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Waste management company Pikitup has begun cleaning up the mess left by protesters who trashed parts of Hillbrow and Braamfontein in Johannesburg.

Protesters believed to be part of the abolished Jozi@Work initiative on Tuesday marched to Metro Centre‚ attacked shop stewards of the SA Municipal Workers Union and then went on a rampage‚ scattering waste on the surrounding roads.

Samwu shop steward Ester Mtatyana said:[tooltip id=”4500c2f113202943ff1ae30d00c9d4ac”] [/tooltip]“We were at the head office as shop stewards…When I arrived at Metro Centre‚ before I could even get inside‚ I was attacked by these people. They beat me up and I was saved by JMPD. They are accusing us of being involved in them not being employed by the city. They are also saying we are not legitimate shop stewards of Samwu.”

Jozi@Work was introduced by the ANC administration to link young people with job opportunities through partnerships with the private sector. But when Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba took over in 2016‚ he ended the initiative‚ arguing that it was benefiting the middle man.

In September last year‚ Pikitup was faced with similar protests from Jozi@Work beneficiaries‚ who demanded permanent employment in the city. The damage cost the city R50‚000 a day for the additional resources it had to use.

The mayor’s office told TimesLIVE that the city position on the Jozi@Work still stands.

“The Jozi@Work programme was a tool used to ensure political patronage‚ where ward councillors sat on panels and allocated job opportunities. This in itself was a flawed process‚ as councillors should not be allowed to interfere in the employment of workers in the City‚” Mashaba’s office said.

“Rather‚ the City has committed to introducing a new programme which will create fair and equal opportunities for all residents seeking employment. This new programme would replace the Jozi@Work platform. Indeed‚ Pikitup is planning to roll out a new community upliftment programme‚ and for the interim has introduced EPWP(Expanded Public Works Programme) to replace the former J@W programme. The EPWP programme is aimed at poverty alleviation where projects are tied to varying timelines.”

Efforts to get comment from the leaders of the Jozi@Work protests did not yield any results.

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