The Global Alliance of Waste Pickers is a networking process supported by WIEGO, among thousands of waste picker organizations with groups in more than 28 countries covering mainly Latin America, Asia and Africa.
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South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA)

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa

Primary information

Year formed
Number of members
Type of members
Members are waste picker organizations, Members are waste pickers
Occupation of members
Waste pickers
Type of Organization
Association, Movement
Organizational Reach
Organization Structure
National Working Group with 7 members, one from each of the 7 participating provinces. No formal chair, NPO number or constitution.
Improve livelihoods, recycling, recognition of waste pickers, promote the rights of waste pickers, promote the Waste Picker Law, organizing at local and national level, reduce vulnerability and risk, develop and promote MBOs, against privatization, strengthen unity and cohesion among waste pickers
Partnering organizations
GroundWork, WIEGO,
Women composition



Challenges to access waste
Lack of recognition, Lack of unity between organizations, Privatization

Complementary Information

Information Source
Africa 2009

Comments / Narrative

Last updates from South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA)


Waste Pickers March against displacement in Tshwane (South Africa) Waste Pickers from 3 Continents Exchange Experiences and Knowledge in South Africa Hazardous waste incinerator rubber stamped (03/01/2016) An influx of waste-to-energy projects in South Africa (03/15/2016) Waste pickers at Cop21: Creating solutions for climate change Pietermaritzburg drops the ball on sustainable jobs initiative (07/02/2015) An interview with Thulisiwe Khumalo, woman waste picker and leader (06/23/2015) Women waste pickers discuss strategies for recognition at a Cape Town workshop (06/30/2015) Recycling facility construction halted by intergovernmental disputes (03/11/2015) South African waste pickers call on the government to build recycling facility (12/03/2014) Zero waste approach is a must in South Africa (10/13/2014) Promote climate jobs and deny proposed waste-to-energy incinerator in Kempton Park, South Africa (10/03/2014) Four pilot projects in the works: an update from the South African Waste Pickers’ Association South African waste pickers registering as tire collectors (06/19/2014) Msunduzi municipality puts job creation project on back-burner (06/17/2014) South African waste pickers call on their government to stop incineration projects (11/19/2013) Nov. 8 march against incineration: Waste incineration is wasting jobs in South Africa! (11/07/2013) WIEGO and Waste Pickers Speak at Joburg Waste Summit Press Release: Waste Picker (50) Drowns in Msunduzi River Update from Musa Chamane, Waste Campaign Manager: Mooi River Shelter