Scared waste collectors escorted in Philippi

Rubbish piled up as waste collectors were too scared to enter the area.

The City of Cape Town has taken strong measures to ensure that trucks collecting rubbish in Philippi are safe after criminals stopped workers and demanded protection money.

This comes after a contract worker was killed two weeks ago.

Rubbish was not collected in the area for almost a week afterwards.

However, after the City met with leaders and relevant stakeholders they agreed that Law Enforcement officers should be deployed in the area to ensure that they escort these workers.

In media statement issued on Tuesday May 9, the City of Cape Town assured Philippi East residents that it was working to clear refuse in the area after a short disruption last week.

The disruption occurred due to the killing of a contract worker in the area. A law enforcement escort had to be arranged before services could resume.

Lungisa Somdaka, councillor for Ward 33, confirmed that trucks which collect rubbish in the area were stopped by criminals who demanded money.

He added the workers put their services on hold as they feared for their safety.

He said they met with all community stakeholders and agreed that it was best that these workers and trucks which collect rubbish in their area should be escorted as the situation was too dangerous.

“The workers and trucks are escorted as some areas have been identified as hotspot areas.

“This situation is delaying service delivery because these trucks and workers can’t enter our areas without being escorted. We really can’t do anything as a community because once we voice out our concerns about this we will become targets.

“Hence we have requested the intervention of Law Enforcement to play their part. But we urge residents not to do illegal dumping and let’s put all our faith in law enforcement agencies,” he said.

A resident who did not want to be named said crime has taken on another level and people are living in fear.

He said Philippi has become one of the most dangerous areas and it seems the only way that they are still surviving in that area is through the grace of God.

He said robberies take place anywhere and at any time. He said if criminals want money for services that are meant to better our communities where is the country going.

He also blamed the government for corruption and lack of good leaders, saying that if the current government cared for its people none of this would happen.

He said lack of employment opportunities and high levels of poverty have forced young people to resort to other means, even if it’s illegal, to put food on the table.

In a statement, mayoral committee member for urban waste management, Grant Twigg, said where the safety of City workers in an area is compromised, it could result in a delay in the collection of refuse.

He said they urge residents not to resort to illegal dumping. “Please take your bin back into your property overnight to prevent theft, and take it out for collection again the following morning,” he said.