Buffalo City ignores health hazard at Stoneydrift landfill

Cllr Patricia Williams

Buffalo City Municipality Caucus:

Residents over a wide area of central East London, Amalinda and Cambridge are fed-up with what appears to be the continuing neglect by Buffalo City Municipality to address the ongoing illegal activities at the Stoneydrift landfill site, close to the Frere Hospital.  For pictures click here and here.

Toxic fumes, caused by burning rubbish, continue to adversely affect the health of nearby residents such that a number of them – elderly and children – have had to be treated at Frere Hospital for respiratory ailments arising.

My ward, ward 3, borders this site.  I have raised this issue with the Municipality several times, including with a community petition which was lodged with the Council Speaker last year and to which there has been no response after more than 6 months.

While it might seem that the Fire Department is not doing its job in putting out the fire, it too is hamstrung in being able to meet its responsibilities.  Not only is its equipment in a poor state of repair as observed by a DA Parliamentary Oversight team in December last year, but a recent caller for assistance was told that the Fire Brigade would not attend the tip at night because the fire fighters “get robbed and stabbed”.

The health and wellbeing of the children using child care centre and a church operating from the tip is very troubling. Open wires are also commonplace due to izinyoka stealing electricity.

Clearly there is a need for health inspectors and social workers to visit this site to ensure that proper health, safety and welfare standards are being met.

It is obvious that the ANC controlled Council is indifferent to, and uncaring about, the living conditions of affected residents in Buffalo City.

In contrast, a DA controlled Council would act promptly to fence off this area to prevent further illegal dumping, to eliminate electricity stealing, to ensure that no further burning of rubbish took place and to seek to rehabilitate the site where possible as it did at the former landfill site at Second Creek.