'I will not be paying' - ratepayers lash out as garbage piles up amid Durban metro strike

2019-05-06 14:22
Residents of Clermont township have had to carry water long distances since the municipal workers’ strike. (Musa Binda, GroundUp)

Residents of Clermont township have had to carry water long distances since the municipal workers’ strike. (Musa Binda, GroundUp)

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eThekwini Metro ratepayers vented their frustrations on Monday after it was announced that refuse collection would not take place due to an ongoing strike.

As negotiations got under way between the SA Municipal Workers' Union (Samwu) and management, normal street sweeping together with the collection of trash stopped.

Strike action is also hitting residents hard in Durban's poorer areas and many residents are without toilets and electricity, GroundUp reports.

"Cleansing and Solid Waste is currently unable to provide refuse service collection and street sweeping in and around Durban due to the ongoing strike action," the municipality said on its Facebook page.

It advised residents to go to landfill sites on their own instead.

"We kindly request that you keep all refuse within properties, or to take it to your nearest landfill site [in] Mariannhill, Ilovu or Buffelsdraai. We will notify you when waste collection resumes. We profusely apologise for the inconvenience caused."

Hans Labuschagne suggested that ratepayers should not pay for services that were not rendered.

"If no service is delivered then pass a credit - in this case close to 10 days credit due. Dumpsites so full and not cleared thus can't use local dumpsite - thus no payment. PLEASE MAYOR Advise us before Wednesday how you are going to rectify this situation…"

Another resident, Jarryd Sunkel, said he would not be paying for refuse collection.

"I will not be paying the refuse amount as issued on my monthly bill. Reason? No Work, no Pay! This is the same principle you have issued against your employees, so, if we do pay for our refuse, and you are not paying the staff, where is this money going?"

Sobhuza Nkabinde said: "The bill will still come with an amount for services not rendered."

Thus far, the City had incurred costs of more than R3m due to the violent strike. Premier Willies Mchunu said on Friday that damages would be billed to unions.

"In terms of protests, we are beginning to quantify what unions are liable for. Our task is to ensure that they are held to account for any damage to property. If the municipality has incurred costs as a result of this strike, it must be quantified and the bill must go to them."

Negotiations are currently ongoing.

Thus far, authorities have made 31 arrests and charges include attempted murder, public violence, road traffic infringements, the illegal use of council vehicles and damage to business property.

'I am old. I don't have strength to fetch water'

Nomusa Langa, who is 55, lives in Clermont township in the west of Durban. She said residents have been without water and electricity for the past few days. She said she is furious that residents are having to pay the price for a dispute they have nothing to do with.

"I am old. I don't have the strength to go fetch water on the other side of the township where water is still available."

She has to pay R5 for teenagers to collect 20l buckets for her.

"I am unemployed. I don't have enough money to pay them."

Mpume Nduli said she now wakes up earlier than usual to join long queues for a standpipe that still has water. It is located a few kilometres from her home.

"The situation is terrible. We don't have enough water to flush toilets. We just recycle bathing water and use it to flush. Our toilets are now smelling and we are scared that we're going to get sick at the end of the day," she said.

Ward councillor Derrick Qwabe (ANC) said: "The situation is bad. We are trying to bring in a water tanker to provide clean water."

But he said this was difficult because the tanker drivers were also protesting.

Read the full story on GroundUp...

Read more on:    durban  |  service delivery
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