The metro swooped on a huge illegal rubbish dump in the Fairview bush this week, highlighting their commitment to putting an end to one of the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality’s worst environmental and public health scourges.
The shocking extent of the dumpsite emerged on Wednesday after the metro, guided by ecowatchdog Arnold Slabbert of Wildline and backed by metro and South African police officers, with a drone hovering overhead, caught Fanus Bezuidenhout red-handed offloading rubbish from the back of his truck at the site.
Dramatic video footage showed metro official Alita Kruger asking Bezuidenhout to step out of his vehicle and him instead switching on his engine and then tussling with her through his window after she tried to remove his ignition keys.
Bezuidenhout was fined R4 500 on the spot for contravening the municipal waste management by-law, driving in an area not demarcated for vehicles and failing to adhere to an instruction from a law enforcement officer.
Asked about the broader matter of the vast dumpsite which lies at the end of a dirt road which begins at Bezuidenhout’s house, Metro spokesman Mthubanzi Mniki said yesterday “there were indications of law contravention”.
The metro was investigating further and if these indications were proven, further steps would be taken, he said.
Weekend Post tramped around the site on Thursday evening and found a waste nightmare.
Piles of rubbish of every description – household garbage, school stationery, plastic, rubble including slabs of banned asbestos, carpet offcuts, piping, computers and printers, baths and washing machines – were strewn several hundred metres in every direction and several metres deep in places through the alien brush.
A lidless sewerage manhole surrounded by several pairs of gloves and green stains on the concrete apron suggested hazardous chemicals could have been dumped there.
Asked if this concern was being probed, Mniki said it was and the investigating officials would be consulting with the metro’s sewerage division.
The illegal dumpsite property belongs to the National Housing Board, which falls under the Department of Public Works, and Bezuidenhout would be compelled to clean up the site, he said.
“If he does not clean the place, we will clean it and make him liable for expense related to the dumping he did.”
Bezuidenhout, 59, advertises his services on Gumtree as A-One Removals. He told Weekend Post he owned the house at 171 Willow Road house at the top of the dumpsite track which also allows him to access his yard.
He said that while he had been caught in the act of dumping at the site, the rest of the rubbish was not his.
“People drive trucks down this road and offload stuff when I am not here.”
Slabbert, who was an environmental law enforcement officer with the former Western District Council, said dumping had probably begun on the site a decade ago.
He said he had discovered it after receiving an alert from a friend in the nearby industrial area who had seen a vehicle driving into the bush.
“We went in to investigate and found it. I put up surveillance cameras and we patrolled the area and checked the cameras twice a day for more than two weeks.
“The resident in the house, Bezuidenhout, drove in five times to offload rubbish during that period.”
The only other vehicle that drove down the track during that period was a bakkie and the occupants had not dumped any rubbish, he said.
Illegal dumping should be reported to the metro via (041) 506-2833 during working hours or on the toll-free number 0800-205-050.
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