Langa resident Ivy Jayiya said her bin was recently stolen while waiting on the waste disposal truck, despite the bin being filled with rubbish. Picture Ian Landsberg/African News Agency
Langa resident Ivy Jayiya said her bin was recently stolen while waiting on the waste disposal truck, despite the bin being filled with rubbish. Picture Ian Landsberg/African News Agency

City of Cape Town says staff availability at fault for refuse collection disruption

By Kristin Engel Time of article published Jul 7, 2021

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Cape Town - Residents across the city have expressed their frustrations over an increase in bin theft that was said to be a result of the continued disruption of refuse collection services by the City.

Langa resident Anele Gqasana said bin theft had recently become a big issue, with most thieves using bins for transportation to either carry alcohol for traders or to carry scrap and sand for construction.

“Our bins are usually collected on Mondays but this past week, they were only collected on Saturday which meant our bins were standing outside for long periods of time and open to bin scratchers and thieves,” said Gqasana.

Langa resident Ivy Jayiya said her bin was recently stolen while waiting on the waste disposal truck, despite the bin being filled with rubbish.

Kenwyn and Lansdowne councillor Mark Kleinschmidt said he had noticed an increase in bin theft, but said it was not an isolated issue in Cape Town with the Covid-19 pandemic causing the homeless and opportunistic bin scratchers to become increasingly desperate.

Kleinschmidt said residents were often unsure of when they could expect their bins to be collected by the refuse services, despite efforts by councillors to notify them as early as possible.

“Previously, you would have to open a case docket at the police station for theft of your wheelie bin, utilising the CAS number as reference. The City has now agreed that a sworn affidavit will suffice in requesting a replacement of your wheelie bin. Residents can send this information and their Municipal Account number and address to their councillors’ offices,” said Kleinschmidt.

Water and Waste Mayco member Xanthea Limberg said bin theft was common and took place even when services were not disrupted.

Limberg said staff availability for refuse collection services may remain a challenge as staff who have been in close contact with a confirmed infection were required to enter self-isolation for 10 days, to minimise the risk of unknowingly spreading the virus – this also affected contaminated vehicles and facilities used.

“The Solid Waste Management Department is monitoring this matter closely and is making every effort to ensure that operations continue to minimise the impact on the service and residents while prioritising the well-being of our staff,” said the Mayco member.

“Staff could be requested from the labour broker as a contingency measure to combat the issue, however they understandably needed time to activate staff to assist with the service,” said Limberg.

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