Operations came to a complete halt at Pikitup’s Selby depot and the Panorama Garden site in Johannesburg today after former Jozi@Work employees disrupted the waste management’s services demanding their jobs back.
Pikitup spokesperson, Muzi Mkhwanazi, confirmed that a group of disgruntled former Jozi@Work employees picketed outside the gates of the Selby Depot and prevented Pikitup employees from perform their duties. He said the action affected services at the Selby Depot and the Johannesburg Central Business District.
“The waste collection services in the Johannesburg CDB have been disrupted as a result. Fortunately, Pikitup has a night-shift operation in Johannesburg’s CBD,” he said.
The waste management entity had earlier alerted residents of Johannesburg to a possible disruption of waste collection in Johannesburg. This after it received an email by former Jozi@Work employees who lambasted the hiring of 2 800 workers from provinces outside of Gauteng.
Hundreds of members of the Jozi@Work, a programme initiated by the former ANC-led administration in the City of Johannesburg before the metro was taken over by the DA after the 2016 local government elections, were retrenched by the new administration. At the time mayor Herman Mashaba said the programme was used as a jobs-for-pals scheme and a corrupt effort to benefit some the ANC councillors.
The City disbanded the programmed and planned to absorb the former Jozi@Work employees into the metro municipality instead of being temporary workers. The programme was said to be a corrupt attempt by then ANC administration to benefit some party members through a labour brokering system which Mashaba undertook to do away with in the City so that people were employed directly by the municipality.
For some time now, the employees had been protesting in various parts of the city demanding to be reinstated into their jobs. At one time last year they gate-crashed a council meeting trashing the council chamber, breaking glass doors and television sets in the council lounges.
Mkhwanazi said on Sunday former Jozi@Work employees threatened to destabilise the services of the waste management company.
“Pikitup has contacted the Johannesburg Metro Police Department to intervene in the matter because disrupting the waste management services is an offence,” he said.
In June two people said to be ringleaders in the ongoing protests by former Jozi@Work workers were arrested for allegedly attempting to solicit a bribe of R6 000 from their former supervisor in order to stop continued violent protest in the city and damage to infrastructure around Berea and Joubert Park. They were charged with causing malicious damage to property and intimidation and appeared in the Hillbrow Magistrate’s Court.
The arrests were part of a sting operation by City’s Group Forensic and Investigation Service (GFIS), Metro police and SAPS members.
“It is clear that these two suspects were determined to prevent the City from providing needed refuse removal services to communities, particularly those in the inner city. GFIS is committed to fighting fraud, corruption and maladministration in the City. Those who are found to be involved in criminal activities will face the full might of the law.
“I would like to thank all the law enforcement agencies including SAPS and JMPD who were involved in the operation. For Johannesburg to be a City of opportunity for all, the rule of law must be upheld. The days of criminals operating with impunity have to an end,” Mashaba said.