The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) has provided 24 vehicles to 20 municipalities across the country, at a cost of R44.5-million, to highlight and raise awareness on the amendments to the Municipal Infrastructure Grant policy and to improve waste management in municipalities.
The vehicles include skip loader trucks, front-end loaders, compactor trucks, tractor loader backhoes and other trucks required to transport waste within municipalities, said Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment Minister Barbara Creecy.
The department is assisting in the development of municipalities' Integrated Waste Management Plans, and training on sustainable waste management practices.
"We have also cooperated with the National Treasury and the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs to change the Municipal Infrastructure Grant policy so that municipalities can now access this grant to fund their yellow fleet," she said.
The National Waste Management Strategy was revised in 2020 and focuses on improving household waste collection, diverting waste from landfills, promoting a circular economy and promoting community awareness of the effects of illegal dumping on their own health and on the environment, the DFFE said.
“To achieve the goals of this strategy, all stakeholders must play their part, including that national and provincial government must support municipalities to develop local integrated waste management strategies. We must ensure our landfills comply with the regulatory environment and waste does not leach into groundwater or into the soil. We must invest in the yellow fleet and, every year, we must ensure more homes have access to safe waste disposal,” said Creecy.
Additionally, the private sector must promote the circular economy and divert waste from landfills as government has already set up the regulatory environment for extended producer responsibility schemes to promote recycling in the packaging, electronics and lighting industries, with recent regulations gazetted for new sectors such as used oil and pesticides.
“Government and the private sector must work with waste reclaimers so that we build a dignified waste reclaiming industry that promotes waste diversion from landfills, promotes the circular economy and gives a decent livelihood to the tens of thousands of men and women who do the daily back-breaking work of the recycling industry,” she said.