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‘Fire them’ – Khayelitsha shack dwellers fume over company hired to clean their areas

‘Fire them’ – Khayelitsha shack dwellers fume over company hired to clean their areas
Scores of people picketed outside the Khayelitsha Training Centre where mayoral committee member for waste management Grant Twigg met ward councillors and community leaders over their demand for new informal settlements to be cleaned. (Photo: Vincent Lali)

Residents of informal settlements established during lockdown in 2020 want the City of Cape Town to fire the company contracted to clean in the township.

The shack dwellers have two main complaints: that their areas are not being cleaned by the contracting company, Mega Ndira Resources, and that they are not being selected for job opportunities.

But the City says Mega Ndira’s contract expires at the end of April and cannot be terminated sooner.

Residents first staged a protest over these issues on 30 January. As a result, cleaners at the company stopped working from 31 January. They are expected to resume work this week.

Meanwhile, to try to resolve the impasse, mayoral committee member for waste management Grant Twigg met ward councillors and community leaders at the Khayelitsha Training Centre last week. A group of residents picketed outside the centre during the meeting.

Community activist Nonceba Ndlebe said: “We want Twigg to fire Mega Ndira Resources and hire a new company to clean areas such as Wetland, Sanitiser, Noxolo Xawuka and others.”

Shack dwellers initially demanded that Mega Ndira Resources fire its former supervisors. They claim that some of the supervisors have been employed for more than 10 years, meaning many others are not given an opportunity of employment. Several meetings have been held with subcouncil managers to resolve the impasse, but to no avail.

Following the most recent meeting with Twigg, Delmaine Cottee, subcouncil 10 chairperson, confirmed that the company’s contract will expire at the end of April.

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“The community leaders asked the City to withdraw from the contract, but there is no way that the contract can be cancelled. There are legal implications,” he said.

Read in Daily Maverick:Khayelitsha protesters released without charge following chaotic road blockade over City refuse collection contract

Cottee said Expanded Public Works Programme workers would be used to clean in wards 99, 96 and 95 for two months. After this period, a new contract will be drawn up, he said.

In response to complaints about the supervisors, Cottee assured residents that the City will take over the supervisory role. Cottee said only 16 of the 36 new occupations, established following the outbreak of Covid, have been recognised.

Project manager at Mega Ndira Resources, Zukisani Beseti, told GroundUp that cleaners will resume work this week. “The City told us that it will deploy its own supervisors. We don’t know how that’s going to work. We will work with them but it’s going to be tricky. We last worked on 31 January.”

The City has not responded to our questions. DM

Originally published by GroundUp.


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