Volunteers tackle Langa’s illegal dumps

”We need to take care of our environment”

By Vincent Lali

7 April 2022


Lusindiso Mkala (carrying the black bag) and Alfred Magwaca are among the volunteers cleaning up Langa’s streets. Photo: Vincent Lali

A group of eight volunteers in Langa are cleaning up the township’s streets and illegal dumps. Alfred Magwaca said the residents came up with the cleaning project because a company that the City of Cape Town hired battles to keep the streets clean.

“The company that got a tender to clean here takes a long time to reach some areas. Even after it cleans them, the rubbish piles up again,” he said.

Magwaca said, “We as Langa residents need to take care of our environment. We want to create a clean environment and encourage youngsters to be responsible men.”

The volunteers also remove building rubble from residents who construct, demolish or renovate their homes.

Lusindiso Mkala, who founded the project in January this year, said, “First we walk around the township and look for illegal dumps. After we have identified them, we send a message to our WhatsApp group saying where the rubbish dumps are and when we must remove them.”

Mkala said they removed waste which blocked drains, including used nappies, tattered clothes, used pads and food.

They collected the rubbish in one place and let the City know where to collect it, he said. The volunteers had cleared several “big illegal dumps” so far and were planning to expand the project to informal settlements.

The volunteers are provided with free data. Loyiso Ngqwemla, Too Much Wifi strategic advisor, said volunteers are given five gigabytes every time they show up for work.

“After they come to work five times, we give them free installation so that they can have permanent access to free internet to search for jobs and study,” he said.

City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee Member for Urban Waste Management Grant Twigg said the City spent R350-million a year cleaning up illegal dumps. He said every year the cleansing team cleared approximately 2,900 large dumping hotspots across the city.

Twigg said the City was planning to introduce new strategies to remove rubbish, involving community members and informal recyclers.