Ermelo landfill scores dismal compliance rating

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GK CRONJE

14 September 2021

Msukaligwa Local Municipality does hold a license, but does not adhere to compliance in the slightest. Municipal deterioration is rampant and it is noticeable that especially smaller municipalities are subject to large-scale mismanagement.

AfriForum has audited 153 landfill sites across South Africa this year as part of the organisation’s national project to measure the quality of landfill sites in South Africa. No nobody’s surprise, only one out of 21 landfill sites that were audited in Mpumalanga complied with national standards. In terms of applicable legislation and regulations, including the National Environmental Management: Waste Act 59 of 2008, all landfill sites must comply with specific requirements, which are not met by municipalities in Mpumalanga. The Ermelo landfill has been a subject of controversy for years, with millions of Rands wasted on contractors and needless rehabilitations of the site, just for it to fall from grace mere months following rehabilitation. In 2015, Msukaligwa Local Municipality (MLM) scored an impressive 85% compliance rating. Alas, it has all gone to the dogs from there.

According to the audit, in 2016, scored 52%, and scored 42% in 2017. 2018 and 2020 saw the municipality being rated 18% each year. However, in 2019, MLM essentially failed their compliance completely, with a rating of 2%. In this year’s audit, the municipality scored a compliance rating o a mere 10%, which is well below even the lowest of acceptable standards. According to Hennie Bekker, AfriForum’s District Coordinator for the Lowveld, most of the landfill sites in Mpumalanga are in a poor state. “This can be attributed mainly to the lack of oversight functions by the state to hold municipal officials responsible for the decay of these landfill sites. The most common problems that AfriForum identified during the audit included the absence of landfill site licences, and complete mismanagement of sites. There is also no maintenance plan for machinery and employees that were contacted attested that certain machines stood for months without being repaired. In some cases there was no efficient security to secure the landfill site thus making it easy for informal reclaimers to access the site.”

Msukaligwa Local Municipality does hold a license, but does not adhere to compliance in the slightest. Municipal deterioration is rampant and it is noticeable that especially smaller municipalities are subject to large-scale mismanagement. AfriForum met with Barbara Creecy, Minister of Environmental Affairs, and her team on various occasions. AfriForum will also focus on solving problems at certain landfill sites in the province in cooperation with the relevant municipality. The organization will apply pressure to get these sites up to standard. AfriForum will monitor the situation closely to ensure that these sites’ standards improve sufficiently.