Five to appear in court after attack on Pikitup manager

People have resorted to dumping in open areas in Soweto because Pikitup has been unable to collect refuse in the past few weeks.
People have resorted to dumping in open areas in Soweto because Pikitup has been unable to collect refuse in the past few weeks.

Five suspects have been arrested for the alleged attempted murder of a Pikitup general manager who was allegedly assaulted and doused with petrol by protesters picketing outside the refuse collector's offices on Monday.

Captain Mavela Masondo confirmed that the quintet have been arrested and will appear in the Hillbrow magistrate's court today on attempted murder charges.

Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba said the suspects were part of the protesters who have been picketing outside Pikitup offices since Monday, demanding that they be employed by the city's waste management company.

The arrests come as several open spaces in Soweto are slowly turning into dump sites as Pikitup hasn't been rendering services for more than two weeks.

Several Pikitup depots were shut down last week when apparent job-seeking residents stoned a truck in Diepkloof and started protesting outside the depots, mainly in Soweto. Areas affected included Diepkloof, Orlando East, Orlando West, Dube and Meadowlands.

A big dump site has mushroomed along the busy Soweto Highway in Diepkloof, between the mine dump and the township. From used baby diapers to rotting food, the refuse has been slowly building up since last week, residents told Sowetan.

Mkhululi Mnisi, who lives along the Soweto Highway, said people were left with no choice but to dump their refuse in the open spaces.

"As you can see, we're seriously affected and it's been three weeks now. Our area is now filthy and we don't know what to do," Mnisi said.

"My rubbish bin is full right now and I'm worried that people will soon start getting diseases due to this problem."

Sowetan found a new dump site in another open space near the Diepkloof Square shopping centre.

Jabulani Khumalo, another resident, said: "We have children who will most likely get sick soon. What's happening here doesn't sit well with us as residents."

Mashaba said they have established that the interruption of Pikitup services was "politically motivated".

He said the city had been tipped off that former temporary workers were being approached by political forces to destabilise the city's cleaning services.

"We have begun a full-scale investigation, which will lead to the imminent arrests of the organisers of these protests, as Pikitup has now obtained a court order against any further disruptions of their premises or operations," Mashaba said. - Additional reporting by TimeSLIVE

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