Picture: Ayanda Ndamane/African News Agency(ANA)

Pietermaritzburg - The on-going strike by municipal workers in Pietermaritzburg has resulted in garbage piling up in the city centre, prompting the IFP to warn of a possible outbreak of diseases such as cholera.

"The heaps of uncollected garbage in the Central Business District (CBD) of Pietermaritzburg can lead to the outbreak of the waterborne disease, cholera," warned the Inkatha Freedom Party (IFP) on Thursday.

Municipal workers in the Waste Management Unit have been on strike since last Tuesday complaining about poor working conditions. 

Pietermaritzburg is the provincial capital and second-largest city in KwaZulu-Natal.

Tons of garbage have continued to pile up on the streets of Pietermaritzburg and residential areas as the Msunduzi Municipality struggles to deal with a situation that is quickly turning into an environmental crisis for the city. 

"The waste management situation in many municipalities like uMsunduzi and KwaZulu-Natal province as a whole currently requires concerted effort to sensitize the general public on the need for proper disposal of solid waste," said the IFP. 

"Also, officials should be well trained on professionalism and efficient service delivery. All municipalities within the province must have access to experienced waste managers who are within reach and can assist with the best approach in managing waste." 

To add to the problem is the prevalence of haphazard dumping of waste in the city. 

The IFP said citizens must also take responsibility for garbage that is dumped on streets as it is common to see heaps of garbage along streets and pathways in the CBD. 

"The Msunduzi Municipality needs to urgently end the impasse with its staff and  send in trucks and manpower to clear the rubbish on the streets, otherwise there can be outbreaks of diseases like cholera and dysentery in this community," said the party in a statement issued by Les Govender, IFP member of the provincial legislature and spokesperson on environmental affairs. 

"The Province of KwaZulu-Natal needs to come up with a holistic and sustainable solid waste management system that will result in an efficient and dependable disposal of garbage, despite a host of policies and regulations, solid waste management in the province is assuming alarming proportions with each passing day. 

"The IFP calls on the Msundunzi Municipality to reach  consensus with the striking waste management staff."

African News Agency/ANA