Environment and Waste Management

The Environmental & Waste Management Directorate is a service delivery Directorate that receives its core mandate from Section 24 of the Constitution of South Africa and is mandated to ensure a safe environment, which is not detrimental to human health for all within eMalahleni.


  • Create an environment that is safe and not harmful to health of the community;
  • Enhance environmental awareness education and encourage public involvement;
  • Create a sustainable culture in the handling, collection, transportation, disposal and management of waste;
  • Reduce impact on climate change through developing and implementing a climate change strategy for the municipality, aligned to the national strategy;
  • Create a sustainable recycling and reuse culture within the municipality;
  • Ensure compliance to all statutory requirements;
  • Increase visibility and the enforcement of the Environmental By-Laws;
  • Improve on the human dignity within the burial system through managing effectively the cemeteries, burial processes and the cemetery registry, and;
  • To be good stewards over environmental infrastructure.

Departments under the Directorate

The Waste Management Department
Waste Management Department

ELM Status Quo of the Natural Environment


The ELM is located on the Highveld plateau and is characterised by an undulating landscape without significant hills or ridges figure below. It is located approximately 1600 metres above sea level, with drainage occurring mostly in a northern direction. The landscape in the ELM is generally flat, with slopes of less than 1:30. This causes problems with the drainage of developments. Steeper slopes are found close to the rivers in the area.

Ecological Status
The water courses within ELM form part of the Olifants River drainage system, which flows towards the Indian Ocean. The South African River Health Program previously conducted a survey within the Olifants River catchment, which was completed in 2001, and found the rivers within the ELM to be of a fair to unacceptable health, based on the biological communities and riparian and instream habitat.

Mines and power stations within the Upper Olifants sub-catchment participating in the Controlled Saline Water Release Scheme are required to do biological monitoring as a permit condition imposed by the Department of Water Affairs and Sanitation. Monitoring points have been selected in the various management units, and monitoring of the surface waters is done biannually.
Within the ELM, 82.91% of the river signatures are considered critically endangered, with the remaining 17.03% considered to be endangered. A critically endangered river signature is one for which there are few remaining intact examples, thus putting the biodiversity pattern and ecological processes associated with that river signature at risk.

In comparison to the Nkangala District (65.40%) and Mpumalanga Province (43.05%), the high percentage of Critically Endangered river signatures within the ELM (82.91%) provides an indication that the rivers within the ELM are in dire need of protection and in some instances rehabilitation.
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