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Ha-Tšosane villagers up in arms over dump site

By Thoboloko Ntšonyane

MASERU – Concerned villagers of Ha-Tšosane have filed an urgent court application in which they table the grievances they have about the dumpsite in their village.

“The Applicants’ cause of complaint is ongoing as Respondents continuously dump garbage, burn it and do incidental conduct thereto in the Applicants’ village of Ha-Tšosane. Consequently, Applicants endlessly suffer the detrimental environmental impacts in violation of applicant’s rights to scenic, clean, safe, and healthy environment, well-being, sustainable development, preservation of biodiversity and healthy-life (sic). The violation of fundamental human rights is automatically urgent,” reads the applicants’ court papers.

The applicants are Ha-Tšosane residents, Taole Mangope, Setenane Sekhonyana, Raphael Teisi, ‘Mamopolokeng Thamae, Palesa Mangope, ‘Mabahlakoana Kobo, and Thabo Molapo being the first eight applicants respectively.

The respondents are Maseru City Council (MCC), Golden Rewards (Pty) Ltd, Minister of Health, Minister of Tourism, Environment and Culture, Minister of Local Government and Chieftainship Affairs, Minister of Law and Constitutional Affairs, and the Attorney-General being the first to the seventh respondent respectively.

They have petitioned the court to order the respondents to discontinue using that place as the dumping site “with immediate effect”.

They also argue that the MCC’s continued dumping of solid waste in their village impinge on their rights to “well-being and scenic, decent, clean, safe, healthy, and sustainable environment as free-standing justiciable rights and/or as incidents of the right to life”.

Also, the petitioners accuse the MCC of the “denial” to furnish them with the information on environmental monitoring, management, and integrated environmental audit on how the ongoing pollutants dumping activity as they are of the belief that their effects will continue to affect them in future, saying that is “unreasonable, unjustified and invalid”.

The applicants seek a declarator that: “ A mandamus [an order of court] that 1st Respondent be evicted/ejected from HA-TŠOSANE dumping area and to use TŠOENENG and/or any alternative dumping site and dump pollutants thereat in an environmentally friendly manner. And that upon withdrawal from HA-TŠOSANE, Respondents should clean-up HA-TŠOSANE dumping area and leave same in an environmentally friendly condition.

“That the Applicants be consulted and permitted to actively participate in all activities involving the usage and/or otherwise of HA-TŠOSANE as a dumping site and/or for any environmentally toxic activity.”

They also seek an alternative remedy that will see those directly affected by the landfill be relocated and they want the “alternative residential sites, and to build them houses of similar plans, values, qualities, and dimensions as their erstwhile homes”.

Not only does the waste thrown at Ha-Tšosane is hazardous to the environment, but The villagers of Ha-Tšosane also face the risk of contracting respiratory diseases due to their proximity to the dump site, the experts have warned.

Meanwhile, the MCC which is responsible for the waste management in the city, said they will reserve a side for discarding waste, an idea which had not seen the light of the day.

Initially, the Ha-Tšosane-based dump site was where the quarry was mined and it had been turned into a dump site for over three decades.

MCC has in the past indicated that they have identified the dumping site at Tšoeneng.

The applicants’ lawyer is Advocate Fusi Sehapi.

The case will be heard on Wednesday this week.