Municipal waste utility Pikitup. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS
Municipal waste utility Pikitup. Picture: RUSSELL ROBERTS

Pikitup has been unable to collect waste in some areas of Johannesburg‚ including Alexandra‚ Houghton and Sandton‚ due to violent protests by contract workers‚ says the office of mayor Herman Mashaba.

"Pikitup is unable to fulfil its waste collection responsibilities in the Alexandra and Sandton Depots (Region E)‚ due to continued intimidation‚ protest action and acts of violence against its employees and service providers by former Jozi@Work employee‚" the city said in a statement.

The protests by Jozi@Work‚ employees‚ which started on Monday last week‚ came after the expiry of their temporary contracts with the city.

"Jozi@Work employees went on the rampage during the course of the past week‚ threatening and assaulting service providers and Pikitup workers."

According to the city‚ the protests started in Alexandra and spread to Wynberg‚ Sandton‚ Orange Grove and Houghton on Friday‚ when vehicles were prevented from leaving the Marlboro depot by protesters.

"There have also been reports of cleaning materials being violently taken from Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) employees‚ staff being held hostage and vehicles being turned over."

Pikitup provides a six-days-a-week waste collection service and collects more than 200 tonnes of waste per day in Alexandra alone. "However‚ the violent protests have now led to Pikitup being unable to fulfil its mandate in Region E‚ and services in Regions C‚ F and G are now also affected."

Commenting on the protests, Mashaba said: "I condemn the violent disruptions by a disgruntled few, who knew full well that they signed temporary employment contracts‚ which are legally binding.

"Pikitup is requesting that residents assist us during this time by bagging dumped waste and placing the full bags in identified areas in their wards where collection will be arranged."

Mashaba said meetings between relevant stakeholders were continuously being held to find a solution to the situation.