Nokufika Mvundla

: Kouga Waste and Environmental Management manager Christa Venter introduces Nokufika Mvundla to her new tool of trade, a tractor loader backhoe, commonly known as a TLB.

A former litter-picker is clearing a new career path for women at Kouga Municipality.

Nokufika Mvundla (46) has become the first woman to be appointed as a plant operator at the municipality.

She passed her test to operate a tractor loader backhoe, commonly known as a TLB, in May and will now be handling one of these yellow giants for the municipality’s Waste and Environmental Management section.

“Nokufika has been on the frontline of the Keep Kouga Clean campaign since the very beginning,” Kouga Executive Mayor Horatio Hendricks said.

“She has been working as a litter-picker these past ten years and has now exchanged her litter-picking tongs for a TLB.

“We wish to congratulate her on obtaining her certificate of competence and trust that we will see her moving on to even bigger machines in the years to come.”

A widowed mother of two teenage sons, Mavula said she was looking forward to the new challenge.

“The support from my co-workers has been incredible,” she said.

“Many people still see operating heavy machinery as a man’s job, but technology has advanced to such an extent that skill, rather than strength, is required when handling them. This opens up tremendous opportunities for women,” she said.

Kouga Community Services Portfolio Councillor Daniel Benson said Mvundla would remain on the frontline of the Keep Kouga Clean campaign as one of two TLB drivers tasked with clearing illegal dumping sites in Jeffreys Bay.

“She was one of four staff that were sent for training so that there would be at least two TLB driver, focused on waste management, at all our main units.”

He said illegal dumping was a challenge across the region.

“Not only is it unsightly, it is also a health risk to communities,” he said.

“The municipality cannot win the war alone. Residents also need to do their part by reducing the amount of waste they generate and by adopting a zero-tolerance stance towards littering or dumping.

He said most households in the region had received wheelie bins over the past 13 months and that the roll-out to all areas would be concluded in the new financial year.

“There are also skip bins at many of the dumping hot spots. We plead with residents to put their waste in the skips and not around it. Please avoid sending children to dispose of garbage in skips as they are often too small to reach the opening.”

He said illegal dumping could be reported to the municipal call centre on 042 200 2200 (option 5) or through the Link Powered by Vodacom app, which can be downloaded for free from Google Play or the App Store.