The Retief Street taxi rank was spotless over the weekend after the municipality was stung into action by Friday’s protest by taxi operators over the filth there.
At 6 pm that evening, teams from the Msunduzi Municipality’s various units; community services, waste, rapid response, fire, traffic, land invasion, drainage and sanitation, along with police embarked on a cleaning operation.
About 40 people worked until 3 am to clean up the area.
General manager of community services, Boniwe Zulu, said yesterday that the municipality had revived a multi-disciplinary CBD task team, made up of members from all units. It had “died a natural death last year” due to various issues in the municipality.
The City has now been divided into eight blocks and key issues have been identified that need to be attended to. These include street sweeping, grass cutting, waste collection, tree pruning, road marking and street lighting. There are teams in each block made up of a team leader, a foreman and supervisor.
Zulu said that last week the team had concentrated on cleaning Scottsville, Raisethorpe and the CBD.
On Friday, taxi drivers parked their taxis at the intersections of Retief and Boom streets and Hoosen Haffejee Street, complaining about the lack of regular cleaning at the rank.
Zulu said that when she drove around the area yesterday, it was still fairly clean. She said it appeared that the vagrants are causing the mess and the municipality needed the Health and Social Development departments to assist it to come up with a long-term solution.
She said the task team was part of the CBD clean-up and urban renewal process. A presentation made to Cogta in December outlined the City’s problems including flouting of the town planning scheme and building regulations, problem buildings, increased population density (especially with single dwelling units being sub-divided for multiple occupancy), theft of electricity and breaking of traffic laws.
The challenges are extensive, ranging from a shortage of staff, equipment and tools, to the budget being insufficient as well as time constraints.