Health hazard looms: Uncollected piles of trash raise a stink in Joburg north

Uncollected trash in Randburg and Cosmo City has left community members concerned about their health. Picture: Simon Majadibodu / IOL

Uncollected trash in Randburg and Cosmo City has left community members concerned about their health. Picture: Simon Majadibodu / IOL

Published May 21, 2024


Residents of Randburg, Cosmo City and Zandspruit informal settlement in Joburg north have expressed concerns about the foul smell from uncollected waste due to the ongoing protest by Pikitup volunteers.

The protest started on Thursday, May 16, and was led by Zandspruit-based Combat Movement leader Enos Maake. The community-based organisation assists members of the community find work and fight corruption in government.

Maake said many workers have been volunteering at the Pikitup Randburg depot for years, yet when 300 job posts were advertised, they were not hired, and further alleged that there was corruption, nepotism and political connections taking place in the depot.

The protest has since disrupted services, resulting in waste piling up in surrounding areas and leaving residents to deal with the results of the ongoing protest.

Mavis Ngobeni, 33, from Randburg, expressed her concerns about the uncollected waste, saying that the unbearable odour poses significant health hazards to the people.

"The smell is harmful to our health, as it could make us sick. With the waste piling up, it also creates hiding spots for gangsters, making it easier for them to rob us," she said.

Waste bins have not been collected in some parts of Randburg, as a result of the ongoing protest by Pikitup volunteers demanding permanent employment. Picture: Supplied

Lucinda Jane Harman, ward 102 councillor in Randburg, said that there had been no waste collections in her ward and called for immediate action to address the situation.

“There must be intervention from the City of Joburg mayor, city manager, and MMC and experienced management at Pikitup,” she said.

Concerned resident from Zandspruit, Ellen Suping-Hlongwane, 65, voiced her worry about the uncollected garbage near the Zandspruit clinic.

"This uncollected waste poses a serious risk of diseases for people, especially since it's being dumped near the clinic where people go to seek healthcare services. Just passing by and entering the clinic, one already questions whether they'll get better or not, after inhaling the foul odour from the trash," she told IOL News.

The foul smell emanating from the uncollected trash just near Zandspruit clinic has raised health concerns among local residents. Picture: Simon Majadibodu / IOL

Furthermore, Zandspruit councillor David Mangena said he will take the matter in his own hands and organise a community meeting to clean the area, together with residents, as it is unhealthy to live in a filthy environment.

Regina Matlou, 46, Cosmo City resident, expressed her concern about children who are now playing with trash.

“I am deeply worried about this because now our children are playing with the trash and they will get sick as a result of this protest. We can’t be living in a dirty environment like this, it's not healthy at all.”

The piling of uncollected waste in Cosmo City, in the north of Joburg has left residents concerned about their health and the risks of getting diseases. Picture: Simon Majadibodu / IOL

Ward 100 Cosmo City councillor, Lyborn Ndou added that he is concerned that the trash issue needed to be addressed, as it significantly puts people's lives at risk of catching diseases.

Last week on Thursday, Pikitup spokesperson, Muzi Mkhwanazi denied allegations that the workers were hired through corruption and nepotism.

“A service provider was appointed to handle the entire recruitment process, and the online application system is managed by the City of Johannesburg.

“Everyone was allowed to apply for the vacancies and there were no restrictions imposed. All the applications were treated equally as demanded by the Labour Relations Act and internal employment policies,” he added.