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Genesis Landfill Privatization by Averda in Johannesburg, South Africa

In June 2018, waste pickers at Genesis landfill were attacked by the Red Ants, a private security company. This follows the Averda company's privatization of the landfill and its campaign to evict local waste pickers


On June 20th, 2018, at least 70 waste pickers near the Genesis landfill (Johannesburg, South Africa) were violently attacked in a raid carried out by the Red Ants, a private security company specialising in evictions [1]. During the raid, reclaimers’ valuables (including phones and money) were stolen, passports were destroyed and workers were fired upon with rubber bullets. At least 15 people were admitted to the South Rand Hospital for injuries, including 4 people who were later transferred to the Johannesburg General Hospital with serious injuries [1].

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Genesis Landfill Privatization by Averda in Johannesburg, South Africa
Country:South Africa
State or province:Gauteng
Location of conflict:Johannesburg
Accuracy of locationHIGH (Local level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Waste Management
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Waste privatisation conflicts / waste-picker access to waste
Specific commodities:Domestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Type of populationUrban
Affected Population:At least 70 waste pickers attacked by the Red Ants [4]. Around 20 families living in a small temporary settlement behind the landfill, near the railway [4].
Start of the conflict:01/09/2016
Company names or state enterprises:Averda from Saudi Arabia
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:WIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing),, Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI),
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Local ejos
Wastepickers, recyclers
Forms of mobilization:Land occupation
Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Groundwater pollution or depletion
Health ImpactsPotential: Occupational disease and accidents, Infectious diseases
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Migration/displacement
Under negotiation
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:No
Briefly explain:Averda still intends to evict the local wastepickers, leaving them vulnerable to further dispossession and repression.
Sources & Materials

[1] WIEGO Strongly Condemns Violent Assault of Reclaimers Near Genesis Landfill
[click to view]

[2] Joburg rubbish site court case postponed
[click to view]

[3] Hope for Johannesburg waste pickers
[click to view]

[4] Violent Assault of Waste Pickers Near Genesis Landfill, Johannesburg
[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Rickie Cleere, University of Bayreuth - ICTA, [email protected]
Last update28/09/2019
Conflict ID:4130
Legal notice / Aviso legal
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