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WATCH: Rubbish piles up in Randburg as strike continues

Emos Maake explained that they will fight until the casual workers are recognised and absorbed by the entity.

Randburg Pikitup depot is among the 10 that are currently shut down due to the protest comprising of Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) employees.

They blocked the entrances and have been camping outside the gate to make sure that no trucks and workers are operating.


Muzi Mkhwanazi Pikitup spokesperson said that the entity has deployed the Public Order Policing (POP) unit to remove protesters obstructing its depots, ensuring employees can resume waste collection services for the City of Johannesburg residents.

Piles of thrash outside Randburg Pikitup gate. Photo: Mthulisi Lwazi Khuboni

“The protesters made up of EPWP employees whose contracts are expiring, blocked entrances to the Norwood, Selby, Marlboro, Randburg, Diepsloot, Midrand, and Roodepoort depots, etc. They are all demanding permanent employment with the waste management company.

“POP units have been instructed to arrest and remove these lawbreakers to allow the staff to perform their duties. Additionally, private security personnel and the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) will escort employees as they provide services to residents,” added Mkhwanazi.

Pile of rubbish outside the Pikitup gates. Photo: Mthulisi Lwazi Khuboni

He said that the current protest action is not a strike by Pikitup’s employees but by casual workers. This means that members of the South African Municipal Workers Union (Samwu) and the entity remain committed to engaging with protesters’ representatives to find an amicable solution.

“These efforts are expected to facilitate the reopening of the depots soon. The entity reassures City of Johannesburg residents that every effort is being made to restore waste collection services.”

The protesters at the Randburg depot have been at the entity gate for more than five days. They are all demanding answers from the management about the recent permanent posts of new people while they have been working for the entity and in contracts for years.

Emos Maake addresses the workers. Photo: Mthulisi Lwazi Khuboni

Enos Maake, leader of Combat (The protest movement), explained that the protest has nothing to do with ending contracts but with the casual workers who have been left out of the recent permanent posts and new people were hired.

“We shut down the depot until they absorb these workers and leave this online recruitment and take in people internally that are already in the Pikitup system. We want them to make these people permanent first before employing new people. It is a reckless decision that does not make sense. Why would you hire inexperienced people and leave casuals who have been working for the entity for years.”

Casual workers outside Randburg depot gate. Photo: Mthulisi Lwazi Khuboni

He added that online recruitment is full of corruption and nepotism and they believe that the casuals deserve the permanent posts as they have many years of experience.

Thabo Letsoge has been in contracts for Pikitup Randburg depot for seven years. He explained that they get different contracts – sometimes it’s three or six months.

“We have been with the company for years; it is unbelievable that we are not recognised. We have been here even during Covid risking our lives; we have been struggling a lot; we deserve to be made permanent. How do they hire people with no experience over us? The system is failing us and that is why we are fighting.”

Pikitup casual workers outside Randburg depot gate. Photo: Mthulisi Lwazi Khuboni

Residents in affected areas are encouraged to dispose of their waste at Pikitup’s integrated waste management facilities while the matter is being resolved.

Related article: Protest to be staged outside Randburg Magistrate’s Court

46 suspected Diepsloot protesters appear at Randburg Magistrates’ Court

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