2019-02-22 15:37
City shoppers have to negotiate mounds of rubbish covering the pavements  in  Langalibalele street.

City shoppers have to negotiate mounds of rubbish covering the pavements in Langalibalele street. (Ian Carbutt)

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The City has obtained an urgent court interdict as striking waste staff threaten to go on the rampage.

On Thursday Msunduzi finally followed up on its threat to take action against the waste workers who have been on an illegal strike over salary disparities since last Monday.

However, the members of the SA Municipal Workers’ Union have vowed not to resume their duties and instead have threatened violence if their demands are not treated with urgency.

The city meanwhile continues to be buried under heaps of rubbish as even those who had abandoned the protest action and the temporary workers employed were being intimidated from resuming waste collection.

“We have noted with great concern that some employees from the waste management unit were being prevented from conducting their duties by the striking employees.

“Service delivery is our key priority; therefore we are urging all employees to report for duty as per their conditions of employment,” said municipal spokesperson Ntobeko Ngcobo.

She said on Thursday Msunduzi obtained an urgent Labour Court interdict against the striking employees.

“We will not be threatened by court orders and disciplinary action. The municipality knows that it’s been unfair to us and they must correct that injustice,” Jabulani Ngidi, one of the strike leaders, said.

They were considering escalating the matter to the provincial leadership, he said. Asked about the allegations of intimidation, he refused to confirm, but also did not deny them.

Two of his colleagues, who refused to give their names, said the municipality must not be quick to cry foul when its waste trucks suspiciously catch fire.

“We are not going to sit on our hands while someone else is doing our job and taking food from our children’s mouths. This is a strike for all of us and those who don’t want to join in must stay at home,” said one of them.

At a separate special financial services portfolio committee meeting, the ANC councillors tried to shut down DA’s Ross Strachan when he raised his concern about the health hazard posed by the non-collection of waste.

He said the strike was another sign of the failure of the municipality’s systems of control. He blamed poor management, lack of leadership and political interference at the City Hall.

“What’s happening outside is of national crisis and no one seems to care … It’s been 10 days and nothing is happening,” he said.

“Tomorrow is payday, bazophuza kusasa [they will drink tomorrow] and you will see fires burning,” he said.

Ngcobo said that waste collection had resumed in some parts of the city.

“The human resource capacity has also been increased to ensure that the refuse removal backlog is cleared by the end of the week. We appeal for patience from the residents during this time.”

On the finance (billing) staff strike that disrupted services at the AS Chetty Building on Wednesday, Ngcobo said the workers returned to work yesterday after a meeting with management

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  waste management strike

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