- The Emfuleni Municipality has distanced itself from a social media post purporting to be a circular about waste collection delays.
- On Monday, the circular stated that delays in waste collection were linked to a court order.
- Last year, a court order was issued permitting Eskom to seize assets valued at R1.3 billion from the municipality.
The Emfuleni Municipality in Gauteng has distanced itself from a circular claiming that waste collection delays are linked to an ongoing payment dispute with Eskom.
The circular purports to be from the Emfuleni Municipality and claims that it has not collected household waste over the last week because its vehicles have been attached.
Last year, the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria issued an order permitting Eskom to seize assets valued at R1.3 billion from the municipality.
The power utility applied for the order in November, saying the municipality owed it R5.3 billion, which it failed to settle despite litigation dating back to 2018. In December, Eskom attached the municipality's account and movable assets, including vehicles.
The seizure of the municipality's account meant employees faced possible non-payment of their December salaries. Salaries were eventually paid.
READ | Emfuleni staff paid after Eskom returns municipality's bank account
The circular also claimed that the waste department was left with only five working compactor trucks because several others had broken down.
"The waste department has a limited number of rear-end loader compactor trucks in operation, and this has affected service delivery severely," the circular read.
It further stated that the municipality required 38 working trucks to service the area and had been hiring trucks, but this process was discontinued in line with the Municipal Finance Management Act.
The circular encouraged residents to drop off their waste at their nearest landfill site.
"Affected residents are discouraged from dumping their waste at municipal buildings or any... open spaces, no illegal dumping is allowed for health, safety and environmental reasons," it read.
However, the municipality's spokesperson, Chuchi Radebe, described the circular as "fake". She said there was nothing sinister behind the waste collection delay, as the municipality was clearing a backlog.
READ | Why Rand Water and a Gauteng municipality are at loggerheads over R500m debt
"The municipality distances itself from the public announcement (circular). Waste is being collected even though there are backlogs," said Radebe.
The embattled municipality has faced a slew of litigation over its unpaid bills. In February 2022, Rand Water and the Emfuleni Municipality went head-to-head over the settlement of millions in debt.
The municipality's account with the water board stood at more than R500 million at the time, prompting Rand Water to attempt to recover the debt through the courts and taking over the municipality's assets at the end of last year. The dispute has been ongoing for several years.