The wheel turns for dumpers

Illegal dumpers now face losing their vehicles after a City of Cape Town proposal to change a waste-management by-law was given the green light last week.

Full council backed the by-law amendment on Thursday January 28, allowing for the vehicles of those caught dumping illegally to be impounded.

Law enforcement officers will be able to seize the vehicles without a warrant if they have reasonable grounds to suspect it has been used to add to one of the many illegal dump sites around the city.

The impounded vehicle will only be released if a criminal charge is not laid or no fine is issued within 48 hours of its seizure, in the event that the criminal charges against the individual have been withdrawn or the individual has been acquitted of the charged offence.

The court can also declare that the vehicle be forfeited to the state, provided this won’t undermine the rights of someone other than the convicted individual.

Illegal dumpers will have have to pay a fee to release their vehicles. The amount will increase for the first three offences: R7 500, R10 000 and R15 000.

Ernest Sonnenberg, the City’s Mayoral committee member for utility services, said the City spent about R350 million annually to keep pace with massive volumes of illegally dumped waste.

“It is essential that the City is afforded the channels and support necessary in order to address this ongoing damage to our environmental health and unacceptable drain on our funds,” he said.

“Illegal dumpers across the city are collectively playing their part in depriving communities of services and infrastructure that could be put in place with that amount of money, such as sports facilities or social welfare programmes.

“Instead, those funds are used to clean up after a few selfish residents.”

The City’s refuse-collection service runs 365 days a year, and 24 drop-off facilities across the city accept various waste materials in volumes of up to 1.5 tons three times a day.

“There is no excuse for dumping waste illegally in suburbs and next to roads.

“Those who dump illegally take a deliberate decision not to make use of the drop-off facilities. It is high time that the law-abiding residents of the city stop suffering the consequences of de- cisions made by those who refuse to dispose of their waste in a safe and legal way.

“In order for this to change, though, we need the help of residents in reporting offenders,” said Mr Sonnen- berg.

* Illegal dumping can be reported to the City’s call centre at 0860 103 089.

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