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Illegal dump sites were tackled by Pikitup, which is cleaning up rubbish in Soweto. Some of the sites will be turned into recreational facilities.
THEMBA Mthembu, a resident of Protea Glen, is willing to do whatever it takes to educate his neighbours about illegal dumping in Soweto.


Thabo Mokena supervises the cleanupThabo Mokoena supervises the cleanupMthembu lives in Extension 10, a few yards from a site used as an illegal dump. He said the irritation of rats from the rubbish was unbearable. “I have been trying to stop people from dumping here because it invites rats to our houses, but they do it anyway. People come and dump rubbish at night using bakkies,” he said.

Mthembu was one of many Protea Glen residents who watched Pikitup employees remove illegally dumped waste from the site. Their efforts were part of a mass campaign to rid the township of illegally dumped rubbish, which took place on 4 and 5 June.

Areas covered in the campaign included Glen Ridge, Dlamini, Mofolo South, Tladi, Moletsane, Mapetla, Emndeni and Naledi.

“Look at this place,” Mthembu said, pointing at the area with a visibly unhappy face. “It [could] be a very beautiful place for our children to play.”

Three trucks repeatedly picked up loads of building rubble and household rubbish from the site, which is the size of a football field, until it was entirely clean.

Mthembu said he would print flyers to highlight the dangers of illegal dumping and distribute them around his neighbourhood.


Protea Glen resident Themba Mthembu is glad to see the end of illegal dumping sitesProtea Glen resident Themba Mthembu is glad to see the end of illegal dumping sites“The two-day cleanup campaign is part of a three-month short-term programme, which will also see some illegal dumping sites turned into recreational facilities,” said Steven Boya, a Pikitup supervisor.

“By cleaning illegal dumping, rats and other rodents which thrive in polluted areas will be reduced, if not eradicated. Since these vectors pose great danger for the health of residents, this cleanup will immediately make a difference to the community.”

Thabo Mokoena, another Pikitup supervisor, had to make sure that the site was left clean. “People have been coming here to tell us that we are doing a good job. And that makes me happy and want to continue helping the community,” he said.

Illegal dumping is a common sight in Soweto, with rubbish often piling up not far from people’s houses. It was often caused by residents who did not adhere to the refuse collection schedules for their areas and ended up disposing their waste and litter in open spaces, said Pansy Oyedele, Pikitup’s communications manager.

“The cleanup campaign will continue every day until all illegal dumping areas are cleared up,” she said.

Residents are encouraged to call Joburg Connect on 011 375 5555 or send an email to to report any illegal dumping.

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