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Sipho Majola pulling his trolley along the road in Wattville where he collects his food and recyclables every week. Photo Cred: Kimberly Mutandiro

African Reclaimers Organisation needs help to oppose a fee being implemented on residents by the City of Johannesburg, which will affect waste reclaimers throughout the city.


Johannesburg, South Africa (30 April 2021) – The Brixton Community Forum and the Bordeaux Residents Association are standing with the African Reclaimers Organisation to oppose the implementation of an additional R50 fee by the City of Johannesburg on residents with homes that are valued above R350,000.

The fee is said to go towards extending the Pikitup separation at source programme (S@S) that has been piloted by the City in several Johannesburg suburbs. This will mean that people imposed with the fee will no longer leave their recycling for the city’s informal recyclers, pushing many who rely on these items out of areas that provide the bulk of their incomes.

The Brixton Community Forum and the Bordeaux Residents Association have released a joint statement with the African Reclaimers Organisation in which they oppose the implementation of another tax on households in Johannesburg.

“Not only is this recycling fee another tax on residents, the expansion of the City’s S@S programme also has grave consequences on reclaimers – people who informally collect and sell recyclable materials.

According to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), reclaimers collect between 80 – 90 % of post-consumer packaging collected for recycling, saving municipalities millions of rands in landfill space each year. Yet the City has proposed a S@S programme that excludes them.

The City’s programme disrupts the work that reclaimers are already doing and ensures that reclaimers will have less access to materials and as a result, a significantly lower income.

Reclaimers have to ensure that they get to the bins before Pikitup which means they often have to sleep in parks or river banks. The unintended consequences of private contracting is that there will be an increased number of reclaimers occupying public spaces.

The City’s pilot also disrupts the S@S pilot projects which reclaimers have started on their own. African Reclaimers Organisation (ARO) is currently piloting their own S@S programmes in Brixton, Auckland Park and Bordeaux. These pilots see residents working with reclaimers by separating their recyclables and giving it directly to reclaimers.”

African Reclaimers Organisation is asking for public participation to oppose the fee. To do so, you can comment on the city’s decision here. Residents have until the 3rd of May to comment on this new fee. They ask that you also sign the petition , which will be handed to the relevant representatives at the City of Johannesburg.

Sources: African Reclaimers Organisation
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Tyler Leigh Vivier
About the Author

Tyler Leigh Vivier is a writer for Good Things Guy.

Her passion is to spread good news across South Africa with a big focus on environmental issues, animal welfare and social upliftment. Outside of Good Things Guy, she is an avid reader and lover of tea.

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