Enviroserv leachate has the community in distress

For years, a foul stench has loomed over the rural community of Shongweni, which neighbours the landfill site, Enviroserv.

After repeated attempts attempts by Enviroserv denying being the primary cause of the smell, countless protests and petitions there seems to be no end in sight for Shongweni residents.

Security guard at the Edamini Primary School, Thulebona Ntuli (59) who lives in Ngqopheni, an area situated very close to the site, has resigned himself to the smell.

“Everyday I smell it, we (the people residing in Ngqopheni) have got used to it because it is very strong on our side,” he said.

“I heard it was going to go away but it has not. It does not necessarily affect me, it is just something that is there. I can’t do anything about it.”

Earlier this year, the community staged a march to Enviroserv and multiple people confirmed that the company promised the smell will go away.

Instead the foul odour has fluctuated, residents say they can smell it at nights and when it’s very hot. Also, on the day after a strong rainfall, the odour is very strong.

Yet not all residents think the smell is as severe as it made out to be. Thabile Maphumulo, who manages a Spaza shop near the primary school, says there is no smell and that some people are overreacting.

“There is no smell, if they say they can smell it then they are lying. Personally I haven’t smelt anything and it does not affect me or my business,” she said.

Maphumulo, whose Spaza shop sells amongst other things, fried chips and vetkoeks, says the landfill site has no direct affect to her business.

Maphumulo does acknowledge that there is a smell when driving past the site but that is normal she argues.

Shongweni residents who commute daily to work whether in the factory town of Pinetown or the neighbouring suburb of Hillcrest, have to endure the smell to and from work.

(Having taken a taxi to Shongweni, past Enviroserv, we can confirm there is a strong smell when going past the site)

Last year the Department of Environmental Affairs ordered Enviroserv to discharge its leachate (percolated liquid waste) to an off-site to alleviate the smell off Shongweni, since then Enviroserv has been transporting its leachate by truck to a waste site in Johannesburg.

In court papers, obtained by Noseweek, Enviroserv filed an interdict with the Gauteng High Court to reverse the DEA’s decision and instead allow Enviroserv to tanker (transport by ship) its leachate to the Southern Waste Water Treatment Works, citing an “environmental disaster” if not allowed to do so.

The transporting of waste to Johannesburg has hurt Enviroserv’s bottom line and production capability.

Despite their revenue taking a hit, Enviroserv has committed to giving back to the community of Shongweni through their Corporate Social Initiatives.

According to the site’s website, during the 2015 – 2016 financial year, the company implemented leanerships for fifty-five unemployed people and in 2017 enrolled eighty unemployed people to partake in a Business Admin Level 2 learnership.

All these people were from the communities they operate in nationally, including Shongweni.

This was corroborated by Nonhle Ntuli (29), an Adult Basic Education Training student, attending at the Edamini Primary School.

“There is no smell, Enviroserv helps out, they help us a lot, there are learnerships and (scholarships) here and in the other school,” she said.

Ntuli sang Enviroserv’s praises, further adding, “They also provide work. The learnerships have been going on for around two months now.”
Although the timeline clashes with the one on Enviroserv’s timeline, there is credence to the company’s CSI.

Ntuli did acknowledge there used to be a foul odour but says she does not smell it anymore bar when it’s hot or the day after heavy downpour.
Principal of the Edamini Primary School, Alfred Ntinga said there had been no reported incident from his students regarding any sicknesses that would result from the stench.

“Community members living around here are affected most by the smell at night. I do not live around here. An expert would better identify with what chemicals are most harmful,” he said.

While in Hillcrest, there has been many reported incidents of children getting sick due to the harmful gas emanating from the site.


Durban youth tournament cancelled due to withdrawal of government funding

The KZN Academy and the South African Football Association held a media briefing on Friday, on which it was revealed that this year’s edition of the Durban under 19 Football tournament has been cancelled after the KwaZulu Natal government pulled out it’s funding at the last minute.

Carlos Catalino, KZN academy CEO and chief organiser, said the tournament was cancelled because the department of Sport said the tournament will only be sponsored if it adds six academies from KZN teams who play in the PSL and the National First Division.

“The department of sports wanted us to add six academies of KZN teams playing in the top two tiers but arrangements couldn’t be completed since the promised sponsorship money was reduced from last year. We asked for more but they couldn’t grant us.

We held meetings that included SAFA president Dr. Danny Jordaan, MEC Sihle Zikalala and we tried to talk with the Minister of Sports. But after an agreement with Dr. Jordaan, we couldn’t reach the MEC and those in charge said their hands were tied.”

Siyabonga Ntshingila from the KZN Department of Sport and Recreation, said that it’s the department’s mandate to protect the interests of KZN teams.

“As KZN department of sports we have a duty to the development of football in KZN, not to sponsor overseas teams that are owned by multi-million rand owners. We’ve been happy to sponsor the Durban youth cup since it’s inception, but we thought it was about time KZN teams gets a slice of the pie.”

KZN academy captain, Philani Khumalo, also expressed the team’s disappointment at the cancellation of the tournament. He said the Durban U19 international tournament is exactly what the country’s football development needs and the SAFA team was ready for it.

