Pretoria - Residents in parts of Tshwane have literally got their hands dirty, cleaning up uncollected waste in the streets.
Garbage has been piling up due to the five-week long SA Municipal Union strike.
Among other service issues, the strike has resulted in bags of uncollected waste and illegal dumping sites across the city, while property owners are subjected to overflowing bins in their yards.
Ronald Venter of Lyttleton said he had rallied members of the community to start a up clean up campaign because the smell of the rubbish was “starting to affect our health”.
“We just had to get out of our comfort zones and get our hands dirty, because if we don’t clean up, who will? Our children’s health is in jeopardy because they play there. So on Saturday we woke up to clean up our street,” Venter said.
Susan Modisela, who lives in the Silverton, said while it was a good initiative to clean up their areas, they had no where to throw the garbage after cleaning up the street.
“We’re fighting a losing battle because even after we clean up we are still stuck no knowing where to throw the rubbish away, because all the waste sites are closed.
“This means we dump illegally, which is a criminal offence,” she said.
Simphiwe Seleka, who lives in Atteridgeville said there was an infestation of rodents, and a foul smell coming from the streets because of the garbage.
“Our house is right next to an illegal dumping site. No one can stand the smell that is coming from there. Rats are now everywhere and even enter our houses. So members of the community rolled up their sleeves and cleaned up the illegal dump site.
“It now smells better but for how long? We call on the municipality to try get to some sort of a solution on this strike. Life cannot go on like this because garbage is a serious health hazard,” Seleka said.
The EFF in Mamelodi engaged in a clean-up campaign on Saturday.
Meanwhile, private security companies have volunteered to do patrols across the city to curb illegal dumping.
The companies will also apprehend anybody who is caught dumping and hand them over to the Tshwane Metro Police Department.