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Killer gas from landfill a threat to illegal occupants

A number of residents from Marikana informal settlement in Zwelihle gathered at the Overstrand municipality on Wednesday 13 November demanding answers.

The group raised their grievances with regard to limited sanitation blocks, water issues and the lack of electricity. A small group of women told Hermanus Times that they have all had enough of struggling.

“We make due with what we have, but it is extremely difficult.

“Using paraffine and gas increases a high risk of our shacks burning down, it is a struggle to cook, wash our babies and do our household duties,” one woman explained.

The municipality has recorded an estimate of 1 035 informal structures in Marikana at the end of June 2019.

According to municipal manager Coenie Groenewald, the Marikana informal settlement has not been supplied with electricity. “No electricity will be installed there and the illegal occupants have been warned about the danger of staying on an un-rehabilitated landfill site. It is not safe to reside on this old landfill site,” he says. Groenewald says that the municipality has provided access to water, sanitation and refuse removal services to mitigate health risks. He adds that a total of 70 toilets and 42 taps are positioned along the periphery of the informal settlement. “Lighting to the ablution blocks were installed but unfortunately vandalised.”

Groenewald says that the Overstrand Municipality needs to emphasise that hydrogen sulphide gas, present at Marikana due to it being situated on a decommissioned landfill site, is toxic and also flammable and residents are advised, in their own interest, to move away from the site.

Groenewald says the rehabilitation of the landfill site will have to take place. “However, it can only be considered once the people staying on the land have been relocated.”

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