Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another BEE success story

Health department tackles gory business

Phambili Wasteman, the medical disposal company accused of improperly storing human organs outdoors, has received two fines for storing human tissue and medical waste improperly.

Environmental officers from the City of Joburg will also be monitoring the site daily, until all the barrels of human parts, bags of used bandages and used needles are incinerated.

The Star visited
the facility on Sunday and found hundreds of buckets and containers lying unattended in the sun, or thrown into a filthy warehouse where the floor was covered in blood.

There was a clear plastic bag with what looked like dark red organs, seeping blood onto the ground.

The Star reported this to the city's health department, which immediately sent out a team of environmental health officials.
City of Joburg spokesperson Gabu Tugwana yesterday said they found that: The site had medical waste containers lined up outside the storage facility, resulting in a foul smell and flies.

The inside of the storage facility was piled with waste, which suggested poor housekeeping; and
Containers holding needles and other waste were lying on the floor of the storage area and outside the facility, in an infringement of by-laws.

"Although the company's management indicated that they experienced backlogs due to a workforce issue and repairs at their site in Klerksdorp, the city had no alternative but to impose two fines for their failure to comply with public health guidelines.

"They were ordered to take immediate corrective steps or face more drastic steps," said Tugwana. He said the amounts of the fines were confidential.
The Democratic Alliance MP responsible for environmental issues, Gareth Morgan, said he had been told that Phambili's plant in Durban had not been operational for several weeks due to a "mechanical breakdown", hence their waste was being transported to Joburg, which was probably part of the reason why they had a capacity problem.

"The problems in this industry can be found on all sides. Government hospitals, in particular, are not doing the due diligence to ensure that the service providers who treat their waste have the capacity to do so," he said. The Star left several messages at Phambili for comment, but none were returned.

From the
Wasteman website

Wasteman has adopted a multi-faceted approach in playing a meaningful part of addressing the various issues involved to achieve social equity in South Africa. The structures and activities of the group Companies therefore embrace and encompass the following initiatives;

B-BBEE: All regional trading divisions are currently empowered & are maximising the “7 pillars”, of the new BEE scorecard.

The holding company at national level is currently following a process to become totally black owned within the next few years.

Our Empowerment achievements have recently been recognised through receipt of an award from Impumelelo in 2006 as one of South Africa’s top empowerment Companies.

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