Msunduzi on Wednesday embarked on a citywide blitz on litter and much-needed repairs but Mayor Mzimkhulu Thebolla urged residents and businesses to do their bit, saying the municipality can’t do it alone. He was speaking at the re-launch of the cleaning campaign announced by the municipality earlier this year but which failed to take off due to inadequate capacity. Thebolla also used the opportunity to lay down the law to the hundreds of excited beneficiaries of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) who recently signed their contracts. “We are entrusting you with a very serious responsibility and that is making sure that our city is clean, so that it lives up to its name as a city of choice,” he told the group that gathered outside the City Hall. The new EPWP group, who will total to 490 once the municipality has finalised the recruitment process in the next few days, have a 12-month contract with Msunduzi. They will each work three days a week on different tasks ranging from cleaning the streets to repairing sidewalks. The mayor told them that he expected them to take their duties seriously. He said they should not be seen loitering about or lying in the shade under trees when they should be working.Thebolla pleaded for support from businesses, non-governmental organisations, communities and even hawkers to join in the campaign to rid Msunduzi the stigma of being known as a “city of filth”. “It will make us very happy if all businesses around the city can adopt at least 100 metres of the space next to their business and make those areas litter-free.”He appealed to business owners and their staff to dedicate at least one hour a week to clean up those spaces and beautify them where possible.He called on the street vendors to also clean the spaces they operated in instead of contributing to the problem of littering. Thebolla said the current undesirable state of Pietermaritzburg had serious economic implications for the locals as it also deterred investors. “I’m certain that once we get the city clean again one of the benefits we will reap is the decrease in the crime rate because they say vagrants don’t like clean spaces.”Thebolla briefly joined the EPWP workers as they cleaned around the City Hall and he committed that he would be among the councillors that would come out every second Wednesday of the month to work side by side with them. He said on a daily basis the members of the executive committee would visit the different groups to see how they were doing. General manager Boniwe Zulu said the success of the cleaning programme was not just in the hands of the municipality but everyone who lived in Msunduzi. She said the influx of people to the province’s capital during the day also made it difficult to keep the streets spotless as there was a range of issues, including littering. She said Msunduzi had even tried to have three shifts of street cleaners but it was difficult to sustain because the majority of the employees used public transport and the municipality could not afford to take them home late in the evenings. “We are looking for all the support we can get and I urge all businesses and organisations who can assist to contact me and we will see how we can work together.”Zulu said the problem of the shortage of bins in the CBD was in the process of being partly resolved. She said she received a donation of 600 granite bins from Pullens Tombstones of Raisethorpe and they were busy finanlising the legal process. “Ultimately we will win this war,” she declared.