Rubbish piles up in Never Never

The rubbish has not been collected since December.

Residents of Never Never informal settlement and surrounding areas in Philippi say they have had enough of living with piles of smelly uncollected rubbish and have slammed the City Of Cape Town for falling to provide refuse collection services since December.

The residents said that while the contract of the company that had been employed to collect the rubbish in their area ended last month, the company that was supposed to take over the duties from January 1, had not done so.

Concerned residents complained to Vukani that the rubbish was a health hazard, particularly for children and sickly people.

Community leader, Nowethu Sawatana, described their living conditions as “appalling”.

She explained that the City employed a company for a year to render their services and that particular company is responsible for employing people from the community.

But, she pointed out, the community leaders had no idea which company had been employed to collect their rubbish and that they had tried in vain to get the details of the company or officials to highlight their grievances.

“The whole area is a mess. We can’t live like these and we are treated like dogs. We can’t even open our windows. Maggots are crawling into our homes and children are playing with this rubbish. If we continue to live like this then we will have no choice but to protest. Maybe (then) our pleas would be heard,” she said.

Among their complaints, said Ms Sawatana, was that the companies that had been employed to clean their area employed only a few people who were then overloaded with work.

She added that while some employed nine or 11, she believed that, due to the size of the area, at least 20 people were needed.

She also called on the City to closely monitor the companies they gave the cleaning contracts to.

Ward councillor Siphiwo Mnqanduku said he had also alerted the City to the matter.

“The City should stop undermining areas that black people live in and provide service delivery. We did not put ourselves in this situation. It is the City that has failed to ensure that the companies they appoint are working. In some areas people have been hired to clean but the company has not provided working tools and uniforms,” he said

Acting mayoral committee member for area south, Suzette Little, said a new cleaning contractor started in the area on January 1. However, she said due to a combination of a low number of EPWP applicants from the area, and a number of EPWP beneficiaries failing to attend interviews to sign contracts, there had been a delay before they could begin cleaning the area because they did not have sufficient staff.

“New interviews were held on 18 January 2017, and workers have now been employed. Service should resume in the coming days when labour relations and occupational health and safety requirements have been addressed with the new employees.

“The City will also dispatch additional resources to assist in speedy clearing of the backlog,” she said.

Resident Thandiswa Fokwana pleaded with the City to quickly resolve the matter before it gets worse.