Illegal access to the site by waste pickers was previously cited as the cause for several fires that erupted at the dump, choking the city with thick noxious fumes for days at a time.
On Monday, Alexandra Police Station’s Captain Kholeka Mhlongo confirmed that a fight broke out over the weekend amongst waste pickers, some of whom live on the site. A 30-year-old male, believed to be from Lesotho, sustained three stab wounds to his torso and neck.
The perpetrators then burned his shack and buried his body in a shallow grave alongside the smouldering woods.
“The deceased sustained three stab wounds, and burn marks, signs that he was burned during the altercation,” said Mhlongo.
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On Monday afternoon, waste pickers who live on site stumbled across the shallow grave and reported the matter to the police. Members of the Mountain Rise task team and local security companies traced the perpetrators to the Sobantu area.
“Information about the suspects was followed up, which led to the arrest of the two suspects, aged 34 and 43, in Sobantu. A murder case is currently being investigated,” said Mhlongo.
Musa Chamane, from environmental group GroundWorks, said conditions at the dumpsite have gone from bad to worse.
“The entire site is not conducive for safety, proper waste disposal and waste recycling. Having security at the entrance is not enough; people actually live within the dump which is neither healthy nor safe. The municipality needs to implement a proper safety plan.”
“A recycling warehouse, a material recovering facility is a much safer option,” he said.
Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson, Ntobeko Ngcobo, said the City was aware of the incident but, upon investigation with the site’s manager, found that the shallow grave was outside municipality’s parameters within the site.
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Ngcobo added that despite this, the municipality will look into beefing up security at the site, especially with fire blaze being prone during the winter season.
Safety at the site has been in the spotlight several times during the last 12 months. In March, Ntsiki Mhlakwane (56) was accidentally crushed to death by a waste compactor while last winter a fire at the site engulfed the city in smoke.