New drive to end filth

2011-08-09 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG, or the “Capital City of Filth” as some have called it in the not-so-distant past, is still waging a war on litter, despite recent strides made to clean the Central Business District (CBD) and surrounding areas.

The Msunduzi Municipality began a city-cleaning project about three months ago and already parts of the city are looking better than the normal eyesore residents were becoming accustomed to.

The clean-up is an initiative of the municipal administrator, Sibusiso Sithole, and will run for 12 months.

The R13 million project, funded by the provincial Co-operative Government and Traditional Affairs Department, aims to create a beautiful, clean city.

The clean-up campaign was implemented in line with the expanded public works programme in which about 200 workers were employed to ensure that the city is dirt-free.

The Witness visited the city centre yesterday to see how much this project has improved the KwaZulu-Natal capital.

The streets in the CBD are generally looking cleaner than before, but glaring filth remains in certain parts of the city.

Some access roads and lanes are still in need of a good scrubbing, mainly in the Church Street mall and parts of the lower CBD.

In some streets the stench of human faeces and litter makes them impassable.

Piles of rubble from buildings that were damaged by fire some time ago have been left lying.

However, the main streets are in a better condition than they were a couple of months ago.

Even in the surrounding suburbs the temporary workers have had a good go at getting rid of the filth in these areas.

A resident who did not wish to be named said: “While we are seeing some major improvement in terms of cleanliness, we expect to see continuity from the municipal side.”

He said that for the first time in months he was happy to see municipal workers cleaning Buchanan Street last week and he hopes that this will be maintained on a regular basis.

“In particular, in lanes like Timber Street you cannot buy food and walk there because there are hair extensions from the nearby salons all over the street,” he said.

Benny Thomson said: “Our city is looking rather clean even though there is still a long way to go before we can say it is spotless, but we welcome the effort by the council in doing something about the filth that has almost become part of the city.”

Gugu Ngcobo said: “The cleanliness of the city should not only be the responsibility of the municipality, but the public at large also has to be responsible about cleaning Pietermaritzburg by ensuring that they do not throw papers everywhere.”

She said it is high time that people start using the rubbish bins provided instead of dumping their litter on the streets so that it is easier to hold the municipality to account for the city’s cleanliness.

Zandile Zondi said: “I am so used to seeing the dirt on the city’s streets but now that you mention that there is a clean up campaign that was started by the municipality I can actually see the difference.”

A contributing factor to the visible cleanliness in most parts of the CBD is the regular rubbish collection by the council. Msunduzi Municipality spokesperson Brian Zuma said the normal refuse collection schedule for domestic and industrial refuse has been restored.

“We have more refuse collection vehicles on the road. Street sweeping is happening, and we try and remove waste immediately thereafter.” Zuma added that the cleaning project, which is aligned to the expanded public works programme, has assisted the municipality a great deal with manpower, and has added in their drive to clean the city.

The newly appointed Msunduzi Mayor, Chris Ndlela promised at his inauguration to tackle service delivery head-on and clean up the city to pave the way for the cash-strapped capital council to attract investment.

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