Rotting refuse riles Lobatse residents

Residents are up in arms over uncollected refuse
Residents are up in arms over uncollected refuse

LOBATSE: Residents here are up in arms against with the local authority over its failure to regularly collect domestic waste, a situation that has left the border town unsightly and raised the threat of health hazards.

For the past seven months, the Lobatse Town Council has failed to consistently collect domestic refuse from homesteads due to breakdowns of vehicles. In some instances, dustbins and industrial waste were only collected once or twice a month, as a result.

In some areas of the town such as Pitikwe and Thema wards, refuse has stayed in the streets for up to five weeks without collection, with rotting waste contaminating the environment and posing a health risk for residents.

Pitikwe ward resident, Salome Molosiwa said the situation has spiralled out of control and needs urgent attention. “The council has always been consistent in refuse collection. They used to collect waste once a week, but these days, they take more than three weeks without emptying the dustbins.

“The situation needs to be attended to as soon as possible because we are at risk. There is stench everywhere because of waste that has rotten inside these bins and the scorching summer sun only makes things worse.

“At least if the council could officially communicate to us about this problem. Now they are not communicating but our dustbins have been full for weeks.”

In Thema ward, Refilwe Ntlhane said residents believed waste collection will be efficient after hearing that the service had been outsourced.

“I heard from the news that the council intends to outsource the service to private companies. Well, they did that but the problem is that we never see these people here.

“It seems like they only collect waste in some parts of the town. I rarely see them in my ward. If they do come, why are our dustbins still full to capacity?" she queried.

Ntlhane said her last waste collection was three weeks ago.

“I don’t know where these people expect us to take the waste and I don’t know why they always pressure us to pay the service levy when they don’t provide the service.”

Residents have taken to social media to express their frustrations and demand immediate action.

Mmegi toured parts of the border town yesterday and found fully packed waste bins in Pitikwe, Peleng, Woodhall and Newstance wards overflowing. Some residents have evidently resorted to burning the waste despite the fire hazards and associated environmental concerns.

Council public relations officer, Segametsi Kebonang did not respond to Mmegi questions by press time yesterday. However, town mayor Malebogo Kruger has previously conceded that the council did not adequately collect domestic refuse. In the second full council sitting this year, Kruger promised that ‘an outsourcing initiative’ will bring relief to the residents.

“The council acknowledges that it has been having several challenges in terms of waste collection in most parts of the town.

“This is due to the fact that our refuse collection fleet has been facing technical breakdowns. We have undertaken an outsourcing initiative as an immediate measure in addressing the situation. Private companies have been engaged to collect domestic refuse on our behalf on contractual basis,” Kruger said then.

But it has since proved to be all talk and no action

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