“Our teams were in preparation for the tournament. This is the only way that we can really step up to the plate internationally and start doing better in international competitions is by playing international tournaments and pitting ourselves against the best youngsters in the world.”

Ayanda Nyuswa, sports analyst for Radio DUT, said that it happened during apartheid that the government dictated who to play with or against in order to grant you sponsorship.

“Somebody is going to miss out here simply because of the pulling of funds from this tournament. It is a huge disappointment. I see this going back to the past, are we going back to the apartheid days when we have government interfering in sport, where they will tell you who to play before you get funding? For me this seems to be the case. It is just so unfortunate because this is a SAFA project for the benefit of our country, for the poor footballers that come from rural areas.”

In four years, the KZN academy has produced more players who now play professionally in the PSL, Portugal, Germany and both senior and junior national teams.

Palm Bay tenants wants a working lift before and of August

The residents of Palm Bay have given the the flat owners until the end of August to get the lift of the flat up and running again.

The residents were in a meeting with the owners of the flat on Friday, a meeting they had been asking for since June. The issue on the agenda was the lift that has not been working for eight months.

The meeting had to start later than planned because one of the owners, Sipho Sithole, was running late while co-owner, Ian Dlamini, had to cancel because of an emergency at home. By the time he came the crowd had already started voicing their dissatisfaction to the supervisor.

Sithole apologised and then got straight to the agenda of the day, explaining why the lifts were taking longer to fix and assured the residents that they would be working in less than three months

“We hired a company who made us a quotation and gave us a timeframe of the whole project. They said the lift would be ready to work by February but they came back in December saying they can’t meet their own deadline. That’s when we decided to just replace all the cables with new ones rather than having to fix it every now and again. We’re looking to have the lifts up and running by October.”

The residents made it clear that they couldn’t wait that long.

Mr. Ndlovu said while he understands why the owners did it, he felt disrespected by the fact that owners made this decisions without consulting them.

“In as much as what you did makes sense, I still don’t understand how you could make such decisions with speaking to us, who are affected by this lift everyday, first. Meanwhile we’re expected to pay the full rent while getting half the services.”

Miss Mshengu, from the 11th floor, said she was ready to live Palm Bay if this continued.

“This has been going on since last year yet we still pay the same rent, only stayed here because I’d already settled but I can’t take another three months of this.”

After a lot of heated arguing, the residents said all efforts should go towards fixing one lift before the end of August otherwise they’re leaving month end, and they were not willing to hear anything else.

Drought meeting spills over

What was supposed to be a community meeting about water restrictions was overshadowed by a high tempered scuffle.

The eThekwini Water and Sanitation department organised a community meeting for Pinetown residents to adress issues of droughts, water leaks and restrictions at the Pinetown Civic Centre.

Nhlanhla Mpondi of Cowies Hill raised an issue with his R10 000 water bill and got into a heated exchange with his councillor Melanie Brauteseth.

“The meter burst, I called the municipality to come fix it and they gave me a reference number. 3 months down the line is get a R10 000 bill,” said Mpondi.

Councillor Brauteseth promised to look into the matter. At the time of publishing, Mpondi said his bill was still not settled.

It has been over 8 months with this bill hanging over his head and Mpondi said he refuses to pay for municipal incompetence.

Other issues of concern were the regular occurrences of water leaks.

Nolwazi Biyela, a representative from the Water and Sanitation department said the municipality has upped efforts to curb leaks.

She said the municipality has a database of hotspots areas that are most affected by burst pipes and leaking taps.

In addition, Biyela said the department had underwent an initiative to train 12 000 unemployed youths as plumbing artisans.

The department has created a WhatsApp helpline where residents could report burst pipes and similar matters. Biyela says someone should arrive atleast 30 minutes after reporting of incident.

Cindy Bradley, a nursing sister, raised concern with the prevalence of leaking taps from communities on the outskirts of Pinetown who don’t have money or knowledge on how to fix the problem.

Biyela said the Human Settlements United takes care ofproper RDP houses and private homes with a property value of under R250 000.

Biyela also confirmed that the city of Durban is currently experiencing drought and this has lead to the shutting of water at certain intervals.

“Currently we are not shutting, we have reduced (water) pressure. Umngeni has imposed restrictions,” she said.

“We came up with a plan of reducing instead of shutting completely.”

The number of the WhatsApp helpline is 0731483477.

Stuck in oblivion

The recent postponement of this year’s Durban International U19 Tournament raised a few questions about the seriousness with which we take football development. Strangely, however, rather than thinking about development in South Africa I found myself taking a global outlook and asking questions that I could not answer. Here are my questions:

The constant criticism of Chelsea and it’s youth team is that they produce the best teams but not necessarily the best individual players. How do you find a balance between producing the best individual players and the best functional teams at youth level? Do you place more emphasis on one over the other? Is it possible to promote the individual characteristics of youngsters without making them think and look like they are better, while still maintaining harmony between the kids? Is it advisable to promote individualism?

