Starting in our streets and open spaces, litter begins a long, destructive journey to street drains and underground pipes, canals and rivers, and vleis and oceans. Beaches and rivers are littered, fun and recreation are spoiled and tourism is devalued. Together with all Cape Town residents and visitors, the City’s Solid Waste Management Department is responsible for ensuring general cleanliness in streets and public spaces within its jurisdiction.
A new litter bin design has been created and bins have been placed in areas such as business zones, transport interchanges and places of high pedestrian traffic where the servicing of these bins is sustainable.
Picking up of litter is carried out with other scheduled cleaning programmes such as street cleaning. Where there are no scheduled or mechanical cleaning programmes in place, litter is cleared as required.
The cleaning of streets occurs in predefined areas according to different categories and street cleaning programmes. The methodology of street cleaning happens from one property boundary to the opposite property boundary, and consists of litter picking and cleaning of the sidewalks and street (excluding private property and national parks).
There are different types of street cleaning. In conjunction with labour, mechanical sweepers and water tankers are used where appropriate to sweep or clean the streets.
Street cleaning programmes on specific roads (such as scenic routes) are scheduled at appropriate intervals throughout the City. About 145 suburbs are classified as ”sand-prone” and these fall under the Sandy Area Programmes. This programme is scheduled in formal residential suburbs where the road verges are unstabilised. Where possible, these programmes will be assigned to community-based contracts with assistance from the Specialised Equipment Unit (SEU).
An Autumn Programme takes place in suburbs with stabilised verges where trees are very dense (also known as the “leafy suburbs”). These areas are cleaned using manual labour with the assistance of a mechanical sweeper.
Non-leafy, stabilised verge suburbs are only swept on an ad-hoc basis.
Industrial areas are swept manually as the budget allows.
Water tanker services are used to assist street cleaners in areas where human activity necessitates disinfecting or hosing down with water. The cleaning of major roads, such as the express- and freeways (where not classified as Provincial Roads), are cleared during the night, when traffic volumes are low. Main arterials and scenic routes are cleaned by the Specialised Equipment Unit on a monthly basis, with a top-up service during the festive season in scenic areas.
River and canal banks
The Area Cleaning Branch is responsible for picking up litter on river and canal banks. The rivers themselves are cleaned by the City's Stormwater Department.
Clean beaches help promote human health and protect the environment, as well as boost tourism. Beach cleaning is undertaken in accordance with the City's Coastal Zone Management Plans.
Over three hundred kilometres of beaches are cleaned along the coastline. Mechanical deep sand cleaning takes place on popular tourist beaches, as well as picking up of litter, kelp and shells.
Other beaches are only cleaned of litter. Incidental pollution resulting from emergencies, such as oil spills at sea, whale carcasses and dead seals, is cleaned by the Solid Waste Department in collaboration with other responsible agencies. This particular service often requires specialised equipment and services.
Illegal dumping is one of our biggest problems as it costs hundreds of millions of rands a year to clean up. Although we try to prevent illegal dumping by providing facilities around the city for the diversion of waste (such as garden waste, recyclables, residential waste and builders' rubble), the dumping of waste on public or private properties still occurs.
Illegal dumping is a punishable offence in terms of the bylaws that are implemented for this purpose. A dedicated Solid Waste By-law Enforcement team is being established to ensure that the bylaw is strictly enforced throughout the city.
To report illegal dumping, please phone our call centre. If you have the culprit's vehicle registration number and/or can identify him/her, call 021 400 6157 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ad-hoc dumping that affects a small area is cleared by district staff. Signage indicating 'no dumping' is erected where appropriate and necessary.
The service for the removal of animal carcasses is outsourced to external companies via the City’s procurement tender process. The contract only includes the removal of carcasses on public land and roads, and not as a service to private people and veterinarians.
The service is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. To report an incident, telephone our call centre. As part of beach cleaning, an in-house service ensures removal of seal and whale carcasses in collaboration with other responsible agencies and often requires the services of the SEU.
Each dwelling is provided with sufficient bags. Full bags are collected on a weekly door-to-door basis and are taken to a container at a centralised collection point, whereafter waste is transported to a landfill site for disposal.
The cleaning and collection of domestic refuse in informal settlements is organised through community-based contracts. Three-year contracts are awarded to contractors through the procurement tender process.
The contractor appoints a local labourer for ± 400 dwellings. For every six labourers, one supervisor is appointed. The local labourers are changed annually to give employment opportunities to more residents in the community. Labourers are also responsible for street sweeping, litter picking and illegal dumping removal within and up to a 100 m around their assigned area of responsibility. To ensure that the required cleaning and collections services are efficient, the areas are measured and judged according to predetermined standards of cleanliness.
If an area does not comply with the minimum standards of cleanliness, penalties are payable for non-achievement. For any area cleaning services, please contact the corporate call centre.
For cleaning of the following, please contact our call centre and ask to speak to the requisite department below:
- Rivers and canals – Roads & Stormwater
- Stormwater catch pits and gulleys – Roads & Stormwater
- Public ablution facilities – Amenities
- Sport stadiums – Sport, Recreation and Amenities
- Cemeteries – City Parks
- Council housing flats and complexes – Integrated Human Settlements
- Graffiti – Amenities
- Railway property, including tracks – TRANSNET/SPOORNET
- National Parks – South African National Parks