Few would believe that a Solid Waste department could be harbouring heroes, but the men and women of the Two Oceans Solid Waste Area are living proof that inspiration and leadership can exist wherever people believe in what they are doing and go the extra mile.

Courtenay, Phumi, Staff and Phumza pictured here, are four members of this fantastic team – and they were so excited to be recognized for their efforts! The work can be strenuous and often unpleasant: it involves removing dead animal carcasses from the beach, clearing seaweed from designated public beaches, collecting all manner of waste from the public and business and scenic areas, emptying the many green bins regularly, and clearing the sand continually deposited by the South Easter.

In season the shifts start very early (05h00) and finish very late (20h30, sometimes 22h30)! During this peak time, the Solid Waste team is bolstered by members of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) to cope with the increased demand due to the influx of visitors. Muizenberg Improvement District (MID) Director for Cleaning & Environmental Upliftment, Karen Hultzer says “It is such a relief that Solid Waste is so diligent and responsive – it frees us up to focus on the greening side of things so we can add value with the small budget we have”.

In Muizenberg specifically, the early morning shift has, on average, 3 permanent staff, as well as 7 EPWP team members in season, who are collectively responsible for the public areas and the beaches. The afternoon shift then stretches from Muizenberg all the way around the Peninsula (including the Kommetjie, Scarborough and Seaforth Main Roads and beaches), and a whopping 359 green bins that needs to be checked! And if you take the time to stop and chat, you’ll find that this is a friendly bunch who are doing this work that residents don’t fancy at all, with a cheerful smile!

At the helm, is Senior Superintendent Henry Le Breton – who is taking his retirement today after more than 40 years of service to the City, and he will be missed. Despite having a massive area of responsibility – from 11th Avenue Retreat all the way through to Scarborough – Henry and his team are always doing that bit extra to improve things:

MID Manager, Chevone Petersen, says “Just a couple of examples: we found display units from one of the retailers dumped on the railway line last year – Henry initiated a special investigation with Law Enforcement, who came out to address the matter in person to make sure it didn’t happen again. And two weeks ago when a double bed was dumped on the contentious Atlantic Road pavement, foreman Kalaivani Pillay arranged for it to be removed within a couple of hours despite being stuck in a meeting in Cape Town. These services aren’t the norm, but when they can, the Solid Waste team goes above and beyond!”

MID Director, Kevin Rack, who has a passion for keeping the environment pristine says “It was the great work from Solid Waste and EPWP and volunteers on the 2nd of January that made all the difference. The spill over waste from the beach front that would have normally gone into Zandvlei was reduced by 80%. If you look at Zandvlei now, it is clean without additional intervention being needed. I could hug those people…!”

About MID:

The Muizenberg Improvement District [MID] is a geographic area where property owners have contracted to pay a levy to facilitate a joint effort by the City of Cape Town and the local community to ensure more effective management of public areas and to promote business confidence.

The MID supplements normal municipal services provided by the City, using its funds to deal with public safety, enhance the environment and address social issues like vagrancy and finding workable solutions for the homeless. The Muizenberg Improvement District is a legal entity established under the City’s Special Rating Areas by-law and also governed by the South African Companies Act 2008.


Chevone Petersen