Pretoria is still haunted by garbage disposal


Cilliers Brink, mayor of Pretoria, says it would appear that the illegal strike is coming to an end, but there are still problems with garbage disposal.

“There are staff who show up for work, but they then refuse to carry out assignments. This is a significant problem,” said Brink. “Compared to a week ago, however, there is definitely an improvement in terms of the response to water and power outages.”

According to him, however, garbage disposal is the major problem that persists.

“As soon as one does not follow the schedule with garbage removal on a specific day, the backlog accumulates. Then that means you have to spend weeks trying to catch up.”

Brink also continues to insist that the violent attacks on garbage collection trucks must be investigated. “We demand arrests in this case. This had a tremendous impact on our garbage disposal schedule. We are working overtime to resolve this issue.”

He hopes that the municipality will be back on schedule within the next few weeks.

The city council is also still waiting for a decision from the bargaining council in the wage dispute with striking workers from the municipal workers’ union Samwu.

“We as city council respected the process of the bargaining council. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for Samwu and his leadership.”

The city council returns to court to make the injunction, which was granted, permanent against the striking workers. The case was adjourned until September 15 and the interdict was therefore also extended.

AfriForum demands from SAPS to ensure the safety of garbage collectors

In the meantime, the civil rights organization AfriForum sent a letter to the South African Police Service (SAPD), the minister of police as well as the police commissioner to demand that these parties provide proper security to garbage collectors in the Tshwane metro.

According to Johan Kruger, strategic advisor at AfriForum, the SAPS is hopelessly failing in its obligations to maintain security and to punish illegal strikers. Kruger adds that in terms of an existing court interdict, the SAPS must ensure that safety is maintained during the ongoing illegal strike.

“The SAPS clearly cannot keep the illegal strikers in check,” says Kruger. “Strikers continue to set garbage collection trucks and dumps on fire and create unsafe conditions for garbage collectors and at landfill sites.”

AfriForum’s court application demands, among other things, that the SAPS must immediately intervene in illegal strikes and that the safety of non-striking employees will be ensured. Strikers must also be forced to obey court orders to avoid illegal strikes and damage to private and public property.

According to Kruger, Samwu’s illegal strike and the union’s inability to control its members’ actions are the reason for the large-scale damage that the Tshwane metro and various private institutions have suffered in recent weeks. “Samwu and his members’ sabotage and criminality belong on the rubbish heap. The SAPS must ensure that this action is stopped by taking strong action now.”

Kruger insists that the SAPS must intervene now, arrest violent individuals and ensure that extra manpower is mobilized in areas where violence occurs. He further says that AfriForum’s branch structures will continue to remove rubbish. AfriForum has already removed rubbish in several neighborhoods in the city in the past few weeks, sometimes under armed escort. Finally, AfriForum demands that a plan be drawn up to ensure the safety of employees and the public at potential points of violence.