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Title: Commercialisation of waste management in South Africa
Authors: Qotole, Msokoli
Xali, Mthetho
Barchiesi, Franco
McDonald, David A
Bond, Patrick
Date: Jun-2001
Series/Report no.: Occasional papers series / Queen's University, Municipal Services Project; no. 3
Abstract: The collection of household refuse – or the lack thereof – is one of the most powerful visual benchmarks of inequality in South Africa. Although the situation has improved somewhat since 1994, formerly whites-only suburbs are still kept immaculately clean with regular door-to-door refuse collection and teams of street sweepers, while most black township and rural area residents are forced to dump their refuse in open spaces or in unsealed communal skips. Street cleaning is often non-existent, and where it is available workers are often unable to cope with the volume of uncollected waste. As a visual indicator of change, solid waste management acts as a daily reminder to millions of poor South Africans that their health, safety, and living environments have changed very little in the past seven years. Municipal governments in South Africa have been turning increasingly to commercialisation (i.e., privatisation, outsourcing, corporatisation) as a way of addressing this refuse collection backlog. Why this has happened, and how successful it has been at addressing the problem, are the subjects of the two papers in this collection. The first paper looks at a micro-enterprise refuse collection programme in Khayelitsha, Cape Town, known as the Billy Hattingh scheme. The second looks at the newly-corporatised refuse collection service in Johannesburg called “Pikitup”. Although very different in their institutional make-up and size, these two initiatives are both driven by the same commercialisation impulse that is reshaping the waste management sector throughout South Africa. The papers also offer remarkably similar insights into the dangers of running waste management ‘like a business’. This introduction provides a summary of the findings of these two research reports and groups them into four themes: concerns about the entrenchment of a two-tiered refuse collection system; a lack of proper public consultation in the commercialisation process; the loss of public sector skills; and the impact of service restructuring on municipal workers.
ISBN: 0-88911-972-4
Project Number: 100192
Project Title: Municipal Services Restructuring (South Africa)
Municipal Services and Health in Southern Africa - Phase II
Access: Open Access
Copyright: Municipal Services Project
License: OA Permission Letter; copyright statement required on document
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