The IWMSA was started in September 1976 by five solid waste managers. The catalyst for the formation of this body was for the concern that these far-sighted individuals felt for the following issues:
RANDBURG September 1976... A group of five solid waste managers held the inaugural meeting of an organisation that was, later, to become ‘The Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa.’ The catalyst for the formation of this body was the concern that these far-sighted individuals felt for the following issues: -
- The lack of national attention to Solid Waste Management;
- The inability of both private and public bodies to work in concert on the problems of waste;
- The dearth of either academic or technical training for anyone interested in fields relating to Waste Management.
It is interesting to note that these concerns are still core issues in this Institute’s list of priorities!
RANDBURG October 1976... A one day seminar was arranged by the Anti-Litter Campaign Committee of the Randburg Town Council on refuse removal and the problems associated with littering. This turned out to be more of a success than the organisers had foreseen. “The attendance of 150 Cleansing Officers and Municipal Officials from the Transvaal, O.F.S., and some from as far afield as the Cape and Natal, is an indication of the high level of interest in this subject.” (Municipal Engineer – November/December 1976). East Rand Plastics sponsored the morning tea, Polycrate provided an excellent lunch for all delegates and Leyland supplied the cocktails at the end of the day.
At the end of the day an Association for Cleansing Officers was established. As many as 60 people joined and Mr Koos Richter was elected as Chairman. Mr Richter stated that he was very pleased that people in this field have at last come together to discuss methods and systems and to solve problems, as the Cleansing Departments have always been considered as a Cinderella with the municipalities. He indicated that “subjects such as what equipment to use in a particular case, dumping sites, labour problems, how to keep the towns clean, the litter problem, solid waste removal etc. will be discussed during the meetings of the Association.”
RANDBURG November 1977... A second highly successful seminar was held at the Ferndale Recreation Centre in Randburg. It was officially opened by the Deputy Minister of Planning and the Environment, the Hon. Punt Janson. 200 delegates attended this meeting. Members of the emerging private waste contracting sector joined and Dr Peter Scott of Waste-tech (Pty) Ltd became actively involved. The Association underwent its first name change to that of the Institute of Solid Waste Management (ISWM). This name was chosen to differentiate this body from the Institute of Water Pollution Control (IWPC) – the latter grew into the present day Water Institute of South Africa (WISA). Under the influence of Mr Jack Lawrence, the first constitution borrowed heavily from that of the United Kingdom’s Institute of Wastes Management.
(insert by Louis Germishuys) The Western Cape branch held their first seminar and equipment exhibition of what was then The Institute of Solid Waste Management at the Good Hope Centre in around 1977 (Louis was on the committee and organised the exhibition ). The delegates did not include one consultant nor any professionals and consisted of waste managers, supervisors etc mainly from municipalities and a few contractors such as Wasteaway (Rubbish Removers), Purle Industrial Waste (Waste Tech) and a sprinkling of equipment suppliers (Duncanmech represented by Louis Germishuys), Macnay (Chris Munro), Trolley and Bin, Akura, F A Poole, Oddies Bodies from P E and a few others. The W Cape chairman was Arthur Blumenthal . Over all participants had what they thought was a very successful get together.
Two years after the founding of the Institute the Minister of Environmental Affairs accepted the office of Patron of the Institute and this Department, together with the Department Water Affairs, have maintained a long and fruitful relationship with this organisation ever since. In 1980 the United Municipal Executive, the forerunner of the present day “local government organisation” in South Africa, recognised the ISWM. ISWM was elected to the International Solid Waste and Public Cleansing Association in Paris in 1981 and has had an on-off relationship with ISWA ever since.
ISWM pioneered training courses in solid waste management in 1980, launched the first national magazine on waste management, established standards for mechanical equipment and worked closely with Dr Graham Noble of the CSIR in the establishment of a national waste data bank. Initially ISWM managed seminars on an annual basis but this changed to the present day format of biannual Congresses in 1980 and the name WasteCon was first used in 1990. At that time, Piet Theron, was responsible for organising the first parallel session format was employed in an attempt to address the ever-widening multi-faceted nature of the waste manager’s field of interest and everyone, at that time, thought he was over ambitiously nuts!
1992... the Institute changed its name to that of the Institute of Waste Management (IWM) and again in 2000 to that of the Institute of Waste Management of Southern Africa (IWMSA) when expansion into the Southern African Development Community was initiated by the establishment of the Botswana Chapter. Subsequently waste management pioneers in Zambia and Zimbabwe have founded chapters. IWMSA is now an organisation that uniquely represents the interests of waste professionals in Southern Africa.
1994... Peter Novella proposed a motion at the AGM to allow the formation of what came to be known as Specialist Interest Groups. This was an initiative of the membership of the Western Cape driven by Peter Novella, Bill Ross, Annette Naude and Mary Chettle. There was much opposition from certain members, including Council members. It was finally accepted due to the support of the President of the time Jarrod Ball. The first interest group was the Landfill Interest group started in 1996 in Cape Town. These groups are thought to have changed the face of the IWMSA.
The role of the private sector in the affairs of the Institute has grown over the years as has the co-operation between government and waste managers at all levels of civil society.
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Today, the Institute has members of several differentiated categories, spanning the length and breadth of southern Africa, whilst providing a forum for interaction and synergy between waste generators and the organisations having to manage waste. During the 46 years of its existence, the Institute has shown itself to be a learned society, an effective catalyst, well able to express the view of its members – and society – in terms of controls.