DURBAN – The Durban city centre looked like a dump site on Sunday, with a pungent smell hanging in the air, after the interruption of refuse collection services since Friday. This followed a strike by the city’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) staff over the weekend.
The eThekwini Municipality’s Deputy Head of Communication, Mandla Ntsele said the workers were demanding full time employment. Rubbish bins were deliberately overturned, allegedly by people working at Durban Solid Waste under the EPWP programme, during the strike.
The workers made claims that they have been working under the programme since 2013 and they were promised permanent employment in 2015, and that has not materialised.
“Instead, we see people who were not under this programme being brought in at a higher salary than we earn.
“The mayor (Zandile Gumede) is responsible for this mess. Since she took over the reins, she has been sidelining people who were employed during former mayor (James) Nxumalo’s time. We will not stop blocking the Berea depot until we get the desired outcome,” said the spokesperson of the group.
A disgruntled employee said they were shot at by metro police with rubber bullets, allegedly on Gumede’s instructions.
Businesses in town have expresses disgust at the state of the city’s centre. The city centre was the worst hit by the strike as the streets are usually cleaned daily.