Foul dumpsites smell ‘enters’ Parliament

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MOSA MAOENG

MASERU – Garbage dumps continue to hog the limelight as Members of Parliament debated the issue this week. Concerns are mounting in both the Ha Tšosane and Rothe communities over the foul odour and adverse health effects emanating from the dumping sites in the two areas.

Lebohang Phohleli, Member of Parliament (MP) for the Rothe Constituency, expressed concerns during a session of the National Assembly Portfolio Committee on Law and Public Safety Cluster held earlier this week. He emphasised that while addressing the issue of Ha Tšosane is imperative, the Rothe community urges the Maseru City Council (MCC) to explore alternative solutions rather than replicating the same dumping practices in their area.

He expressed support for the Minister of Local Government’s suggestion of allowing interested parties to utilise the site for productive purposes at no cost to the government. Phohleli proposed relocating processed waste to Tšoeneng to mitigate any adverse impacts on community members.

Following the Minister of Local Government, Chieftainship, Home Affairs and Police, Lebona Lephema’s remarks about numerous individuals approaching the ministry with proposals for recycling and gas production at the site, among others, without requiring government funding, questions arose during the Law and Public Safety Cluster session regarding the progress of relocating the dumping site to Tšoeneng.

This session, which focused on matters concerning the ministry prompted Lephema to provide an update. He informed the committee that announcements have already been made regarding the relocation of the dumping site from Ha Tšosane to Tšoeneng. The ministry has been approached by various parties interested in utilising the Ha Tšosane site for the benefit of the community.

Furthermore, he said that they have reached out to transporters willing to facilitate the transfer of waste to the proposed location. In the interim, MCC has requested the Ha Tšosane community to continue using their current site while contractors’ contracts for Tšoeneng are under review.

Regarding the utilisation of the dumping site by interested parties, Lephema assured the nation that there was transparency in the process, emphasising the importance of presenting the best options beneficial to the community. However, he said discussions with MCC are pending to ensure that their concerns and plans are effectively communicated to the committee.

Meanwhile, the Ombudsman Advocate Tlotliso Polaki revealed to this paper that the Principal Secretary (PS) of the Ministry of Local Government, ’Mamphaka Mabesa had failed to respond to her request for a report on the Ha Tšosane dumping site. Nonetheless, she said she has summoned MCC and the town clerk to a meeting at her offices this week.

Polaki had initially sent a letter to the MCC via the Ministry of Local Government PS on March 20, seeking a report to address the persistent deadlock surrounding the challenging issue of the Ha Tšosane dumpsite. Despite being given a seven-day deadline, the PS has not provided a response, even after a follow-up message from Polaki was sent last Wednesday.

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