Historical town of Barberton strikes Belgian tourists as too dirty

2016-07-28 15:49

Barberton – A pair of international tourists have vowed to never again visit the historical town of Barberton after striking municipal workers scattered rotting piles of rubbish all over the business district.

Belgian couple, Nikkie Wouters and Paul Jacobs, who visited the town on Wednesday, said they found the town disgusting.

"The town is not welcoming, it's dirty. When I left Belgium, one of the towns that I was looking forward to visit was Barberton. But what I find here today is disgusting. I will not set my foot again in this town," said Wouters.

Workers in the Umjindi Local Municipality downed tools on Tuesday.

They are demanding that their salaries be adjusted to the same level as those of workers at the Mbombela Local Municipality.

They tipped over rubbish bins and emptied plastic rubbish bags on the streets on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Municipality serves affected

Heavily armed police officers were monitoring the situation.

Umjindi and Mbombela will cease to exist as separate municipal entities after the local government elections next week.

They will form a single entity, which will be called the City of Mbombela.

"The workers want the issue of their salaries adjusted before the local government elections. The management, including MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs, Refilwe Mtshweni, have been too quiet about the matter," said Vusi Mahlalela, South African Municipal Workers Union representative in Umjindi.

"Once the two municipalities are officially merged on August 4, they will not entertain our grievance. We want the issue of salary adjustment to be completed before August 4, or they reverse the decision to merge the two municipalities."

Umjindi municipal spokesperson Sam Jele said all municipality services had been affected.

By midday on Wednesday, the workers were still sitting outside the municipal offices, where they were reportedly waiting for Mtshweni to address them.

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