By Rex Mphisa
Beitbridge Municipality has partnered with a private company to rid the transit town and its environs of numerous abandoned vehicles and shells.
A public notice posted by the local authority last week advised residents to keep broken down vehicles they still needed in their yards or risk having them collected as waste.
“Please, be advised that the municipality will be clearing all scrap vehicles within the town. All vehicles outside residential, commercial and industrial areas will be pulled away. All scrap vehicles in undesignated areas will also be towed away,” the notice signed by town clerk Loud Ramakgapola read.
Perhaps due to its proximity to South Africa, from where Japanese pre-owned car sales have shops, the border town has hundreds of cars abandoned along the roads.
Ramakgapola said some residents operated backyard garages in residential areas and if they stripped vehicles, they would leave the shells on the roads, causing an eyesore.
Some of those vehicles obstruct passages and roads. They also pose danger to residents and are an unpleasant site, considering the town plays a role as the country’s tourist reception, among other things.
“We have some residents who ignored or defied our call not to operate garages and workshops in residential areas, who keep such vehicles. We have decided to get rid of them and all cars in undesignated areas will be pulled away as waste,” Ramakgapola said.
“We expect people operating these illegal workshops to relocate to industries. Some residents may not complain, but feel abused by those operating home-based workshops and the municipality has a role to protect these residents from such abuse.”
An environmentalist said scrap metals emit certain fumes that are harmful to the environment.
They also pose dangers to humans if injured by rusty metals as they could contact tetanus, a serious infection caused by Clostridium tetani.
The bacterium produces a toxin that affects the brain and nervous system, leading to stiffness in the muscles.
Council is expected to reap some benefit from collecting the shells, which would be done by a company that submitted the proposal.
Some residents welcomed the decision by council and asked the local authority to use funds raised from the project towards greening the environment and creation of parks and playgrounds for children.
“Our town does not have parks and children play centres and funds raised from such activities should be directed towards that,” a resident who identified himself as Justin Mudau said.