Free City-issued rubbish bags being sold in spaza shops

Lelethu Lolwana with the R2 coin used to purchase the bin bags.

City of Cape Town rubbish bags are being sold illegally at some spaza shops in Imizamo Yethu, further raising the ire of residents whose garbage was not collected for three weeks over the festive season.

The City-issued bags are meant for distribution to residents in the township’s informal housing precincts, but an operation between the Sentinel and community leader Lelethu Lolwana revealed how the blue bags, which are not for sale, are being sold for R2 each by unscrupulous shop owners.

Meeting Mr Lolwana outside the Hout Bay police station on Friday December 6, he pointed out that the bags were being sold to customers at the spaza shop directly across the road.

Mr Lolwana then handed a R2 coin to a youngster outside the shop and requested that he purchase a bag on his behalf. In less than a minute, the youngster returned with the bag which
he promptly handed to Mr Lolwana.

The Sentinel photographed the operation, and was shown the bag which clearly states that it is not for sale.

“A few years ago each household was given about two or three bags a week, but you don’t see this anymore. Now you have these bags, which are supposed to be free, being sold for profit, “ Mr Lolwana said.

“So you have 100 bags, and a shopkeeper is making R200 for nothing.”

He could not say at which other shops rubbish bags were being sold, but was certain it was happening elsewhere.

The operation came on the same day rubbish collection resumed in Imizamo Yethu after more than three weeks.

Several residents had contacted the Sentinel about the “mountains” of garbage that had been accumulating. Mr Lolwana, who arrived back from the Eastern Cape on Thursday January 5, said the smell was overpowering on his re-

A worker at one Imizamo Yethu tip said there had been issues with one of the City-contracted waste removal company’s trucks, which meant rubbish could not be collected.

City spokesperson Priya Reddy said the City thanked residents for reporting the illegal sale of the blue bags and would follow up on the incident.

“Recently, in order to try and better control the stocks, the City began printing serial numbers on the bags which can be linked to the contractor to which they were issued.

“Any refuse removal bags confiscated during raids attract a R25 fine per bag for the contractor,” she said.

On failure to collect refuse, she said, the the City’s own monitoring revealed that the contractor did not keep the area at an acceptable level of cleanliness for the week ending January 6.

“For this the contractor will be penalised financially and required to remedy the situation.”