Strike chaos in city centre

2010-04-16 00:00

SERVICES such as rubbish collection ground to a halt yesterday as Msunduzi Municipality employees rampaged through the city, throwing rubbish on to the streets.

Municipal workers countrywide have been on strike since Monday.

Black garbage bags loaded with rubbish, old television sets and broken beer bottles were all thrown on to the streets.

The most affected roads included Railway Street, Havelock Road, Pietermaritz Street, Church Street and Langalibalele Street, which runs past the KZN Legislature.

Cars had to navigate through the rubbish and while many drivers looked astonished, the more cynical described the rubbish as the “new South Africa”.

Official buildings were also not spared the anarchy. Rubbish bins at the provincial legislature were overturned and at the municipality’s Sibusiso Nyembezi building, strikers allegedly went in and threw rubbish inside the building.

A witness to the chaos at the Nyembezi building said the toyi -toying employees, who were passing in front of the building at about 11 am, took rubbish from outside and threw it inside the main entrance.

By noon, when The Witness arrived there, an employee was still cleaning the lobby and the piles of rubbish that had been dumped inside were just outside the door.

Business people in the city said the strikers should have not trashed the city. “They should have focused on the matters they need addressed instead of turning the city into a dump,” said Annamaria Cele, a tavern owner on Railway Street, whose passion for cleaning up has seen her dubbed “Mrs Mop”.

Lucky Phiri, chairman of Samwu’s Pietermaritzburg branch, said the people who were trashing the city are criminals because the employees at the Msunduzi Municipality were not on strike.

“When we negotiated to engage in the strike, the Msunduzi employees said they will not be able to participate because they were coming back from another bruising strike, so all I can say is that all those who were throwing rubbish are criminals,” he said.

Msunduzi Deputy Mayor Jabu Nguba said they were at an executive committee (Exco) meeting yesterday, but when they got out they were informed that a handful of people went through town uprooting rubbish bins.

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