A group of 110 waste collectors will not be thrown out of their waste-sorting depot at Pirates Sports Club in Greenside.
Non-profit organisation WastePreneurs has won its first interdict against the City of Johannesburg Property Company (JPC), repealing its eviction from Pirates.
Earlier this year, the JPC forced the Pirates Club to evict WastePreneurs, a initiative that helps to uplift Joburg’s informal waste collectors, to maintain its lease agreement with the council.
“This latest ruling, thanks to the stellar pro bono work by attorneys Sim and Botsi, allows WastePreneurs to keep operating at their current premises in Greenside,” the non-profit said to IOL.
“It is an incredibly important outcome for the 110 WastePreneurs who earn their livelihood at the site.”
Securing the interdict has been seen as the “first step to building a network of sustainably employed WastePreneurs who provide a free service that our country desperately needs”.
“If it hadn’t gone the way it had, these 110 economically viable people would have basically lost their jobs,” Steve Jourdan, the chairperson of the Adopt-a-Project Initiative, which has WastePreneurs as one of its major projects, told the Saturday Star.
“It would have also meant the ability for this project to be expanded and to grow would have been taken away from the waste pickers.”
WastePreneurs said since its inception, it had taken homeless people off the street, given them a job and assisted them in finding accommodation.
The WastePreneurs pilot operates from a depot on the premises of Pirates Sports Club in Greenside.
They collect recyclable waste from various suburbs in northern Johannesburg and transport it to the Pirates WastePreneurs depot, where it is sorted, weighed and sold to recycling businesses.
“Most Joburg waste pickers have to transport their recyclables to a depot in Newtown, or alternatively, Alexandra. Due to the distances they have to travel, most only manage one trip per day which would earn them R70 to R80. ”
However, for the 110 WastePreneurs, they only have to travel to Greenside from the nearby northern suburbs. By virtue of these shorter trips they can make up to four trips a day which means they can earn substantially more – between R280 and R320 per day.
In a city like Joburg that has no formal recycling system, the importance of the WastePreneurs’ “contribution cannot be overstated”, he said.
WastePreneurs has released a statement hailing their victory in the first step against eviction attempts.
“It’s a small victory, but an important one in securing the future for an initiative that improves the lives of so many people.