Flies, rats and foul odours pervade a shipping container that serves as a municipal refuse-removal service for Hangberg – and residents have had enough.
The green container on the corner of Salamander and Karbonkel roads is a blight on the neighbourhood, say residents.
It’s meant to be used for everyday household refuse, but residents say it’s attracting a lot more than that – everything from old furniture to building rubble.
And because the door isn’t being latched the stench of rotting garbage hangs over the area.
The container’s presence attracts unwelcome scavengers, and Marlene Friedmann, a resident, says it creates the impression that anything can be dumped in the vicinity.
“People see the container, and they feel it’s okay to dump stuff around and inside this container. The stuff will be all over the place, and it smells really bad. Let’s not even talk about the flies and the rats.”
Efforts to get the container removed had come to nought, she said.
“What is even more sad is to see the children scratching out the rubbish there. It could be very dangerous for them.”
Jonathan Lesch, another resident, said he had seen many people pulling up to the site to dump their rubbish. Things get heated when he confronts them.
“People always ask me if I own the area and why I talk so much about something that does not belong to me. I am only
trying to keep the area clean because there are days when the flies sit around this area because people dump their old food also there.”
Earlier this year, according to Mr Lesch, rotten meat was dumped on the corner and the dogs scavenged on it, leaving behind a big, stinking mess.
“The whole place was smelling very bad.
People are not used to this, and this should not be okay.”People shouldn’t just complain but lodge formal complaints with the City, he said.
“Nobody speaks out to properly address this matter. We have a health hazard right on our doorstep, and this will not be okay anywhere else, so why should we be okay with it?”
Community activist, Roscoe Jacobs, accused the City of not managing its rubbish containers properly.
“I have raised the concern with the City of Cape Town regarding the rats etc on numerous occasions, and they have spoken to residents about dumping.
“However, the problem is not just the people of the flats, but even ratepayers who come and dump their rubbish there.”
The City should issue wheelie bins to those who needed them and make suitable storage spaces available for the bins to stop them being stolen, Mr Jacobs said.
And the waste from the container should be removed more frequently, he said.
However, ward councillor, Roberto Quintas, said the container was cleaned once a week. “Unfortunately, it is supposed to be kept closed. What happens is residents leave the door open, attracting dogs and flies and rats instead of keeping it closed as it should be.”
It would be “naturally impossible” to keep the area clean and empty, as it was meant to be used as a refuse drop-off point for those without wheelie bins, he said.
The City made “every effort” to keep Hangberg free of litter and illegal dumping, he said. “Unfortunately, as much as the City clears and cleans, the dumping continues.”