The MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube is visiting the New England Road landfill site in Pietermaritzburg this afternoon.
Speaking today, following the raging fire, she remarked: “Our main focus is to ensure that we assist residents so that they do not suffer from smoke inhalation. We have stated in the past that we will not tolerate any breaches and non-compliance with the National Environmental Management Waste Act. Over the next few days, we will be consulting with relevant authorities in order to ascertain exactly how to penalize those found to be in breach with environmental laws. It cannot be business as usual.”
Importantly, Section 24 of the South African Constitution clearly states that everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and wellbeing and to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that prevent pollution…
As government, we have requested a comprehensive compliance audit report from the Compliance Monitoring and Enforcement Units and Pollution and Waste Management Units of the Department of Environmental Affairs.
We wish to assure communities that an integrated approach has been adopted in order to find a long lasting solution. We do not want communities to be exposed to air pollution as this may cause respiratory illnesses.
A Joint Operations Centre involving all spheres of government has been established. A team of experts and officials who are involved, have already developed a Comprehensive Action Plan. This entails mobilizing and deploying more resources from other municipalities. We can confirm that, already, more resources have been deployed.
We also want to urgently address the management of the site in order to minimize the damage. In this regard, we have requested regular reports on the containment measures. Such reports will be presented before the Provincial Executive Council and the Provincial Legislature.
Issued by The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development, Tourism And Environmental Affairs