum today announced its landfill site audit report and handed it over to the Department of Environmental Affairs in Pretoria. Mamogala Musekene, Director for Integrated Waste Management and Strategic Support, received this report on behalf of Mark Gordon, Deputy Director-General of Chemicals and Waste Management.

This follows after the civil rights organisation in October this year audited landfill sites in areas where AfriForum branches exist and compiled these results in a report.

According to applicable local legislation and regulations, among others the National Environmental Management: Waste Act, 2008 (Act No. 59 of 2008) a landfill site must meet set requirements. AfriForum converted these requirements to 33 questions in order to determine the minimum standards that a landfill site must meet. These questions were used to complete the landfill site audit.

According to Chris Boshoff, Coordinator for Environmental Affairs at AfriForum, the results in the report show that only 22% (23 out of 105) of the landfill sites audited meet the statutory minimum requirements. “At 78% of these landfill sites there ought to be intervened urgently to prevent health issues in the surrounding communities.”

Boshoff lists the following concerning issues that exist at various landfill sites:

  • No access control or notices at the entrance gate to indicate what type of waste may be dumped there;
  • Landfill sites are not fenced;
  • Infrastructure such as weigh bridges are missing and machinery is out of order;
  • Illegal medical waste is dumped at sites, with the result that underground water can be polluted;
  • Families with children live on some of the sites;
  • A waste monitoring committee that must be facilitated by municipalities, and of which the community can form part, is absent in many towns;
  • Cattle graze on some sites and eat waste;
  • Animal carcasses that were illegally dumped and not covered as regulation stipulates were also found on some sites; and
  • Poor environmental rehabilitation and waste compacting takes place on some sites, with the result that waste is blown around and pollutes the surrounding areas.

There are however also positive aspects that must be taken into account:

  • In 2016 only 18% of the audited landfill sites passed AfriForum’s audit. This number increased to 22% in 2017;
  • After the landfill site audit report of 2016, several meetings were held with the Department of Environmental Affairs’ Waste Management Division. A favourable relationship was established with the department. For example, Mark Gordon wrote a letter and provided AfriForum with the contact details of the Provincial Waste Management Officials, so that branches could involve them in the audit;
  • The Hatherley landfill site in Mamelodi only received 36% last year. AfriForum recommended to the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality to prioritise the repair of this site. After many meetings and discussions to rehabilitate the landfill site, this site received 80% in this year’s audit;
  • Gauteng landfill sites’ average improved from 60% to 75%. An improvement was also seen in the Free State and Western Cape; and
  • AfriForum’s Naboomspruit branch was involved in a landfill site court case that was heard on 9 October 2017. The ruling must still be made, which will create a precedent for landfill site problems nationwide.

Boshoff adds that AfriForum, as part of this project, audited three privately managed landfill sites.

“One of the sites complied to 100% of regulations, while the second site received a percentage of 99% and the third 98%. This in comparison to state-managed landfill sites that received an average of 44% during the audit.”

Marcus Pawson, Head of Local Government and Environmental Affairs at AfriForum, is of the opinion that the shocking condition of state-managed landfill sites in South Africa can be attributed to poor management, corruption and the insufficient training of municipal officials and workers.

“Landfill sites can be managed well, provided that the government makes a decision to sustainably maintain infrastructure for recycling and reusing.”

This is how the landfill sites of each province fared:


Province Number of audited landfill sites Number of landfill sites that met more than 80% of the minimum requirements Number of landfill sites that did not meet the minimum requirements
Western Cape 10 3 7
Northern Cape 10 1 9
Eastern Cape 3 0 3
Free State 14 1 13
Mpumalanga 17 0 17
Gauteng 22 13 9
Limpopo 9 3 6
KwaZulu-Natal 7 1 6
Northwest 13 1 12
National total 105 23 82

“Where landfill sites do not meet the minimum requirements, AfriForum already sent letters of demand to all the municipalities and insisted that the municipalities make their action plans public to again bring landfill sites up to standard. Should the municipalities not give heed to this, AfriForum will assist the community where possible to rehabilitate the landfill sites themselves,” says Pawson.

Join this initiative by sending an SMS with the name of your town to 45354 (R1) to help keep your environment clean and neat.

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