SAWPA has been in negotiations with government at all levels about their recognition, particularly receiving recognition in some municipal areas that has since resulted in new projects on the ground. There are various projects in which SAWPA members are involved.
The South African Waste Pickers’ Association (SAWPA) are in the process of registering with REDISA as tyre collectors and/or transporters. Waste pickers are already in the business of recycling and this plan is just adding one more waste stream to collect.
Instead of supporting the local social economy, Msunduzi Municipality has signed an agreement with Wildlands Conservation Trust to take all recyclable waste from Pietermaritzburg.
SAWPA came together in November to object to the proposal by EnviroServ to construct a waste incineration facility at the Chloorkop waste site, calling on the government to deny EnviroServ permission to build a waste incinerator facility at Chloorkop.
Despite South Africa’s waste management legislation stipulating that incineration be the last resort in waste disposal, approximately 300 waste pickers on the Chloorkop landfill in Kempton Park are set to lose their jobs as a result of Enviroserve’s proposed waste-to-energy incinerator.
A report from the WIEGO/FIWON organizing project in Nigeria, which is in its final phase, says progress is being made in the seven target cities of the project. Meetings among waste pickers became regular with some centers holding meetings once or twice a month.
On May 15 and 16, 2013 over 400 people attended the Joburg Waste Summit, hosted by the Johannesburg Council and its waste management company Pikitup. The Council and Pikitup urgently need to find ways to minimize waste going to landfill, and the Summit was called to explore how to do this. WIEGO and SAWPA argued that landfill reclaimers need to be included in all discussions and new recycling initiatives.
From June 19th to the 21st, the South African Waste Pickers Association (SAWPA) held its national meeting in Johannesburg. 80 waste pickers who are serving as landfill coordinators attended, from all over the country. There were seven waste picker leaders from different provinces. Facilitators from three organizations were there to support the meeting. “There has been progress since the mid-2000s,” said Musa Chamane, a waste campaign manager with GroundWork, an organization that works closely with SAWPA. “Conditions have been slowly changing for the better.”
In April, officials from the South African Department of the Environment were in Brazil and Colombia to learn about inclusive solid waste management. They visited waste pickers’ movements and cooperatives and spoke with NGOs and city officials. “We are particularly encouraged by the participatory aspects. This is something that resonates with South Africans,” Cobbinah said.
The South African government visits Brazil and Colombia to learn about participatory waste management
In the beginning of April of this year, officials from the South African Department of the Environment (chemical and waste management branches) were in Brazil and Colombia to learn about inclusive solid waste management.