Johannesburg Stench Sparks Outcry As Pikitup Vows to Clear Waste This Weekend

Johannesburg Stench Sparks Outcry As Pikitup Vows to Clear Waste This Weekend

  • Waste company Pikitup has vowed to clear out the waste scattered in parts of Johannesburg this weekend
  • This comes after workers downed tools over concerns about becoming full-time employees at the company
  • Earlier this week, The City of Johannesburg was granted a court interdict against protesting workers

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Trisha Pillay is a Briefly News current affairs journalist in Johannesburg. For 13 years, she has devoted her professional life to covering social issues and community news, sharing her expertise with newsrooms like The Citizen newspaper, African News Network, and Newzroom Afrika. Do you have a hard news story you would like to share? Email with CA in the subject line.

Pikitup promises to clean out parts of Johannesburg.
Piles of waste lie around parts of Johannesburg after Pikitup workers go on strike. Images: @CleanerJoburg
Source: Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - The stink in Johannesburg may soon be cleared up as Pikitup says it's ready to resume waste collection operations.

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Johannesburg covered in waste

According to eNCA, Pikitup has announced it will work through the weekend to clear the waste collection backlogs.

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The company has reported significant improvements in waste collection despite a protest by contract workers in the city. Most of the metro's depots had reopened following severe disruptions, although the Selby depot faced issues on Friday when workers forcefully blocked a compactor truck.

Earlier this week, the company obtained a court interdict against the strike by its casual workers. The strike has impacted various parts of the city, including Norwood, Marlboro, Waterval, Selby, Randburg, Midrand, and Diepsloot. The unrest began when the contracts for casual workers at Pikitup expired, and they demanded permanent positions.

According to the City of Johannesburg, in December 2023, Pikitup advertised 300 general worker positions and appointed an external recruitment agency to manage the process. The recruitment was conducted transparently, with organised labour kept informed throughout. Despite this, the deployment of new recruits last week sparked protests from current workers who felt unfairly overlooked. The protestors are demanding permanent employment.

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Johannesburg residents want solutions

The protests escalated, with some workers destroying property, burning tyres outside depots and severely disrupting waste collection services. Residents are calling for the waste to be picked up, and many South Africans feel their pain.

Here are some of the reactions:

@Floris Kotze said:

"Anc, Eff, MK and Some Unions Legacy of Destruction Continues. This is how they Make South Africa a Better Place for all South African People."

@Hennie Nel shared:

"Amazing that the majority of citizens prefer the filthy living conditions and stink. It's part of FREEDOM."

@Ras Magosi St. Magakwe joked:

"A world-class African city."

@Alhaji Madihu Carlos begged:

"Please help us."

@Sarahm expressed:

"This is getting out of hand; please, can someone help us? The smell is bad."

North West residents at wits' end

In a similar story, Briefly News reported another delay in constructing the Nelson Mandela Highway in Mahikeng, North West.

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Workers have downed tools, and work has yet to be done on the four-kilometre stretch in over a week as the contractor struggled to finish construction.

It's been more than eight years since Supra Mahumapelo, the former premier of the province, announced the project, which was launched on Nelson Mandela Day in 2010.

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Source: Briefly News

Trisha Pillay avatar

Trisha Pillay (Weekend current affairs editor) Trisha Pillay is a Current Affairs writer at Briefly News. She has a degree in Journalism from the University of Johannesburg and an Honours degree in International Politics from UNISA. She joined ENCA straight out of varsity and completed an internship at the channel. Pillay later went on to cover politics, crime, entertainment, and current affairs at the Citizen Newspaper. She joined Newzroom Afrika in 2019 and became a senior bulletin editor for shows focused on politics and current affairs on the channel. She joined Briefly News in 2023. You can contact her at

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