Alleged extortionists have driven cleaning companies out of informal settlements with threats and demands for money.
Toilets in Khayelitsha’s informal settlements have not been cleaned for several weeks, and refuse has been left to pile up for months. This comes after service providers have had to withdraw their workers because protection rackets are demanding money from them in order to allow them to do their work.
Last month, sanitation workers were held at gunpoint and robbed.
The alleged racketeers reportedly ask for an upfront payment of R50 000, and then demanded R10 000 to R30 000 in monthly payments in order for sanitation companies to do their work. As a result, residents are living in unbearable conditions with the overpowering smell of faeces and uncollected human waste.
Some residents have resorted to paying people to get rid of their waste on their behalf. The waste is dumped illegally in streams, storm water drains, dumping sites and in the bushes. Some people have said that they have found faeces deposited at their doorstep.
Added to this, people are living amongst decomposing garbage, which adds to the stench and to the health risk posed by the human waste issue. The City has said it will begin clearing refuse using its own resources as often as possible. New contractors are not anticipated to be appointed until December 2023.