Mother with disabled son depends on recycling centre, which is now in danger amid land reform

Mother with disabled son depends on recycling centre, which is now in danger amid land reform

- The City of Cape Town is currently in court over a piece of land on which Michael Khumalo’s recycling centre operates

- The recycle centre employs several people and provides an opportunity for the community to earn an extra income

- It pays R2 per kilogram, and some people managed to make an extra R200 a week from taking recyclable goods to Khumalo's business

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The court case poses a danger that Khumalo's recycling centre be closed down. The possibility of losing his business would be a set back to the 20 people he employs and the hundreds of the community members who recycles for extra cash.

One employee who fears the outcome of the court case is Susan Thomas, who had been with Khumalo since 2012.

Thomas struggled to get work prior to her employment at the recycling centre. However, when Khumalo gave her a job she no longer had to depend on her son's disability grant.

“Now I do not have to depend on my son’s disability grant. I have an income of my own to support my family … I no longer go door to door to people’s houses [looking for work],” said Thomas.
“I sort and pack six bags a day,” she said. GroundUp reported one of her four children collects scrap at the landfill site, while her hubby does pi Her husband gets peace jobs in either construction or gardening.

The court case followed protests in Vrygrond over a piece of land resident claimed stood vacant for too long.

However, Khumalo has run the recycling business since 2011. But, he had trouble obtaining a license because the City keeps denying his application.

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“The City is saying my business is illegal even though it is registered and I have been for years applying for a licence to operate and they are not granting it,” said Khumalo.

The City has taken Khumalo to court in 2014, because he was not authorised to run the recycling company.

It led to Khumalo being instructed to close down operations in 2016. However, the entrepreneur said even if he did remove all his rubbish, the premises would be littered the very next day.

“This can be clean in the afternoon, but in the morning it’s back to being dirty because people are throwing their rubbish here,” said Khumalo.

According to Khumalo, the City gives each yard, which can contain up to 20 members, only one bid. He added trucks also offloaded building rubble as his business' site.

The founder of the recycling business that helps out the community it set to appear in court on 15 May. learned the City refused to make a comment until the case had "been concluded in court”.

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