13 April 2024 | 11:14 AM

Medical waste firm pleads guilty

Key Takeaways

A company belonging to medical waste industry baron David Sekete pleaded guilty this week to unlawfully operating a waste disposal site on Jo’burg’s East Rand and illegally storing medical waste on its premises.

Aid Safe Waste, a medical waste disposal site in Benoni, represented by Sekete, was fined R2-million by Magistrate Ian Cox in the Benoni Regional Court on Wednesday.

The company pleaded guilty to 17 contraventions of environmental legislation that included operating its waste disposal site without the necessary permit and storing waste in an unauthorised area. Half the fine was suspended for five years.

The Mail & Guardian reported last week that Sekete and his other company, Buhle Waste, was linked to businessmen Ali Boshielo and Selbie Manthata, who are close to ANC Youth League president Julius Malema and Limpopo Premier Cassel Mathale respectively.

Boshielo and Manthata negotiated with Sekete to form part of two multimillion-rand tenders in Limpopo and North West.

Buhle Waste was also a member of a consortium, appointed by the Limpopo government, to provide medical waste management services until November this year.

Malema was bought out of the consortium in 2006 for R150 000.

Sekete, who is also tendering for a medical waste contract in Gauteng, used the Aid Safe Waste plant to dispose of medical waste from his other contracts.

Sekete’s fellow Aid Safe director, rugby’s notorious “ear biter”, Johan le Roux, was also fined R50 000 or four years in jail on another charge of illegally dumping medical waste near the ERPM mine in Boksburg between March and April 2007.

The plea bargain does not mean that the company is out of the woods. It still has to show that it has mended its ways. In terms of the plea bargain it must comply fully with all environmental legislation, while the plant also has to submit weekly reports on emissions coming from its incinerator.

The spokesperson for the department of environmental affairs, Albi Modise, said Aid Safe Waste was in a “proof of performance” process.

“The authorities agreed that once the facility was upgraded and the necessary measures implemented to ensure compliance with environmental legislation it would need to demonstrate compliance,” he said.

“If the results show that the facility is able to operate legally and mitigate the impacts effectively, then the authorities will consider allowing it to operate again.”

This article was produced by amaBhungane, investigators of the M&G Centre for Investigative Journalism, a non-profit initiative to enhance capacity for investigative journalism in the public interest. www.amabhungane.co.za.

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Before joining the amaBhungane team in 2017, Micah was the national coordinator for media freedom and diversity at the Right2Know Campaign. He holds a Masters in African Studies from Oxford University and a BA Honours in History from Wits University.

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