Kariba Hires Casual Workers As Covid-19 Paralyses Garbage Collection Crew

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By James Muonwa, Mashonaland West Correspondent

KARIBA Municipality has resorted to hiring contract workers to undertake refuse collection in the resort town after some permanent crew members recently tested positive for Covid-19.

Acting town clerk Godfrey Magijani told Tuesday the local authority’s refuse collection team had been ordered to undergo tests and self-isolate after a compactor driver tested positive for coronavirus.

“Yes, it’s true our two gangs and the drivers have been affected and had to enlist contract workers and brought back a retired driver.

“Each refuse gang has five people so for the two gangs we are talking of 10 people,” said Magijani.

He added, “All the affected and their contacts are isolating at home while the refuse truck is regularly fumigated. We have engaged contract employees to ensure collection is not disrupted.”

Mayor George Masendu said despite the Covid-19 burden, council had managed to continue fulfilling its service delivery mandate, including garbage collection.

“There was no disruption in the refuse collection schedule due to the development that saw the crew members testing positive for Covid-19 which resulted in council sending all of them home to allow monitoring of their Covid-19 status.

“We quickly engaged contractors who are holding fort and the service delivery situation is normal,” said Masendu.

Dickson Siapundu, chairperson of Kariba Incorporated Area Residents and Ratepayers Association hailed council for keeping the pledge to provide services in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic challenges.

“Despite the pandemic, the collection is going on I have seen a number of new guys doing the garbage collection, which is commendable,” said Siapundu.

The renewed localised lockdown has affected ward-based weekly clean-up campaigns, though erratic, aimed at sprucing up the local environment.

As a precautionary measure to curtail the further spread of the pandemic among council staff, all meetings are now held virtually and manning levels have been reduced to 30%, the acting town clerk added.

Kariba district, along with Hurungwe and Makonde, have been declared Covid-19 hotspots where visitors are banned until the situation returns to normal.