City crew under fire

2017-02-21 06:00

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Complaints about cleaning canals in Parkwood led to action from the City of Cape Town, but cleaning crews came under attack for trying to do their job.

Community activist Keith Blake explains that the incident has its roots in his noticing dumping in the streets and canal in Blackbird Avenue during December.

“I was involved with two projects involving children in the area and my son remarked on the amount of litter. In January I wrote to local councillors about the problem and immediate action was taken with them sending teams to remove rubbish from the canal. Unfortunately the response from residents in the area was not what we expected. Deon McDillon, from the Wynberg cleansing depot, reported back to the councillors that cleaning of illegally dumped litter was done regularly but every time illegal dumping took place in the same places. He also says that while cleaning the canals the teams doing the work were threatened and he removed them for their safety. I think one of the threats was because the City was not using locals.”

Ward councillor Montgomery Oliver, confirms that he liaised with McDillon, the senior superintendent at Wynberg Cleansing, when he was made aware of the problems.

“He (McDillon) assured me that they did go into the area between 6 and 8 February, but the workers were threatened and that they had to leave the area.We are still doing further investigations so that we can remedy the situation.”

Eddie Andrews, Mayco member (South), says he is aware of these threats to city workers.

“This is not an isolated incident and has happened in the area before. It also happens in other areas and in most cases it is because the protesters seek to influence the allocation of short-term labour contracts. Cleansing staff have been caught up in gang crossfire and have been targeted by criminals, leaving them traumatised.

“Delivery of services under such conditions is no easy task, and we would like to take this opportunity to commend the staff for their perseverance and dedication.”

Andrews adds that there is a City policy in place for getting cleaning crews established for work in the community. Names are chosen at random from the local subcouncil’s Expanded Public Works Programme database,” he says.

“Our hope is that more people realise that we are doing our best to maintain cleanliness in our communities and there are still too many people allowing dumping in their neighbourhoods. Report those culprits and you could be rewarded.”

Report illegal dumping to 0860 103 089 or

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