strike stench hits thembisa

HEALTH HAZARD: Uncollected rubbish is pilling up at street corners and pavements in Thembisa because of the ongoing Samwu strike that has besieged the township. Pic. PAT SEBOKO.  03/09/2009. © Sowetan.
HEALTH HAZARD: Uncollected rubbish is pilling up at street corners and pavements in Thembisa because of the ongoing Samwu strike that has besieged the township. Pic. PAT SEBOKO. 03/09/2009. © Sowetan.

THE sprawling township of Thembisa in Ekurhuleni is probably the dirtiest place in Gauteng right now.

A strong stench hangs in the air as heaps of rotting rubbish pile up on every street corner.

This comes after 280 rubbish collectors contracted to the municipality embarked on a strike two weeks ago.

The strikers are members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu).

Residents empty their uncollected rubbish bins onto the street corners.

So serious is the situation that the municipality called in the Red Ants to try and clear the mess.

A member of the Red Ants said: "We try to clean up, but every time we turn our backs the rubbish returns. We are trying our best but it is not easy."

Vegetable hawker Dino Tsokola said the stinking rubbish worsens the problem of rodents in the area. "We have big rodents that the municipality cannot control. Now that they are feasting on the rubbish, they will multiple," he said.

The employees are demanding the implementation of the agreement concluded in June last year.

These include the payment of bonuses, backdated to 2002, same salaries with the municipality's employees, and the granting of annual leave in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

Samwu's Ekurhuleni branch warned that any further delay to implement the demands would result in the 10000 members employed by the municipality joining the strike.

Efforts to get hold of Zweli Dlamini, the municipality's spokesperson, drew a blank yesterday as his cellphone was off.

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