Public Safety MMC Michael Sun has slammed the protesters who have prevented Pikitup workers from doing their jobs.

He said while they respected the public’s right to protest, it was unacceptable that such protests were conducted in an unlawful and violent manner.

“The Joburg Metro Police have been given a directive that any criminal attempting to hold the city ransom by disrupting service delivery will be arrested,” said Sun.

Pikitup spokesman Muzi Mkhwanazi said JMPD was roped in to help them resume rubbish collection in Midrand and Soweto.

The JMPD will send cops to all depots to maintain peace and order. They will also escort trucks and staff. He said they had also opened a criminal case with the SAPS.

Nico de Jager, MMC for infrastructure and environment, advised residents to dispose of their waste in Pikitup garden sites until the situation calmed down.

Hostel dwellers in Soweto were demanding Pikitup give them permanent jobs. They burned a rubbish truck and stoned another.

They also damaged depots and intimidated workers. However, Joburg mayor Herman Mashaba said the disruptions were politically motivated. He said they had been informed that former temporary contract workers were told to cause instability in the city.

“For political forces to exploit this tragic situation for their narrow political ends is sinking to new depths of moral bankruptcy.”

He said Pikitup had a court order against any disruptions at their premises or operations. He apologised for the disruptions.