The office of the MMC for Environment and Infrastructure Services Department (EISD) Clr Mpho Moerane, would like to update the residents of the City of Johannesburg on the unfortunate state of service delivery by the entities as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The EISD entities, City Power, Pikitup and Joburg Water, have over the past few weeks been forced to operate on contingency staff after most of the depots were either shut down or had to put staff in isolation, self-quarantine and medical leave after they tested positive for Covoid-19 or had been in contact with those infected. Other depots were affected by disruptions by residents, which made it impossible and unsafe for our staff to access these areas and carry out service delivery duties.
City Power has moved the needle on the backlogs that have been affecting its customers across the City of Johannesburg since the winter season started.
This is partly due to the increase in manpower that we kept on standby to ensure that we respond timeously to power outage calls. However, we are still experiencing challenges with regards to materials, which will delay our turn-round time on most outages. City Power does not have spare pole mounted transformers and mini-substations, among others.
Overloading on the network has resulted in most of these infrastructures blowing up and burnt, leading to an increase in their demand. As a result, we are having a problem with finding the suppliers for these materials. Measures have been put in place to procure these, and they will hopefully be available by the end of this week.
We would also like to warn the residents that attacks on the City Power technicians responding to power outage calls will not be tolerated.
A City Power truck was attacked on Sunday, 5 July 2020, in Kanana Ext in Rabie Ridge. Its window was broken during the attack. On Saturday, City Power operators
were held hostage, and residents refused to let them restore power on the Vasco da Gama substation in Alexandra.
We will be intensifying operations to cut off illegal connections, which have been the sticking point, to ensure security of supply to paying customers and safeguard our infrastructure from blowing up due to overloading caused by illegal connections at the Vasco da Gama substation.
Please note that we will not hesitate to withdraw our teams from hostile environments if their safety is under threat, and this will affect service delivery as well as turn-around times. We urge the residents to cooperate with us and our teams as we try and help ensure efficient service delivery under these circumstances where staff is already affected by shortages as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.
City Power Covid-19 stats:
Positive cases: 30
The Joburg Water head office and its adjacent office building, Swiss House, which houses the mini call centre, as well as the Randburg depot, were closed on Monday, July 7, due to positive Covid-19 cases from employees who work in these buildings.
Joburg Water is currently in the process of deep-cleaning the sites and tracing those who have been in direct contact of the infected individuals.
Customers are requested to make use of the CoJ 24-hour customer care line on 086 056 2874, to report issues pertaining to water and sewer infrastructure in the interim.
Joburg Water will open the closed sites as soon as it is possible and safe to do so.
We urge all residents to be patient as we navigate the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic together. Joburg Water remains committed to delivering services to the residents of the City of Johannesburg.
As a direct result of these developments, all depots will be operating at 60% capacity due to staff being in self-quarantine. These developments will further have an impact on service delivery, although Joburg Water is working with the remaining resources to address infrastructure problems as they occur.
Joburg Water Covid-19 stats:
Positive cases: 82
Pikitup, the waste management company of the City of Johannesburg has recently been delivering inconsistent waste collection service to the residents due to the negative impact of Covid-19 on its operations. Four (4) Pikitup depots have been shut down in less than a month, with Roodepoort depot being the hardest hit with 51 positive cases of Covid-19 as at Monday, 6 July 2020. The other three depots that have been shut down due to Covid-19 positive cases are Marlboro, Orange Farm and Central Camp in Diepkloof.
The Roodepoort depot is set to reopen today, 07 July 2020. It was initially planned to close for 14 days. However, the staff members who tested negative for Covid-19 are resuming work today, following extensive cleansing and sanitizing of the premises. This is to enable operations to resume, even though capacity is still affected by those who are infected and unable to resume work.
As of 6 July 2020, Pikitup has registered 97 Covid-19 positive cases, with 14 recoveries. This number increases the staff shortage further as those in close contact with the infected have to be quarantined for the mandatory period of 14 days, bringing staff shortages to hundreds in numbers. The impact on service delivery has been immensely felt by residents. Residents across the City have been subjected to intermittent waste collection service as a result.
It is against this backdrop that the MMC is pleading for patience and understanding from residents. The MMC also wishes to assure residents that Pikitup is doing everything possible to ensure that waste collection service is normalized during this difficult period.
Pikitup’s operational plan to mitigate the impact of the virus on service delivery include the deployment of augmented services. In some instances, communities continue to experience delays because these private service providers do not know the routes and at times miss some of the streets. Comprehensive catch-up plans are devised by each depot to ensure that once full capacity is restored, the backlogs are attended to as a matter of urgency. Such plans have been communicated with councillors in the various areas. This includes, amongst other things, extending operations through
augmented services (where necessary) as well as increasing the frequency of the rounds by the various depots.
Pikitup continuously encourages all employees to adhere to the health protocols of maintaining social distancing, wearing face masks and washing or sanitizing of hands.
Pikitup is doing all it can to ensure that employees are protected and supported during these trying times. Our prayers and sympathies go to all the affected and infected employees and their families. Unfortunately, it is a difficult balancing act to try and save the lives of employees while at the same time trying to ensure efficient service delivery. It is based on the aforesaid that Piktup is appealing for understanding and patience from residents.
Residents are encouraged, where possible, to dispose of their uncollected waste at Pikitup’s integrated waste management facilities situated in all the seven regions of the City.
Pikitup Covid-19 stats:
Positive cases: 97
The above figure excludes a total of 7 contract workers who tested Covid-19 positive.