Councillor Jack Sekwaila, a Member of the Mayoral Committee (MMC) for the Environment and Infrastructure Services Department (EISD) in Johannesburg, has appealed to the local business community. His plea concerns the need to cease illegal waste dumping practices within the city. On September 12th, Cllr Sekwaila took a proactive stance by leading a concerted “War on Waste” campaign at the heart of Johannesburg. The primary goal of this campaign was to complement the ongoing efforts of Pikitup, the municipal waste collection entity, in maintaining cleanliness in the inner city as reported by Joburg Newsroom.
The campaign’s focal point was Lilian Ngoyi (Bree) Street, particularly near the methane gas explosion worksite. It encompassed various initiatives, including removing illegally dumped waste, collecting excess waste, street and sidewalk sweeping, and an educational component aimed at instructing residents and businesses on proper waste disposal methods.
Councillor Sekwaila was joined by Bukelwa Njingolo, Managing Director of Pikitup, Ward 60 Councillor Sihle Nguse, and several key stakeholders from the inner city during this endeavour.
Cllr Sekwaila emphasised the need to instil a sense of responsibility for the urban environment in the densely populated inner city. He pointed out numerous violations occur in the area, with informal traders, residents, and businesses consistently breaking the law. The MMC stressed that this task is ongoing and urged residents to collaborate with authorities in maintaining a cleaner environment.
Cllr Sekwaila expressed gratitude to stakeholders who consistently support the municipality’s efforts to keep the streets clean, emphasising that it’s a collective duty to maintain cleanliness in the inner city.
Bukelwa Njingolo, during her address to the gathered crowd, shed light on the challenging conditions faced by Pikitup workers, who often have to clean up items discarded on the streets. She also highlighted safety concerns, including nighttime muggings, especially during load shedding, and the absence of public facilities in certain areas. Njingolo acknowledged resource challenges, such as truck breakdowns, but assured that the inner city would always be a priority with a 24-hour waste collection schedule involving three shifts.
During the waste collection campaign, officials identified businesses and residents, particularly those in alleged hijacked buildings, engaging in the improper disposal of waste onto the streets and into stormwater drains. Councillor Sekwaila condemned this behaviour as “unacceptable” and called for enhanced by-law enforcement.
Councillor Nguse called upon Pikitup to collaborate with various stakeholders to develop a comprehensive strategy to combat urban grime in the inner city, negatively impacting investor interest.
Irene Mafune, the Director of Citizen Relationship and Urban Management (CRUM) in Region F, stressed the need for civic education about waste disposal in the inner city. Mafune emphasised the importance of targeting inner-city residents to instil pride in maintaining a clean environment and discourage littering.
Throughout the service delivery blitz, Pikitup workers were accompanied by the CRUM Region F Augmented Field Services Unit (AFSU), a service delivery model designed to bolster the efforts of municipal entities and departments in keeping the inner city clean.
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Photo: Facebook / @Jack Sekwaila