PLETTENBERG BAY NEWS - The Plettenberg Bay community literally cleaned up the municipality's mess when a municipal labour dispute left household refuse heaping up across the holiday town last week.
Residents noticed that something was amiss last Monday when the usual refuse removal did not take place.
The Bitou Municipality then announced that the reason for the refuse removal halt was a labour dispute within the waste department and encouraged residents to store their refuse on their properties while the municipality negotiated with the striking workers.
This, however, caused a stink as large piles of refuse lined the town streets, especially after an increase in waste following New Year celebrations. Birds started ripping into the refuse bags, which caused rubbish to be strewn across sidewalks.
Alison Bryant of the Keep Plett Clean Campaign said the group realised something needed to be done, as the situation was becoming a health hazard and tarnishing the town's image.
Local Good Samaritan and KwikSpar owner Duncan Brown, who supports the campaign, stepped up to the plate. He decided to obtain the services of local resident Joe Bruwer to help clear as much of the rubbish as possible.
On Thursday, while the labour dispute continued, Bruwer and his team headed out and collected refuse in large parts of Plettenberg Bay. "We tried to collect as much as possible, but unfortunately could not get to everything," Brown said. "Luckily the labour dispute was resolved and the workers were back the next day."
Bitou municipal spokesman Andile Namntu said that, although the dispute started within the waste department, it soon spread to the water and electrical departments.
The dispute had, however, been resolved on Thursday night and a commitment had been made that the water and sanitation as well as electrical teams would immediately resume duty.
They were expected to work through Thursday night to ensure that all outstanding repairs were done and services restored.
This was after several burst pipes were reported across Bitou, leaving residents without water.
The backlog was dealt with over the weekend and normal refuse collection continued on Monday.
Namntu did not say what the dispute was about, but it is believed to have been in connection with danger pay.
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