Overtime halt sees rubbish pile up in city

2009-12-22 00:00

PIETERMARITZBURG’S rubbish woes continue and some parts of the city are beginning to stink because of uncollected refuse and unregulated dumping.

The Witness has fielded numerous complaints from irate ratepayers who are demanding to know why rubbish is being allowed to accumulate in some parts of the city.

Refuse has been piling up throughout the city, even in such places as Longmarket (Langalibalele) Street for three weeks, and sources attribute the problem to the recent decision of the Msunduzi Municipality to stop overtime payments.

Because refuse collectors are no longer allowed to claim overtime as the budget for it has been exhausted, the employees are simply working during the stipulated hours and clocking off as soon as their shifts have ended, regardless of whether there is still rubbish to be collected.

The sources further allege that in some instances, refuse collectors are deliberately taking their time during their shifts so that residents can complain.

“If lots of people complain, then they hope that this will force the municipality to re-institute overtime payments. They’re being very shrewd about this and are practically holding the municipality to ransom,” said a source.

But uncollected refuse is not the only problem that is adding to the city’s rubbish woes.

In some parts of the city, residents have resorted to illegal dumping.

Lonwabo Dambuza said he is appalled by the sight that greeted him when he drove through the low-cost housing area of France.

“The sight of dumped waste is shocking [and having] such a dumpsite in a residential area is an extreme health hazard, more so as we saw children playing on the site … Surely an effort could be made to put up big garbage bins that could be collected bi-monthly or as often as necessary,” he said.

He said there are various areas in the city that have this problem and the municipality is not doing enough to educate people about the dangers of exposed waste.

“I work in Johannesburg and often come back to Pietermaritzburg, and every time I come back, I am shocked by the dilapidating general maintenance of public areas,” he said.

Peter Green, chairman of the Keep Pietermaritzburg Clean Association (KPCA), urged residents to contact their ward councillors if their refuse is not being collected.

He said residents also have a role to play in keeping the city clean, and although the KPCA has embarked on a litter campaign in the CBD, a lot more needs to be done to make locals aware about not littering.

Green said the litter issue is a huge expense for the municipality and that if all residents act responsibly, the city can save money that can be better used elsewhere.

The Msunduzi Municipality failed to respond to written questions by the time of going to print.

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