The game moving to an era that favours one forward supported by other attackers who are expected to also be the first line of defence, is that an example of the game requiring youth teams to place more emphasis on team ethics? If yes, how does that help because at the end of the day it’s an individual player who will be promoted based on how good he/she is, not the whole team who function as a unit?

Piennar will take Wits to the next level, on and off the field

Bidvest Wits has just announced the signing of Steven Pienaar on a free transfer to confirm the end of his illustrious overseas career. While we all agree that this is a great signing by Hunt’s side, I’m not sure everyone fully comprehends the magnitude of this signing.

Signing Pienaar is a just as strategic a move as when Wits signed Klate, Pelembe and the likes. Those signings ended up being just as important for their intangible impact as they were for their were impact on the field that can actually be quatified. The addition of experienced heads meant more leaders for Wits and that is one aspect that pushed Wits to the finish line ahead of it’s competition this time. On the field, Pelembe proved especially valuable in the absence of Mahlambi in the first half of the season while Klate was consistent all season long. But as important as they proved on the pitch they were just as important off it; if not more.

The signing of Pienaar will add to that. His talent on the ball can not be doubted -he’s shined alongside Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder & Gareth Bale, among others- it is his guidance of the plethora of talented youngsters at Bidvest stadium that will really take the club to the next level. Pienaar’s role at Wits will be as much about leading the youngsters to the next level in the field as it is off it.

The good news is that is what he was born to do. He’s always played for teams who are famous for their belief in youngsters; Ajax, Totenham, Borussia Dortmund and Everton. Throughout his career he’s played and won titles with exciting youngsters and being at Wits feels like it was Destiny all along.


Kaizer Motaung is one legend that deserves more respect than we’re showing

As South Africans we have a history of not celebrating our legends while we still have them. It is only after they are dead that we shower them with all the respect and adulation that deserve. We have done this to a host of figures who had proved influential to us during the peak of whatever they were doing and I’m afraid we are still doing it.

It puzzles me how, in 2017, inspirational figures like Mr. Kaizer Motaung Snr. still does not have an honorary Doctorate from any of our Universities. Bra Kaizer built Kaizer Chiefs Football Club in 1970 and by the turn of the century it had won everything there is to win in South Africa.

In its 47 year existance, Chiefs’ influence has extended to much more than football and sports in general. At the height of the apartheid regime Amakhosi proved one of the few unifying sources for the Black and White population in the country. With Bafana Bafana banned from sporting activities and other major sporting codes segregated by the apartheid government, Chiefs were importing the Ted Dumutrus and having them mentoring township kids. They were playing your Wits Universities and other “white” teams in front of thousands of South Africans of all colours in the stands.

Today it’s influence is felt in many spheres of the world. So much so that commercial brands and other major players in the entertainment industry wants to be associated with Mr. Motaung’s brainchild, see the globally renowned Kaiser Chiefs band from Germany. The bands name is not coincidentally reminiscent to that of Kaizer Chiefs, it is by design and that is because of Chiefs- and to a large extent Mr. Motaung’s- influence.

But the story of Mr. Motaung’s legacy goes far beyond those achievements. His business acumen is not to be laughed at either. Without any higher education qualifications, Bra Kaizer has managed to build from scratch what has grown to be one of the most recognisable brand not only in the country but in Africa as a whole. Kaizer Chiefs has grown up to be one of the most recognisable sports brands in the world and the fact that this has all been achieved under his leadership deserves massive respect on it’s own. Basically, Mr. Motaung is running a business empire that he, not single-handedly of course, built from nothing but today it’s so ahead of its peers that everyone wants a piece of it.

There are many honorary doctors out there who have not touched and changed as many lives as Kaizer Motaung, can only wish to build half a brand as influential as Chiefs and who have not provided half as selfless service to the country and the continent of Africa. Admittedly, an honorary doctorate is not the only way we can give show our respect and appreciation for legends like Mr. Motaung.

Of course he got the Entrepreneurial Leadership award by the Henley Management Collage 13 years ago but is that enough for the epitomy of black excellence? Is that enough for the man who left South Africa, conquered America and came back to implant all he had learned on the other side of the Atlantic? The one man who learned from him and took his model as it is has gone on to be another prime example of black excellence. Jomo Sono conquered South Africa, went to America and came back to plant what he had learned over there in exactly the same way Kaizer had done seven years before him. In naming Kaizer Chiefs in 1970, Motaung incorporated his name with that of Atlanta Chiefs, the team he had played and, probably, learned the most from. Sono- who had also left Orlando Pirates to America played for New York Cosmos- did the same upon his return, naming his Jomo Cosmos seven years later.

I believe as writers, an autobiography of an individual as influential as Bra Kaizer should have been written a long time ago. It is my dream to get the chance to ghost write his autobiography for not only sports fans to indulge in Bra Kaizer’s wisdom but for the next generations of entrepreneurs also.

The reason I emphasised Kaizer Chiefs is because I want the man to be respected for more than his talent with the soccer ball but for his brainchild that is sure to live way after his gone. Kaizer Motaung is the epitomy of black excellence and I wish he could be respected as such while he’s still here.

Here’s hoping legends like Kaizer Motaung get their due respect while they’re still alive and can pass knowledge to us

Words Speaks Louder Than Action