Mayor Pakati was speaking at a virtual Councillors and Traditional Leaders Workshop convened to address the draft Review of the Integrated Waste Management Plan and the Draft Review of the Sponsorship Policy.
"Waste management is one of our main mandates as a local government institution. It is great that we are considering the Review of the Integrated Waste Management Plan, a reality which forces us to deeply reflect on its implementation over the past few years," Pakati said.
"We all know that despite some relative improvements, we are still experiencing several challenges in the Waste Management front. Apart from the fact that our city has seen a proliferation of illegal dumps, we have in the past faced challenges with regard to compliance with some of the provisions of the National Environmental Management Waste Act," he said.
"We clearly need to find a long-term solution to our waste management as envisaged by our country’s National Waste Management Strategy. This has a great potential of making us to fully explore the potential of our Waste Management Economy and unleashing potential in other economic sectors."
"I always make a point that apart from hygiene, no one wants to live and invest in a dirty city."
Mayor Pakati the outlined the interventions that the Municipality leadership took to address the situation.
He said: "After noting the various challenges that the municipality is facing in the arena of Waste Management, we decided to split the Municipal Services Directorate so that there can be better focus on solid waste management."
"This will be one directorate we will be monitoring because if it fails it would be difficult to explain why it is not as clean as required. The Solid Waste Management Services Directorate therefore arrives at a good time as we are considering the Review of this Integrated Waste Management Plan for the next five years."
"We are therefore hoping that this reviewed plan and the establishment of the directorate are going to enhance our current reality and also find a lasting solution to all our waste management challenges. '
"It should also be acknowledged that the challenges of waste management are not only existing in Buffalo City. They are caused by a variety of factors across the country and in all spheres of government."
Mayor Pakati then pointed to a study done by the South African Cities Network in 2014 which revealed that the challenges result from the following factors:
• Lack of coordination between municipalities and private waste service providers in relation to systems and joint reporting mechanisms on Waste Management.
• Poorly defined Institutional and governance structures for waste management services in some cities.
• Lack of municipal policies and governance frameworks for waste management across the system.
• The fact that Councils do not properly allocate financial resources for waste management.
• The lack of proper supporting instruments, framework and resources from the national government on the waste hierarchy, thus negatively impacting on how municipalities develop their policies on waste recycling, reuse and waste reduction.
"Our own diagnostic report that was done by Government’s Technical Advisory Centre found that our municipality has over time underfunded the waste management function when compared with the revenue that refuse removal generates."
"The other observation is that the overall factor that impacts negatively on waste management interventions is the rapid population growth that we are experiencing. This becomes even worse in CBDs and in apartments. This Review of the Integrated Waste Management Plan ought to be detail in how it responds and addresses these challenges," he added.
"It has long been established that a properly managed waste service creates ample opportunities for the municipality, the environment and the economy," said Mayor Pakati.
"We must make an admission that as it stands our municipality is mainly using landfilling as a primary form of solid waste disposal. We are disposing about 75 percent of our waste as a metro in the Roundhill Regional Landfill Site and the rest of the waste is disposed at the King William’s Town Landfill Site."
"We have over the years experienced a number of challenges regarding these sites and their compliance with the regulations of the National Environmental Management Waste Act. There have been a number of interventions designed to address the Roundhill Regional Landfill Site as our main waste disposal site and at least we are seeing some progress in this regard."
"It should however be acknowledged that landfilling is not a sustainable form of waste management in the long run. We therefore believe that our Reviewed Integrated Waste Management Plan and our long-term waste management strategy should place the development of alternative waste management options as a priority, more particularly recycling and re-use."
"The reality is that the disposal of waste at landfill sites removes a considerable quantity of useful products from general circulation. Clear thinking and actions should thus be taken so that we have waste management options that will bring opportunities for job creation, energy generation and value addition."