Johannesburg’s refuse removal entity Pikitup now conducts its services under police watch after protesters have made its job impossible for more than a month. Pikitup’s workers have been protected by the Johannesburg Metro Police since last week, after debilitating protests. The protests have, among other things, led to a staff hall and a storage facility being burnt down; a Pikitup waste removal truck being set alight; and a senior official being doused with petrol, but managing to escape before being set alight. The protests were set in motion when Pikitup began insourcing workers earlier this year after it was announced by mayor Herman Mashaba that some former contract and Jozi@Work employees would be insourced by the city.

Mashaba said then that Pikitup was only able to accommodate 1,400 of the total 3,000 former employees, which consisted of the Jozi@Work staff as well as contract workers, due to budget constraints. Mashaba has described the protests as being politically ...

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