City enforcement staff are increasingly focusing on the impoundment of vehicles used in the act of illegal dumping in a bid to curb the practice which costs the City millions of rands a year to clean up. Read more below:
The City of Cape Town’s Law Enforcement Department held an operation today, 13 September 2016, focusing on illegal dumping – particularly in the Philippi Horticultural Area. Illegal dumping is one of the City’s biggest challenges, with hundreds of millions of rands being diverted to address the problem annually.
Due to the cost of clearing dumped material and the seeming reluctance of perpetrators to make use of the City’s designated drop-off facilities – all of which allow businesses and residents to dispose of up to 1,5 tonnes of waste per day for free – the City took the decision to sharpen its weaponry. Since January 2016, 106 fines have been issued for littering, totalling R52 000. In addition 267 fines have been issued for illegal dumping, to the value of R870 300.Furthermore, steps were taken to amend the Integrated Waste Management By-law to allow for the impoundment, without a warrant, of vehicles reasonably suspected to have been involved in illegal dumping. Including the two vehicles impounded during today’s operation, a total of seven vehicles have been impounded since this amendment. While this is a fairly modest result, it is understandable as these dumpers are notoriously difficult to catch in the act. Law Enforcement officers will, however, maintain their special focus on illegal dumping in the coming weeks, monitoring hot spot areas and performing regular blitzes.
Individuals found guilty of using their vehicle for illegal dumping, with that vehicle having been seized and impounded, will need to pay a tariff for its release – the value of which will increase for the first three offences. A guilty party will have to fork out R7 500 to have the vehicle released for the first offence, R10 000 for the second, and R15 000 for the third. Each subsequent impoundment fee will have a value of R15 000. This will be the case unless ordered otherwise by the court.
‘While the impoundment fees are no small matter, it is the income lost while the vehicle is impounded that will hit illegal dumpers hardest. In the case of large trucks, the impact could be in the region of several thousand rand per day,’ said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.
An impounded vehicle will only be released under the following scenarios:
· If a criminal charge is not laid or no fine is issued within 48 hours of its seizure
· In the event that the criminal charges against the individual have been withdrawn
· If the individual has been acquitted of the charged offence
The court may furthermore declare that such a vehicle (any vehicle used in connection with the commission of an offence under the By-law) be forfeited to the City, provided that this would not affect the rights of any person (other than the convicted individual) to the vehicle.
‘This new legislation also offers much greater scope for affected communities to assist in identifying and punishing offenders. We encourage all those who witness these crimes to take photographs of the incident to assist us in our investigation. If the vehicle registration is included, this could help to ensure that the perpetrators are suitably punished,’ said Alderman Smith.
Illegal dumping can be reported to the City on 021 596 1999.