Pikitup workers. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA
Pikitup workers. Picture: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Concerns are growing that Pikitup’s failure to collect refuse could become a health hazard in some parts of Johannesburg.

Pikitup has been unable to collect refuse in parts of Midrand and Soweto due to job seekers who have staged protests at some of its depots.

Pikitup spokesperson Muzi Mkhwanazi said their employees were not on strike. However‚ they were unable to operate because of people demanding jobs from the waste management company. "The people protest outside our gates and prevent trucks from leaving the depots."

He said the job seekers were threatening employees’ lives. "[On Tuesday], a truck was stoned in Westbury during collection. Two weeks ago, another truck was stoned at Zondi depot and the Central Camp depot was set alight last week." Another truck was set alight two weeks ago in Diepkloof‚ Soweto.

Mkhwanazi said that, in the interim‚ Pikitup would ask police and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) to escort their trucks collecting refuse.

The affected depots are Midrand‚ Central Camp near Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital and Zondi in Soweto. One concerned resident is John Williams who lives in Midrand. He said refuse was piling up and they had not received any communication about when refuse collection would resume.

An estate manager in Midrand said they had to use a private refuse collector to remove garbage: "I tried to call the [Pikitup] depot because I wanted to find out if they’ll be collecting this week and they didn’t pick up the phone."