'Comprehensive action plan' in place to deal with KZN landfill fire

Firefighters try to douse a blaze at a landfill site in Pietermaritzburg.
Firefighters try to douse a blaze at a landfill site in Pietermaritzburg.
Image: Supplied

The KwaZulu-Natal government has vowed to investigate any illegality over a fire that has burnt at the New England Road landfill site in Pietermaritzburg for several days.

Nomusa Dube-Ncube, MEC for economic development, tourism and environmental affairs, visited the landfill on Monday.

"We have stated in the past that we will not tolerate any breaches and non-compliance with the National Environmental Management Waste Act. Over the next few days, we will be consulting with relevant authorities in order to ascertain exactly how to penalise those found to be in breach with environmental laws. It cannot be business as usual," she said.

"We also want to urgently address the management of the site in order to minimise the damage. In this regard, we have requested regular reports on the containment measures."

Several schools have closed their doors as a shroud of smoke hovers over parts of the province's capital city.

Dube-Ncube said the provincial government had requested comprehensive compliance audit reports for the landfill.

“Our main focus is to ensure that we assist residents so that they do not suffer from smoke inhalation," she said.

"We wish to assure communities that an integrated approach has been adopted in order to find a long-lasting solution. We do not want communities to be exposed to air pollution as this may cause respiratory illnesses."

Dube-Ncube emphasised that experts had already drawn up a "comprehensive action plan".

"This entails mobilising and deploying more resources from other municipalities. We can confirm that already more resources have been deployed," she said.

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