A Community Monitors Investigation into the Waste Crisis in Sekhukhune, October – November 2021

Interviews with family and neigbours

Each of the monitors in our team spoke with family and neighbours  about they dumping . Here is a summary of what they said ·Why we dump

All of them said that they dumped because there was no waste collection service. The dumpsters the are provided are very far away from the houses  so this is not practical. ·How people dump

Some said that they burn their waste. Others that they throw their rubbish in the bush in the rivers, valley and on the side of the roads far awa from their houses , so that

After cleaning their homes(especially after weddings, funerals etc) they identify a spot (mostly dongas and in the aloes surrounding their homes) and dump the waste.

One  lady said “we villages are not like urban areas,  because here we do everything on our own e.g. water, roads and waste. We burn some of the things but the smell of the smoke is terrible for us and our neighbours so it is better if we dump them’.

·On the Municipality

Many people commented on the municipality as the cause of their problems

“ Our municipality does nothing in helping the community and they do not teach people about the harm and the consequences in the environment and only when it benefits them.”

“ In the rural areas there is still oppression by municipalities, they take all this services to townships and towns to please those who are rich” .

“ When I see people who clean the streets they only take away papers and leave the diapers and other waste. The municipality pay people (EPWP) to only remove the papers but they fail to remove this big hazardous waste.”

“ municipality can provide big steel bins in our area close to our houses”
·People should be fined for dumping in the river and hills

One residents says that she thinks that there must be a fine  for people who dump in the river but first municipality must must provide a service.

Safety of children
·. Children play malapalapana (indigenous games) they also in danger of getting contact with the waste. As for the bottles it is very dangerous because they can play with them and gets hurt.

Interviews with our elders

We asked our elders about this problem , when did it start and how was waste managed before the mines came .This is a summary of what they said ·

Our environment in the olden days was clean ·Population was less and people were consuming food that they plant and indigenous ones found in their farms, yards, mountains and  forests. ·Diseases were few because of the kind of life they were living and the food they were eating. They lived long and healthy. ·Waste was less because they had other ways of making them different e.g. meat was cut and dried. Nowadays food get rotten because of load shedding and dumped ·They had no plastics to package food. ·They built using material from land, not plastics and metals bought in the hardware store ·Trees were cut only for use but nowadays people cut for fire and business. There was less soil erosion because yards were surrounded by trees and aloes that controlled water. Rivers and  rain etc were the only source of water. Dry wood was only used for fire. ·Consumption has  increased as a result of the ever-increasing population. This has increased demand, more products are produced, and lot of waste is created because of manufacturing, packaging and the lifespan of the product made. ·Climate change was never a problem because people have knowledge to respect nature. Nowadays things have changed and the challenges we face are frustrating and we are suffering because of the consequences of what we are doing to nature. Older people in the community said that back then they did not have waste collection.

·They got rid of their waste by usually burning the waste or by making their own dumping place in their yard where by they dig a hole: ·she also added by saying the waste of nower days it’s different from back in their old days, the different being the fact that nowadays we have so many shop’s that uses many different kinds of packages. She also added by saying even now they still dig holes but within a month the hole might already be full. ·We were just dumping waste around sethobolo and burn them. ·The waste was much differ to actual, because much of their waste was rip from ploughing field like mahlaka, meoko and diponkies. · in that age  we used old clothes as napkins instead of  diapers ·when we’ll drink a beer we a come close and use one thing that call sego after is make sure is clean in put inside the house because is make by traditional thing ·Old people were consuming food they were farming and hunting ie locusts, dikgagarapane, dinthlwa(big ants coming from ground after rain. There was less population because they were following culture unlike nowadays where our 12 year daughters bears children. They were also eating meat from livestock and tamed animals from the mountains and forests. Indigenous fruits and bulbs were also eaten. There was little waste or no waste because bones and skins of animals were used to create products. They knew importance of the environment and respected sacred places ·Nowadays we have different kinds of food and some have bad effect to health and environment.

Sekhukhune Residents – Please add your views to this story. Please WhatsApp your comments to : +27 79 623 5248