Pikitup workers collecting trash in Kensington. File picture: Matthews Baloyi/Independent Media
Pikitup workers collecting trash in Kensington. File picture: Matthews Baloyi/Independent Media

JOHANNESBURG - It’s all hands to the pump as Pikitup implements an innovative approach of community participation in strategies to ensure a paradigm shift in the way the communities of Johannesburg relate to the waste they generate.

Christened the ‘Ward-based’ approach, this business model encourages active citizenry in developing effective strategies to divert solid waste from overburdened landfills, promote recycling, deal with illegal dumping, whilst contributing positively to national efforts to fight poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Pikitup is the City of Johannesburg’s official waste management company. Johannesburg which is home to over five million and growing exponentially, faces a potential waste management crisis as its four operating landfill sites remain with airspace of less than six years. The City generates 6000 tonnes of waste per day.

Pikitup workers collecting trash in Kensington. File picture: Matthews Baloyi/Independent Media

Pikitup MD Lungile Dhlamini says the new approach recognises that the waste management crisis can only be averted and overcome through collaboration with residents and small and micro-enterprises found in each of the 135 wards within the seven regions.

“The Ward-based approach takes on board aspects of the local context and seeks to address inadequacies that hinder efficient and effective service delivery. This approach seeks to promote services that are co-designed with communities on the ground taking into account their unique needs, produce a community waste management economy and improving customer service, Dhlamini explains.

Each ward was profiled and its uniqueness of waste type recorded to determine the correct interventions.

The new approach relies on the support of policy-makers, municipal leadership and technical staff, waste reclaimers, private-public partnerships, the 1100 schools within the city, buy-back centres, mini material recovery facilities (MRFs), NGOs and to instill a culture of pride and ownership of their immediate neighbourhoods by the residents and visitors of the City of Johannesburg – thus changing their relationship with waste which they generate. 

Dhlamini says the new approach dovetails with #AreSebetseng monthly cleanup volunteer campaign launched by Executive Mayor, Herman Mashaba, to unite Joburg residents to work together as a matter of course with government and other community stakeholders in ensuring cleanliness and positioning of the City as a job-creating investment destination that residents can be proud to call home.


Steps will be taken to strengthen staff education and capacity building to equip them with stakeholder relations and behavioural change management. 

Working with communities, Pikitup will support efforts to strengthen law enforcement against littering, illegal dumping and to foster the implementation of the separation at source programme. Dhlamini explains that sustained education and awareness campaigns will be conducted. 

Pikitup will also transform its fleet and equipment to be fit for purpose at ward level and move away from a “one-size-fits-all” traditional approach. 

There will also be empowerment and branding opportunities for business in the provision and sponsorship of efficient and dense traffic friendly three-wheelers with a hopper at the back and hydraulic systems for waste reclaimers.

Dhlamini says the involvement of the private sector is a crucial success factor for the Ward-based initiative. 


* This article was a sponsored post.