Dirt piles up in IY

Domestic waste has started piling up in the streets.

Imizamo Yethu is in a mess as rubbish continues to pile up around the area.

And with drop-off sites overloaded, street corners have become temporary dumping sites, which have already reached full capacity.

Wiseman Mbalati said the area has started to look a mess again as the community bore the brunt of a severe lack of services.

“People have to get rid of their waste and dirt, but there are no people removing the dirt. We have locals picking up the dirt and trying to keep things clean, but they also run out of bags and things,” he said.

“It’s even too much for them to do and they also need help.”

He questioned how people were meant to sanitise and remain clean while being surrounded by dirt and pests.

“You have to see the rats around here and there are more now because we have mountains of dirt in this community – things that these rats love,” he said.

Another local said the smell in the area had become “unbearable” and sometimes difficult to live in.

Shirley Motolo looks after her three grandchildren, aged 3, 4 and 6, during the day and cannot stand seeing them playing around the mess.

“We have to listen every day to ’keep your hands clean, keep your area clean’ and all this, but look at how we have to live and battle the virus,” she said.

During lockdown last year, one resident decided that enough was enough and started a cleaning crew with fellow residents.

Mluleki Mgayi from IY started the Ukuphila Community Clean Up crew and tackled problem areas in and around IY on a voluntary basis.

He said the area had become extremely dirty and already his crew, which had run out of bags, was feeling the pressure.

“We need people to help us. Now especially we must keep the area clean, but it’s difficult because there is mess everywhere,” Mr Mgayi said.

The City of Cape Town had recently assisted the crew by providing bags and other cleaning tools.

Ward councillor Roberto Quintas said cleansing and collection of rubbish in IY had been affected, as was the case in other informal settlements over the festive period and into the new year.

“Both City and contractor services are affected by the second Covid wave and there is more waste than usual as fewer people were able to go for their annual holidays back to the Eastern Cape,” he said.

Mr Quintas also highlighted “shackfarming”, where more people were being crammed into backyards and extensions onto properties, as a contributor to the increase in waste.

“The City operates daily cleansing and collections during normal periods, however, IY, like many other areas, is affected by the Covid resurgence,” he said.

On the bright side, Mr Quintas was able to initiate the start of a pilot project which will see new methods of collection waste, having already proved to be successful in other informal settlements.

“Further good news is the additional budget rollout by informal management for services by the City which will benefit IY and Hangberg this year,” Mr Quintas said.