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20th Aug 2022

Architect Africa Online

Africa's Leading Architecture Aggregator

“Failed State”: buy back centre in Komani is yet another white elephant

by Jane Cowley, MPL – Enoch Mgijima Constituency Leader

The Recycling and Buy Back centre at the Municipal dumpsite in Komani reached completion at the end of last year, but it remains locked up.

During an oversight visit to the site in November last year, we were told by a subcontractor that the centre was complete and would be functional by the end of November.

This week, on a return visit six months later, we saw that the building remains locked up and according to people on site, it has never even opened.

This centre and four others were built by the Chris Hani District Municipality at a cost of R36 million, a full R6 million over budget. So once again the tax payer has coughed up exorbitant amounts of money but has gained nothing in return.

The recycling and buy back centres were built on the premise that recyclable goods could be collected and resold, which would ease the pressure off overfull dumpsites. Furthermore, they would create sustainable work for waste pickers.

Sadly, this is not the case. The road to Ezibeleni is choked with illegal dumpsites because garbage removal, a local government competency, is a rare occurrence.

When garbage does reach the dumpsite, there is no site management and it is disposed of randomly. Access roads are choked and waste pickers roam around collecting what they can while animals feed off the piles of rubbish.

The failure of local and district government to control and manage this dumpsite is typical of a failed state. Furthermore, the lack of garbage management and the illegal burning of the site create a very serious health and environmental hazard as vermin breed and toxic gases are released over Ezibeleni and other suburbs.

I will write to the Eastern Cape MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Xolile Nqatha, and ask him to investigate why the competencies of refuse removal and dumpsite management have been allowed to collapse so dismally across the district. I will also request that those responsible for this collapse are held to account.

In a capable state, the delivery of municipal services is not negotiable. Residents get what they pay for. The residents of Komani deserve the same.

Images: Supplied


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