Waste workers on go-slow

2011-05-04 00:00

THE non-collection of refuse piling up around the city is due to sabotage by workers in the waste management department, says the municipality.

“There is a clear, deliberate sabotage in waste management,” said municipal spokesperson Brian Zuma. “It seems that there is some anarchy creeping in.”

Refuse around the city has remained uncollected, despite recent promises by the municipality that a huge clean-up is under way.

The refuse collection fell behind by three weeks, which left stinking mounds of garbage along several Pietermaritzburg streets.

The problem seems to be that workers are on a go-slow.

“The waste removal compactors are now up and running. We should not be having problems with the collection of waste. Management is investigating a rumour that workers are on a go-slow because of a grievance about overtime payment,” Zuma said.

Council insiders say SA Municipal Workers’ Union members in the waste removal department are unhappy about the appointment of the new manager, Desmond Mtolo, and are staging a go-slow in protest.

Sources say the union held a meeting two weeks ago to express their unhappiness over the new appointment, and have been on a go-slow ever since.

The protest action has left refuse lining the streets of the northern suburbs of Raisethorpe, Bombay Heights and parts of Northdale, among several other suburbs, says ward councillor Les Naidoo. The municipality promised to remove the refuse by working overtime on Monday, however, they never appeared to clean up.

“I am fed up as a councillor … They promised it would be done [on Monday] and it wasn’t,” said Naidoo, whose election campaign has been set back.

He has phoned the municipality on several occasions and says he will report the issue to the city administrator.

Zuma said, “It is unacceptable that service delivery has to suffer because of internal issues.”

Allandale residents have been faced with a large pile of refuse in Salford Road, as reported in The Witness on Friday.

The municipality assured readers that refuse would be dealt with by the end of the weekend. However, Ranitha Mothielal, who has a heap of rubbish on her doorstep, was forced to organise for it to be removed when the municipality failed to collect it.

The city is encouraging residents to dispose of their own refuse while it investigates the problem.

Said Zuma, “Administration will take action against those found responsible for this mess. Anger by residents is understandable, but I appeal to those who can dispose of their waste to do so. The matter is receiving attention.”

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