The state of the Eastern Cape’s landfill sites

AfriForum audited 135 landfill sites nationwide this year as part of its national project to measure the standard of landfill sites in South Africa.

Only one of the six landfill sites that were audited in the Eastern Cape adhered to national standards. In terms of applicable legislation and regulations, including the National Environmental Management: Waste Act (No. 59 of 2008), a landfill site must adhere to specific standards.

This is how the best landfill sites compare to the worst:

Name of branch/landfill site Municipality/ Responsible authority Licence number Compliance score (%)
Eastern Cape 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020
Aliwal North Maletswai LM 12/9/11/P131 30 34 36
Elliot Sakhisizwe LM 16 0 2 4
Hankey Kouga LM BB33/2/1100/5/P209 40 72
Jeffreys Bay (Humansdorp) Kouga LM 12/9/17/P53 58 88
Port Elizabeth Nelson Mandela Bay Metro 16/2/7/M200/D1/21/P278 76 99 90 78


Nelson Mandela Bay Metro B/33/2/1200/7/P37 90 74

The audit consists of a list of 33 questions that measure the minimum requirements for landfill sites in South Africa and includes factors such as access control, fires, medical waste, fencing, rehabilitation etc. A landfill site must obtain at least 80% to comply with legislation.

According to Arno Greyling, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for the Southern Cape, most of the landfill sites in the Eastern Cape are in a shameful state. “Most landfill sites are in an appalling condition and this can mainly be attributed to officials who are not doing their jobs properly. We also suspect that municipalities are misappropriating funds to such an extent that in some cases there isn’t money to get the sites up to standard.”

Greyling says the most common problems AfriForum identified during the audit were amongst others the absence of waste management licences, and the total mismanagement of sites. “The safety at most of the landfill sites is also worrying. The people who live on the sites illegally are often aggressive and it is becoming too dangerous to visit the sites.”

AfriForum branches will also exercise pressure on authorities in their areas to establish waste monitoring committees to improve the waste management process. These committees will consist of municipalities and interested parties wanting to improve waste management in a particular town. AfriForum will arrange a meeting with Barbara Creecy, Minister of Environmental Affairs, to identify sites that need to be restored and reach the necessary standards.

The audit report will also be submitted to the Green Scorpions for further investigation and action against non-compliant municipalities. AfriForum will continuously monitor the process to ensure that landfill sites are improved to reach the required standards.

  • Read the report here.

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