By Bekithemba Ndebele
As the Pikitup strike continues, the recyclers around Johannesburg are taking advantage of the situation to make ends meet.
The strike had left the city of Johannesburg in devastating situation, with rubbish scattered around the city. Many residents are also fearing the outbreak of diseases in the city.
However, the recyclers spend their day searching in the bins and rubbish scattered around, they say the ongoing strike gives them the opportunity and time to search for thrown away materials to recycle before they can be cleared or picked away. Though they insist that the strike is not good for the city, but with it ongoing they have managed to collect appliances, cardboard boxes, and bottles for recycling as opposed to normal days with no strike.
“We can find things like microwaves, toaster machines, and sell them to get money for food,” Bongani, one of the recyclers said.
Another recylcer, who asked not to be named added that “Now we can get boxes, and bottles and other things, too many, and more than days when there is no strike.”
The strike which has been ongoing for almost five weeks have been advantageous to these recyclers. During their search, they have found dumped materials and appliances, easier to access, as than before the Pikitup will clear some areas before they can even reach them.
The recyclers can now make sales as much as three to four loads a day, as compared to one sale a day, when Pikitup workers are working.
The South Africa Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) went on an illegal strike about a month ago, demanding wages of R9 000 to R10 000 per month, and are calling for the Pikitup Managing Director, Amanda Nair to be removed from office.
Johannesburg Mayor, Parks Tau said “The people that we have contracted to collect the rubbish are casual workers and not all of them are experienced in dealing with waste management systems especially at this level. So, it means that they do take longer to do the work than the average Pikitup workers”
Tau further noted that “We have also had to deploy trucks in the middle of the night when under normal circumstances waste is collected during the day. We don’t schedule on prescribed days because we have to pretty much prevent intimidation. So, it has not been an easy situation for all concerned,” SABC News reported.
Meanwhile, News24 reported that Pikitup announced on Tuesday that it will resume day shifts in some areas serviced by Avalon, Central Camp and Zondi depots in Soweto and the Norwood deport.