File picture: Tiro Ramatlhatse

Johannesburg - The City of Johannesburg on Thursday condemned the shooting of two Pikitup trucks while the company battles to clear piling waste in the midst of a strike by thousands of workers.

Garbage has continued to pile up in the city for the second week running as Pikitup workers continue to down tools over demands for better pay and the immediate dismissal of the company MD Amanda Nair, whom they accuse of corruption.

Last year Nair was cleared by the high court of any wrong doing.

On Wednesday the City of Johannesburg said it “condemns the shooting of two Pikitup trucks along Rand Show Road, near Nasrec, which caused the vehicles to collide just before midnight on Wednesday”.

A statement from the City said: “The drivers of the trucks, which were deployed to collect waste amidst the ongoing illegal work stoppage by the waste management entity’s workers, fled the scene during the shooting”.

Workers, who were on the trucks at the time of the shooting, were left in a state of shock, the City said, adding that “no one” was wounded. Security personnel assigned to escort the trucks managed to call for backup.

Speaking to the affected workers at the scene, shortly after the shooting incident, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Parks Tau said he was shocked that “striking Pikitup workers were resorting to deadly criminal tactics and intimidation in a bid to prevent the City’s attempts to deliver services to residents during their illegal strike”.

The mayor said the City was finalising collaboration plans with various law enforcement agencies, including the South African Police Service, to ensure that the delivery of Pikitup services continues safely and perpetrators are brought to book.

The incident comes after the South African Municipal Workers Union, recently distanced itself from “workers” who have been damaging city property, emptying bins onto the streets and intimidating “temporary workers”.

On Tuesday, Nair said it was costing Pikitup R1 million a day to hire private contractors to remove the piles of garbage in Johannesburg.

“The market knows we are desperate and they’re charging us exorbitant prices, but there is nothing we can do,” she said, adding that the trucks now operate only at night.

African News Agency