Human Rights Commission takes municipality to court over landfill site

The SAHRC has instituted an urgent court application against the Msunduzi municipality. File photo.
The SAHRC has instituted an urgent court application against the Msunduzi municipality. File photo.
Image: 123RF/ rclassenlayouts

The South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) has launched an urgent application in the Pietermaritzburg high court against the Msunduzi municipality over the deterioration of a dangerous landfill site.

The commission said the matter over the state of the New England Road Landfill Site has been set down for December 11 for an order to be considered.

This follows a SAHRC investigation. The commission said it was deeply concerned with the state of the site and its prejudicial affect on the environment and on public health.  

“Some of the challenges, which have plagued the site over the years, have included a poor leachate management system, pollution of the environment, non-functional equipment, lack of gas as well as the lack of air and quality monitoring, among others.  

“These have attributed to the outbreak of fires and the emission of strong toxic fumes which are posing severe threats to the sustainability of the environment and to the health and wellbeing of residents in both the local and surrounding communities,” said the KZN SAHRC branch.

It said the municipality's waste management strategy was still primarily reliant on landfill disposal and the lifespan of the site was already flagged as being close to its exhaustion several years ago.

“Given that the various attempts to improve the management, oversight and general condition of the landfill site have not been successful, the SAHRC has taken the view that the only option to address the matter is to approach the relevant court for appropriate relief,” said the statement.

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