Illegal dumping costs the City about R350 million annually, but when a Milnerton man phoned a call centre to report a case, he says he got the cold shoulder.
On Thursday September 22, Colin Brown saw a huge truck pull up to the vacant lot next to his home and dump a big flower pot of sand.
When Mr Brown asked the men what they were up to, they told him they were simply dropping a “blob” of sand.
Mr Brown went indoors to fetch his camera. When he returned, he found the pot had been broken and its contents spread across the field.
He decided to call the City’s illegal dumping hotline, but he was in for a shock: the call centre agent, he said, seemed to determined to dissuade him from pursuing the matter.
“There is an open plot on either side of me, so time and time again people will take the chance to dump. I had the dumping number and told the woman on the phone the story and she asked me if I was prepared to go to court and lay a charge with SAPS.
“ I got quite upset as dumping has been a sore point in my life. If the call centre is making life more difficult for us then what is the point,” said Mr Brown.
Ernest Sonnenberg, the mayoral committee member for utility services, said that the number Mr Brown wused would have reached the Safety and Security Control Centre which would have directed him to the Solid Waste By-law Enforcement Unit who would carry out an investigation on the report.
“Illegal dumping should be reported to the City’s call centre on 0860 103 089, or to the Solid Waste By-law Enforcement office on 021 444 6223/021 444 6224, although it can also be reported to the South African Police Services. We will engage with the management of the control centre to make sure that complaints are handled consistently in future,” said Mr Sonnenberg.
It was critical for those reporting illegal dumping to give as much information about the suspect as possible, said Mr Sonnenberg.
If there was not enough information, the complaint would go to the solid waste management department which would create a work order to clear the site if the dumping was on City property.
“The City is doing all it can to curb illegal dumping and we thank those residents who work with us by providing tip-offs,” said Mr Sonnenberg.