The Pietermaritzburg High Court has found the Umsunduzi municipality in violation of the Constitution for the poor management of the New England Road Landfill Site.

Last year during Level 4 of the lockdown, fires at the Pietermaritzburg landfill site burned for several days causing discomfort for residents and disrupting traffic due to the severe soot and toxic fumes that filled the air.

This prompted South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) to take the municipality to court over the mismanagement of the site.

Environmentalists say the Landfill site has been the source of several fires that have engulfed Pietermaritzburg in recent years. The emission of strong toxic fumes poses severe threats to the sustainability of the environment and to those who live in the area both in formal and informal dwellings.

Last year, a week-long blaze had commuters caught in a traffic backlog for hours, complaining of black soot.

Advocate for the SAHRC in KwaZulu-Natal, Lloyd Lotz, says their focus was to fight for the people living in poor environments.

“Everyone has a right to a healthy environment and our focus was to fight for the communities who live in that environment, its a very important judgement because it holds the municipality to account and now they have to give a detailed report on how they going to do that in court with all parties again.”

Court finds Umsunduzi municipality in violation of the Constitution: