1. Introduction

South Africa has come a long way with regards to the management of waste. Historically, waste was managed by various pieces of legislation that were governed by different government departments and which were often fragmented in nature resulting in gaps and poor waste management practices. The promulgation of the Waste Act (Act No. 59 of 2008) on 1 July 2009 was a key milestone in consolidating waste legislation in a bid to have common goals and understanding of how the country's waste should be managed.

The Waste Act adopts the waste management hierarchy approach to dealing with and addressing waste issues in the country, where the emphasis is on waste reduction, if not possible re-use, recycling and composting, recovery to create energy, with disposal as a last resort as illustrated on figure 1.

Figure 01

Figure 1: Waste Management Hierarchy

In developing IWMP's all three spheres of government are required to follow the waste management hierachy approach as depicted in Figure 1 above where possible.

1.1 Historical overview in the development of IWMP's

The development of IWMPs is not a new concept as many municipalities and Provinces developed what is termed 'first generation IWMPs' in accordance with the 1999 National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS). The development of first generation IWMPs was however not a mandatory requirement as there was no environmental legislation to call for the development of these and as such; they could not be enforced. The result was that first generation IWMPs had little or no success with implementation since it was on a voluntary basis.

The development of IWMPs is now mandatory as stipulated in the Waste Act; therefore in trying to assist municipalities to develop their IWMPs the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA) developed this guideline. The Waste Act requires that Municipalities must integrate their IWMPs into the Integrated Development Plans (IDPs) in order to ensure that waste management services are streamlined with other essential basic services such as water and sanitation, housing, and electricity provision. This is to ensure that waste management should receive a share from the equitable share funding allocation and municipalities should ensure that waste services will be properly budgeted to ensure sustainability in the delivery of waste management services. Further, Municipalities are required to include the implementation of their IWMPs in their annual performance reports.

1.2 Legislative requirements

The Waste Act: (Act No. 59 of 2008)

Chapter 3, section 11 of the Waste Act requires that all government spheres must develop Integrated Waste Management Plans (IWMPs). Section 12 of the Waste Act outlines what the contents of integrated waste management plans should be, whilst section 13 stipulates the reporting mechanisms on the implementation of IWMP's.

In terms of section 11 (4) (a) (ii) of the Waste Act, municipalities must incorporate the approved IWMP in their IDP's as called for by chapter 5 of Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act 32 of 2000) MSA. Chapter 5, sections 23-37 of MSA deals with the process of developing Integrated Development Plans. Section 36 of the MSA states that, a municipality must give effect to its IDP and conduct its affairs in a manner which is consistent with its IDP. This means that the development and implementation of the IWMP must be aligned with the IDP.

Waste is managed by different pieces of legislation such as the National Water Act, (Act 36 of 1998); Hazardous Substances Act, (Act 15 of 1973); Advertising on Roads and Ribbon Development Act (Act 21 of 1940); and the Occupation and Safety Act (Act no 85 of 1993). Other applicable policies and standards including municipal by-laws are listed below which should be considered when developing an IWMP:

Regulations in terms of the Waste Act:

  • National Waste Information regulations
  • National Waste Classification and Management System regulations
  • Remediation of contaiminated land
  • Standards for soil quality

The National Waste Management Strategy (NWMS)

Gazetted by DEA in 2012, aims at giving effect to the objects of the Waste Act. Municipalities are required to align their IWMP's to the NWMS tagerts where possible in order to contribute to the attainment of the goals and targets set in the NWMS.

The South African Constitution, 1996 (Act 108 of 1996)

Section 24 of the Bill of rights of the Constitution of South Africa clearly states that everyone has the right to:

  1. An environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being; and
  2. Should have the environment protected, for the benefit of present and future generations, through reasonable legislative and other measures that:
    1. prevent pollution and ecological degradation;
    2. Promote conservation; and
    3. Secure ecologically sustainable development and use of natural resources while promoting justifiable economic and social development

The Constitution places an emphasis on the need to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations through reasonable legislative and other measures i.e. IWMP. It is within this provision that IWMPs must strive or come up with measures to uphold the rights of all citizens within the jurisdiction of the municipality and should enhance and promote environmental protection from any form of degradation as enshrined by the South African Constitution.

National Domestic Waste Collection Standards, January 2011

The main purpose of these standards is to redress past imbalances in the provision of waste collection services, whereby it has become imperative that acceptable, affordable and sustainable waste collection services be rendered to all South Africans. The provision of waste collection services will improve the quality of life of citizens and will ensure that citizens live in a clean and more acceptable environment. The lack of waste collection services or poor quality waste collection services can result in a number of environmental and human health problems and therefore proper planning is crucial.

National Policy for the Provision of Basic Refuse Removal Services to Indigent Households

This policy provides for the provision of basic refuse removal for Indigent households. The policy defines basic refuse removal service level as the most appropriate level of waste removal service that should be provided and this is based on site specific circumstances. Such a basic level of service be it in an urban or rural set-up, is attained when a municipality provides or facilitates waste removal. The policy further outlines the appropriate levels of service for different settlement densities, frequency of collection and provision of waste receptacles amongst others.

National Environment Management Act, (Act 107 of 1998) NEMA

NEMA is the mother of all environmental management Acts in South Africa. The purpose of NEMA is to uphold the provisions of section 24 of the Bill of rights (The Constitution of the Republic of South Africa). It aims to promote and uphold the rights of South African citizens to live in an environment that is not harmful to its health or well-being.

It places sustainable development at the centre of every development process that has the potential to have an impact on social, economic and environment whereby it requires the integration of social, economic and environmental factors in the planning, implementation and evaluation of decisions to ensure that development serves present and future generations.

Municipal Systems Act, 2000 (Act 32 of 2000)

In terms of Section 25 of the MSA each municipal council must, within a prescribed period after the start of its elected term, adopt a single, inclusive and strategic plan (IDP) for the development of the municipality. In relation to waste management, the IDP is required to include sectoral environmental plans which would be an IWMP for waste management. In their IDP's municipalities are required to ensure proper resource allocation to achieve the targets set in the respective plans.

National Health Act, 2000 (Act 63 of 1977)

Section 20 of this Act requires that 'every local authority shall take all lawful, necessary and reasonable practicable measures to maintain its district at all times in a hygenic and clean condition' by ensuring the following:

  1. To prevent occurences within its destrict if:
    1. Any nuisance
    2. Any un-hygenic conditions
    3. Any offensive condition
    4. Any other condition which will or could be harmful or dangerous to the health of any person within its district or the district of any other local authority or where nuisance or conditions referred to in sub-paragraph (a)-(d), inclusive has so occurred, to be abated, such nuisance or remedy or cause to be remedied, such as the case may be.

1.3 The role of a Waste Management Officer (WMO)

The designation of a waste management officer (WMO) at a municipal level is important in order to ensure that there is constant communication between all three spheres of government on the implementation of the Waste Act. In relation to the development of IWMP, a WMO could potentially play a critical role in ensuring that a municipality should develop its IWMP for compliance purposes. Chapter 3, Section 10(3) of the Waste Act requires that the National Department, Provinces and Municipalities designate WMOs in writing. The Department has developed a guideline on designation of a WMO which contains information on the duties of a WMO as well as the delegations of power and engagements with other WMOs. The Local government sphere WMOs will act as a point of contact between other spheres of government on waste management issues. This includes the development and implementation of IWMPs which will assist Provinces or the National department in obtaining any information pertaining to the implementation of the IWMP’s i.e. reporting on a municipality’s progress with regards to reaching its targets as per the IWMP, as well as ensuring that a municipality includes IWMP reporting in the annual performance reports as called for by the (Municipal Systems Act) MSA.

1.4 IWMP planning process

The primary objective of IWMPs is to integrate and optimise waste management planning in order to maximise efficiency and minimise the associated environmental impacts and financial costs, and to improve the quality of life for all South Africans. The diagram below (figure 2) summarises the integrated waste management planning process.

Figure 02

Figure 2: Integrated Waste Management Planning Process

As depicted in figure 2 above, the integrated waste management planning process includes the following:

  • Establishing the situation analysis which includes backlogs;
  • Setting the desired end state;
  • Identifying, evaluating and selecting alternative methods/approaches for achieving the desired end state;
  • Implementing the integrated waste management plan; and
  • Evaluating and reviewing the plan to ensure the respective objectives are being met.

As part of the IWMP development process, section 13 of the Waste Act requires the development of annual performance reports and it must be noted that this happens outside the actual IWMP development process. Section 13 (3) of the Waste Act states that annual performance report must be prepared in terms of section 46 of the Municipal Systems Act and must contain information on the implementation of the municipal IWMP, including the information set out in paragraph (a) to (j) of subsection (2) insofar as it relates to the performance of the municipality.