File picture: Bhekikhaya Mabaso/ANA

Johannesburg - Johannesburg waste-management company, Pikitup, on Thursday vowed to deal with disgruntled former employees who are on a campaign to vandalise and litter the city, adding that its employees are not on strike.

This comes after large groups of disgruntled former [email protected] employees continue disrupting service delivery by damaging infrastructure and littering extensively.

The former [email protected] co-operatives have allegedly been vandalising city property, looting shops, assaulted a Pikitup employee, and threatened and harassed many others over the course of the past seven days after demands for permanent employment were turned down.

In May this year, the three-month Pikitup contracts signed by former [email protected] beneficiaries through the City’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), expired. 

Managing director of Pikitup, Lungile Dhlamini, said that this disturbance had a direct impact on growing jobs as Johannesburg cannot lure investment back to the inner city when lawlessness causes havoc on the streets.

"Pikitup wishes to place it on record that its employees are not on strike. The entity has simply distanced itself from the incidences of vandalism, assault and hijacking of our trucks, perpetrated by former employees of the [email protected] programme," Dhlamini said.

"We have reason to believe that this criminal behaviour is organised by a third party as we have seen footage showcasing how these individuals are systematically dropped off at various locations, after which they vandalise city infrastructure, turn over our skips and hijack our waste removal trucks and dump the waste in the inner city."

Dhlamini was addressing the media with Member of the Mayoral Committee for Development Planning, Funzela Ngobeni, and the chairperson of the Pikitup Board, Bhekisisa Shongwe.

He said being unable to clean the compiling waste had serious health implications for residents, and having to make use of additional resources and cleaning shifts was costing the City R50 000 per day.

He said that the City had been clear about the temporary and rotational nature of the contracts and at no point did it state or imply that anyone would be entitled to an extension, or that the three-month contracts would result in full-time employment.

"Pikitup is working with policing authorities to identify the owners of these vehicles in order to lay criminal charges against those responsible for disruptions to services and damage to property," Dhlamini said.

"We will not be deterred from delivering on our mandate to keep the streets of Johannesburg clean. We are working closely with the JMPD and the Yeoville, Hillbrow and Central South African Police Service (SAPS) to ensure that our employees can work in safety, and that perpetrators are held to account.