Pikitup. Picture: SOWETAN
Pikitup. Picture: SOWETAN

Johannesburg’s waste management service provider has taken a massive hit in its top management with the resignation of its MD, COO and board chair over the last few weeks.

The entity, tasked to keep SA’s powerhouse clean, has experienced a turbulent year.

Disruptions in service delivery started in August when protesters demanded to be appointed as part of 1, 400 workers who would be insourced from service providers.

The protests escalated in September, with the violence prompting metro police to escort Pikitup workers during their rounds.

Service delivery was also disrupted in October after the city bungled the renewal of a fleet contract. The city is the sole stakeholder in Pikitup.

Environment and infrastructure services mayoral committee member Nico de Jager confirmed on Thursday that MD Lungile Dhlamini, COO Christa Venter and board chair Bheki Shongwe had resigned.

De Jager said Dhlamini was heading to the private sector, Venter planned on accepting a post at a municipality in the Eastern Cape and Shongwe was asked to resign after accepting a job in the private sector that did business with the government, which would have been a conflict of interest. 

De Jager said Dhlamini had resigned at the end of November, while Venter and Shongwe resigned this week.

Dhlamini was appointed as MD in March 2017 and was crucial in implementing the insourcing of the workers earlier this year.

De Jager stressed that the resignations were not as a result of disagreements or fights within the entity.

The ANC in Johannesburg, which first made the resignations public on Thursday, said it “noted” the developments.  

“These resignations are especially worrying because the entity has for months been battling to keep up with the delivery of service in various areas in the city. These developments are likely to cause further injury to the already limping horse that is Pikitup,” the ANC’s Matshidiso Mfikoe said in a statement.

The ANC claimed areas of Johannesburg have not had waste removed in recent weeks, and the city is also struggling to clear filth piling up along the streets in the CBD.

“We hope that this matter will be resolved expeditiously in the interest of the residents. Not only is the pile-up of filth in the city an eyesore, but the continued exposure to waste is a potential health hazard for residents, particularly the informal traders who spend hours next to the mountainous filth almost daily,” Mfikoe said.

The city said in a statement that Expanded Public Works Programme workers would be working over the festive season to help keep the city clean.