File photo: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency (ANA).
The dirt keeps on piling up on the streets of Pietermaritzburg, yet the Msunduzi municipality this week said everything was under control now that waste trucks which had undergone repairs were back in business.

Spokesperson Thobeka Mafumbatha said the backlog had been caused by the decrease in the number of trucks collecting waste. 

Though she could not provide figures of the number of trucks the city had, and of those that had been taken off the roads for repairs, she said all trucks had successfully started collecting rubbish.

“In all areas, we are back on schedule. Waste that is on the streets is normal,” she said. 

“Waste is a daily thing, and in terms of the backlog that we had, we are doing well. More hands were deployed in different areas to ensure backlog is covered.”

Mafumbatha added that the city did not anticipate any hindrances to its progress and that waste collection services should run smoothly from now on. She said workers would also clean the streets and collect waste in the evenings.

Last week, the Sunday Tribune reported on a public initiative started by resident Jomo Mathobela to clean up the city. 

Mathobela created a Facebook page with the intention of drumming up support from citizens who wanted to restore Pietermaritzburg’s name to “The City of Choice” rather than “The City of Filth” as it had become known.

The page quickly gained momentum and close to four thousand people had already signed up and would be part of the clean-up campaign on September 24.

Speaking about the campaign, Ngubo said: “It’s a good initiative, but in order for it to be sustainable, it has to be done in collaboration with the municipality. If this is not done, it will be clean for one day and be dirty again.”

Speaking on behalf of the Save PMB campaign, Zazi Nxele said they had received support from citizens as well as from businesses.

“Businesses are offering a whole number of things. We are getting refuse bags. Therefore, we believe the campaign is very positive,” he said.

Nxele said they had engaged with the municipality, and though it was not formal, uMsunduzi was well aware of the campaign.

“They are not an important stakeholder in the campaign because it is a citizen activism campaign. People are coming individually as citizens. The mayor will come as a citizen, the MEC will come as a citizen, whoever comes, will come as a citizen,” said Nxele.

Sunday Tribune