R1m a day. That's how much Pikitup protests cost

Pikitup workers have been striking in Johannesburg CBD where they also emptying trash in the streets.517 Photo: Matthews Baloyi 22/03/2016

Pikitup workers have been striking in Johannesburg CBD where they also emptying trash in the streets.517 Photo: Matthews Baloyi 22/03/2016

Published Mar 23, 2016



Johannesburg - Pikitup is paying R1 million a day to hire private contractors to pick up refuse during the ongoing strike by its workers.

This has been going on for the past two weeks.

On Tuesday, Pikitup managing director Amanda Nair said this was because every truck had to be escorted by a security vehicle.

“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.

All the trucks have been removed from the depots to satellite depots which have been established across the city.

In some areas, collections have been completely suspended due to intimidation.

On Monday night, when a truck went to the Robinson Deep landfill site to dump a load, the driver and the security vehicle were shot at. Fortunately, no one was injured.

“We do not disclose where the depots are, but the union members know we have to go and dump the refuse at the landfill sites, so that is where we are vulnerable,” said Nair.

Pikitup has two interdicts against the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) rendering the current strike unprotected.

Workers say they are striking for better wages and for the removal of Nair, who was embroiled in a controversy over a R263 million tender but later cleared.

Samwu has called on strikers to return to work.

On Friday, several members appeared at the Labour Court to explain why they should not be held in contempt of court. The workers trashed the area around the court. The judge reserved judgment to this week.

In the meantime, the un-protected strike is set to continue this week.

But Pikitup says it is intensifying its contingency measures to counter the effects of the waste collection service disruptions, despite intimidation by some striking workers.

However, many parts of the city and outlying areas will not be cleared because of intimidation of stand-in workers.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Pikitup workers on Tuesday vowed to stop the Red Ants from “taking over our jobs” as they marched through the Joburg CBD and spewed garbage over several streets.

The Red Ants are believed to have been contracted to collect litter at night.

“They don’t work during the day because they are afraid of us. They must know that we won’t let them take our jobs,” said Felix Radzilani, a Samwu shop steward at Pikitup.

At the Bree Street taxi rank, the rowdy crowd brandishing sticks struck a patrol car belonging to the Faraday Taxi Association.

This sparked an altercation with taxi drivers, with both parties pelting each other with stones.

The workers later marched to the Gauteng Department of Human Settlements, demanding what they called a “political report” into their grievances.

They said this was commissioned by MEC Jacob Mamabolo last year.

Pikitup spokesman Jacky Mashapu said residents and business owners are urged to keep bins and bags outside their properties to ensure that waste is collected through the contingency measures.

“It is important to note that in certain instances, collection is done during the night,” he said.

He urged residents and business owners to recycle their waste to reduce the waste going to the landfill sites and, where possible, to drop off their waste at their nearest garden refuse sites.

“We appeal to communities to work with us in order to ensure the safety of the third party contractors,” he said.

The current state of play

As contingency measures, Pikitup is:

* Collecting waste from the municipal clinics and hospitals, and from some bulk customers;

* Providing the normal daily service only on an intermittent basis;

* Emptying all the garden sites to the bigger landfill sites to make space for local rubbish;

* Appealing to its commercial customers to liaise with their customer service consultants to schedule emergency collection; and

* Continuing to collect recyclable materials in participating areas.

Areas not being collected as a result of intimidation:

* Northern areas: Ivory Park, Diepsloot and parts of Alexandra;

* Central areas: Parts of Doornfontein including hostels in the inner city;

* Southern areas: Central Camp Depot: Orlando East, Meadowlands, the exit from Goudkoppies and Diepkloof;

* Southern areas: Zondi Depot: Zola, Protea North, Emndeni, Dobsonville and Mapetla;

* Southern areas: Southdale Depot: Mangololo, George Goch and Denver;

* Roodepoort Depot: Zamimpilo, Slovo and Kathrada.

* Waterval Depot: Westbury and Riverlea; and * Avalon Depot: Freedom Park, Lehae, Lenasia South and Lawley.

Services not being offered during the strike:

* No street sweeping or litter picking is taking place except for the various CBDs across the City of Joburg; and

* The bulk waste service is not being offered now.

* See also Pikitup online on www.pikitup.co.za for a detailed refuse collection calendar and http://www.pikitup.co.za/find-a-facility/ or www.facebook/Pikitup.co.za / A Cleaner Joburg or on Twitter @CleanerJoburg.

Residents and business owners are encouraged to contact the call centre for any complaints related to refuse collection and other related queries on 0860 562874.

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