THE Ekurhuleni municipality says striking rubbishcollectors in Thembisa are not under its employ.
"These workers are employed by community contractors to collect waste," spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said.
The contractors have meanwhile secured the services of unemployed residents to collect waste while their employees are on strike.
Dlamini said a task team, led by mayor Ntombi Mekgwe, had been set up to resolve the matter.
He said: "This is an unusual and complex issue."
At least 280 Thembisa rubbish collectors have been on strike for the past three weeks.
As the strike entered its fourth week yesterday,workers marched to 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 said the only agreement they have with the workers was to "help them with issues whenever they arise".
He said the contract to collect waste was with the contractors through the Thembisa Community-based Waste Collection, which employs locals.
Residents have emptied their uncollected rubbish on street corners, creating piles of rubbish along the pavements.
The South African Municipal Workers Union said it had given the municipality until Friday to respond.