Street cleaners attack city filth

2014-08-04 00:00

MSUNDUZI Municipality has unleashed a total onslaught to clean up the city as it promised citizens.

The city has been divided into zones and cleaning teams have hit the streets attacking problem areas.

Deputy municipal manager for Community Services Boniwe Zulu said the operation is two-pronged — on-going cleaning and convincing locals to take pride in their city in a hearts-and-minds campaign.

Zulu said the goodwill shown by residents in cleaning up the city on Nelson Mandela Day two weeks ago has been inspirational, as she spelt out the nuts and bolts of the clean-up strategy.

She said, for now, there was one plan for the city centre and another for the suburbs.

The city from West Street down to East Street, and from Victoria to Bulwer Street, has been divided into four sectors.

Church Street is the dividing line in the middle, with Albert Luthuli as another border.

In each sector, there will be a team of 15 people at work, which means that on any given day there will be 60 people working in the city centre.

They will complement the already existing night-time cleaners, who through the night, sweep, clean and remove rubbish in the city and Raisethorpe CBDs.

There will be additional workers in the suburbs as well. Twenty general workers from the Expanded Public Works Programme will be deployed in each of the 37 wards.

They will pick up litter, cut grass and clean out gutters.

“We know that these are not many workers per ward, but it is a start and as people begin to take pride in their neighbourhoods, we may need fewer people,” Zulu said.

To rectify long-standing problems after years of neglect, another strategy is for dedicated task teams to target specific areas.

Zulu said the teams are made up of staff from across municipal departments.

“We are going in and tackling everything from gutters to grass cutting, painting road markings and clearing out storm water drains,” Zulu said.

She added that they recently pressure-cleaned the storm water drains in Retief Street.

Their next reconnaissance will be in the Boshoff, Berg and Retief Street areas.

“We are co-ordinating a meeting with the taxi drivers to work out a plan on how to keep the taxi rank areas clean. We will be meeting with businesses and the informal traders as well,” said Zulu

Zulu said that they were heartened to see the informal traders coming to the party.

“On Mandela Day, they asked for material to clean their areas and they have since asked if they can do it on a daily basis. Some businesses are also being very co-operative,” she said.

Zulu said that, at this stage, they were not going the enforcement route. “As a municipality, we are aware that we first have to get our house in order,” she said.

• nalini@witness.co.za

Municipality’s Strategies to clean up the city

• The municipality has put out a tender for more than 240 bins. Deputy municipal manager for Community Services Boniwe Zulu said: “Our assumption is that if we provide businesses with bins, there will be no reason to throw their rubbish onto pavements.” The city plans to get more later.

• There will be more vehicles to remove rubbish. Zulu said: “Again, there are budgetary constraints, we will not be getting as many vehicles as we want. Please bear with us, if the grass that was cut the day before is not picked up right away. We are attempting to clean up and pick up on the same day, but there will be times when we will not be able to do this”.

• There are ongoing talks with the national Department of Environment Affairs, which is keen to get involved in the city clean-up. Funding and plans are in the process of being consolidated.

• Zulu hinted that city-wide blitzes would occur, involving other agencies like the police, and would target illegal practices such as tenant farming.

• The cleaners will also report on potholes to be repaired, street lights that are not working and broken pavements.

• There is a task team looking at glued-down posters, following a call from Mayor Chris Ndlela that this needed urgent attention.

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