DURBAN - More than 60 000 households in the eThekwini Municipality’s northern regions have not been receiving refuse removal services from Durban Solid Waste (DSW) after they were “erroneously” excluded from the contract.
To rectify the error, the city now needs more than R42million to provide services that include refuse removal, street sweeping and the picking up of litter.
The request for funds was approved in exco by a majority vote yesterday, the DA and IFP abstained.
The opposition parties are now calling for a probe into the finances and operational aspects of DSW, saying they believe something sinister was at play.
The cleansing and solid waste unit tabled a report to amend the scope of the contract in an exco meeting.
In the report, the unit said it had been using the services of 12 co-operatives to provide street sweeping and refuse collection in Inanda township and other northern areas. The contracts ended on October 30 last year.
A new contract was drawn up, but some areas were “erroneously” excluded.
The unit was now seeking additional budget for six months, until June, to include the 64000 households in the new contract.
The original contract cost rate- payers almost R66m, however with the inclusion of the 64000 households, the unit now needed a little over R42m more.
Deputy city manager of Trading Services, Philemon Mashoko, said the city was trying its best to deal with challenges in the Cleansing and Solid Waste Unit.
He said the tabled report sought to ensure the households serviced by the co-operatives would be attended to for the next two financial years.
“We want to extend the arrangement, which is a result of misalignment of contracts. When sorting out the contracts, someone missed seeing that the co-operative contract was coming to an end,” he said.
Mashoko added that the organic growth of the city meant there were constantly new settlements that required services.
The chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee, Mondli Mthembu, acknowledged the mistake made, adding that this report sought to rectify that.
The IFP’s Mdu Nkosi said he found it difficult to support the item on the agenda as he was “convinced something bigger is happening here”.
Nkosi said he would write to Co- operative Governance MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube, calling for a serious investigation into the goings-on at DSW.
“I understand that service delivery must go on, but at the same time, there is something going on that we are not being told about. Perhaps the ANC knows,” he said.
DA councillor Heinz de Boer also did not support the amendment, saying DSW was the worst-performing unit in the city.
“And it deals directly with residents. DSW is simply not doing its work. For this kind of money, we should be able to eat off the pavements in uMlazi and the city centre. We are just spending hundreds of millions of rand and not getting our money’s worth,” he said.
He lambasted the waste unit, saying it was constantly plagued by a dereliction of duties.
He said areas like oThongathi, Stanger and Cato Crest were left with “mountains” of rubbish piling up as services had all but ceased there.
Fellow DA councillor Nicole Graham called for Mashoko and DSW head Raymond Rampersad to explain how they “forgot” about 64000 households.
“This is a crisis in the management of DSW. Almost every month we are asked to amend the DSW contract based on flimsy reasons. How can a unit forget 64000 households? This is not one or two streets, this is wards upon wards,” she said.