Chitungwiza loses bid to reopen killer dumpsite
THE Chitungwiza Municipality has lost its High Court bid to temporarily reopen the Chigumba Stands dumpsite, arguing that residents no longer had anywhere to dispose of their waste.
The municipality went to court seeking relief after High Court judge Mary Dube granted an application by Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum on behalf of Bianca Dudzai Chipaga and Chamunorwa Gova — the parents of two children who died from exposure to hot spent earth, which was being dumped at the site.
High Court judge Justice Jester Charewa ruled that Chitungwiza would not suffer irreparable harm if the matter is not heard on an urgent basis and directed the municipality to open a new dumpsite at a more appropriate site with safeguards.
In their application for stay of execution, Chitungwiza said when the issue spilled into the courts they failed to file their notice of opposition on time because the acting chamber secretary was not feeling well and no one was delegated to act on his behalf.
“It is not practical to completely stop using the dumpsite because it is contrary to public policy due to the fact that Chitungwiza houses a population of over half a million people who generate solid waste which, if not properly disposed of, will cause a health problem,” acting town clerk Evangelist Machona said.
Instead of barring everyone from using the facility, Chitungwiza suggested that the company that has been dumping the contentious hot spent earth be interdicted from using the dumpsite until adequate safeguards are put in place.
Machona added that the municipality has put in place warning signs in addition to awarding a tender to facilitate the fencing off of the dumpsite.
“The lives of over half a million people are at risk from cholera, malaria and diarrhoea.
“In a population of over half a million, a dumpsite is surely a necessity; therefore spending two days without disposing waste is a disaster,” she said.