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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Des Van Rooyen. Picture Credit: Gallo Images
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Municipality in a mess as rubbish collectors strike

By Getrude Makhafola | Sep 16, 2009 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

THE Ekurhuleni Metro says the striking rubbish collectors in Thembisa are not employed by the municipality.

THE Ekurhuleni Metro says the striking rubbish collectors in Thembisa are not employed by the municipality.

"These workers are employed by community contractors to collect waste. We have contracts with the community contractors," spokesperson Zweli Dlamini says.

The contractors have meanwhile secured the services of unemployed residents to collect waste while their employees are on strike.

Dlamini says a task team, led by mayor Ntombi Mekgwe, has been set up to resolve the matter.

He says: "This is an unusual and complex issue and for some reason the workers have seen fit to toyi-toyi against the municipality."

At least 280 Thembisa rubbish collectors have been on strike for the past three weeks.

As the strike entered its fourth week workers marched on the civic centre in Germiston and handed over a memorandum.

They demanded to be paid the same salaries as municipal workers and to be given an annual bonus and annual leave.

Dlamini says the only agreement they have with the workers is to "help them with issues whenever they arise".

He says a contract to collect waste was entered into with the contractors through the Thembisa Community-based Waste Collection. The project employs locals.

Residents empty their uncollected rubbish on street corners, creating piles of rubbish along the pavements.

So hazardous had the situation become by last week that the municipality called in the Red Ants to try and clear the mess.

Residents complained about the smell of the rotting rubbish heaps, saying the problem of rodents was becoming worse.

The Ekurhuleni branch of the South African Municipal Workers Union says it has given the municipality until Friday to respond.

"We have served notice of secondary strike action on the Ekurhuleni municipality," spokesperson Tahir Sema says.

"If they do not respond, at least 10000 Ekurhuleni municipal workers will march to the premiers office."


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