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Minister promises urgent action at ‘toxic’ Durban campus

Image: GovernmentZA [CC BY-ND 2.0], via Flickr

Nzimande says he was not aware of waste-burning near college

South Africa’s higher education, science and innovation minister has promised “urgent intervention” to stop the burning of waste near a technical and vocational education college in Durban.

Blade Nzimande made the promise in a written response to a question and answer session in Parliament last week.

In one of the questions, opposition party MPs alleged that one of the campuses of the Thekwini Technical and Vocational Education and Training College is situated close to landfill sites where burning waste constitutes a health hazard.

Hannah Winkler, a Democratic Alliance MP, said that the landfill bordering the college’s Springfield campus is “regularly set on fire, sending toxic smoke billowing into classrooms”.

Nzimande said the department was unaware of the situation but promised “urgent intervention” to stop the burning of refuse near the campus.

However, the campus will not be moved, he said, as there is no suitable nearby space or funding. Nzimande said that the landfill had been closed, but that lack of management by the municipality was the cause of continued problems.