Pretoria - The Tshwane metro has struggled to keep the Centurion suburb of Rooihuiskraal clean as a result of the ongoing municipal workers’ strike action in the capital city, which has affected service delivery.
Rubbish has piled up on the banks alongside the busy Rooihuiskraal Road, nearly spilling onto the road and threatening to disrupt traffic.
Each day vehicles park along the road and residents dump rubbish outside the dumping site that is full and has not been serviced as the dispute between the City of Tshwane and its employees affiliated to the SA municipal workers Union (Samwu) drags on.
Although there has not been visible strike action in recent days, the dumping site has now been closed for two weeks because its workers did not pitch for work.
The municipal staffers are demanding a wage increment of 5.4%, which the municipality management has vowed not to pay, saying they can’t afford it.
Residents in the area are outraged because of the rubbish piling up along the road.
The area has become a hive of activity, as job-seekers take full advantage of the garbage by collecting plastic, boxes and cans for recycling while others search for any leftover food in the filth.
When the Pretoria News team arrived at the location yesterday, a dozen people were going through the garbage to find something to sell or eat, but they disappeared within minutes of the team’s arrival.
Cars that had come to dump their garbage passed by at the sight of the Pretoria News team.
An individual who was there to collect material for recycling so that he could make a quick buck, but refused to be named, said he had been going to the area for the past two weeks to try his luck.
“I come here every day to see what I can get. Besides collecting recyclable cans and bottles, I sometimes get clothes. Just yesterday I got a pair of shoes that I sold for R80, which went a long way for me to feed my family,” said the man, who claimed he was from Lesotho.
One resident in the area raised their concern that the rubbish may attract a stench in the near future.
Across the Rooihuiskraal refuse site are town houses with residents from different walks of life.
Samson Kriel, a resident of the area, said it was not the first time the road was flooded with rubbish.
He said this happened every time there was a municipal strike.
Kriel said: “We have become used to the rubbish once there is a strike … and it is going to take days before this area is clean, even after the strike. Our worry is that people keep dumping their rubbish here, which might cause a smell soon.
“There has not been any communication from the municipality as to what they were planning to do with the situation, which has us worried.”
The City has previously obtained a court interdict against protesting workers affiliated to the union, while dismissal letters have been issued to more than 90 municipal employees who took part in the wildcat strike.
“We will be looking at mitigation but there will be disruption and residents must know what is at stake. What we are fighting for is the future of the city and to secure the jobs of officials and to make sure we have a future in this city,” said mayor Cilliers Brink.
The City obtained a court interdict against protesting workers affiliated to the union.
Last week, the Pretoria News reported that municipal spokesperson Lindela Mashigo said there was a plan in hand to restore waste collection.