Genesis Landfill Privatization by Averda in Johannesburg, South Africa

In June 2018, waste pickers at Genesis landfill in Johannesburg, South Africa were attacked by the Red Ants, a private security company. This follows the Averda company's privatization of the landfill and its legal 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
NameGenesis Landfill Privatization by Averda in Johannesburg, South Africa
CountrySouth Africa
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 CommoditiesDomestic municipal waste
Project Details and Actors
Type of PopulationUrban
Potential Affected PopulationAt 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 Date01/09/2016
Company Names or State EnterprisesAverda from Saudi Arabia
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersWIEGO (Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing and Organizing),, Socio-Economic Rights Institute (SERI),
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingLocal ejos
Wastepickers, recyclers
Forms of MobilizationLand 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-economic ImpactsVisible: Displacement, Loss of livelihood, Land dispossession
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseMigration/displacement
Under negotiation
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.Averda still intends to evict the local wastepickers, leaving them vulnerable to further dispossession and repression.
Sources and 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]

Other Documents

Waste Pickers at Genesis Landfill
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorRickie Cleere, University of Bayreuth - ICTA, [email protected]
Last update10/05/2019