Waste-picker co-operatives, which were promised three-wheeler “kariki” motorbikes, have seen no delivery on the promise — despite a R26-million payout in a questionable contract.
But the Gauteng department of agriculture and rural development insists it is holding on to the karikis, stored at the Enviro Mobi workshop in Krugersdorp, because “waste pickers do not have secure storage”.
It also said that it had not handed over the karikis because the waste pickers had not obtained licences.
But waste pickers, who represent 15 co-operatives in the Ekurhuleni municipality, argue that they have the capacity to store the karikis and have been waiting to be taken for licence testing.
“They are toying with us because we completed our learners’ [licences] last year, but we have not been taken for any further training … There are plenty of places where we can store these scooters, but when we ask questions we are told the scooters will be delivered,” said Suzan Kubheka from Intleindaloyakhe Waste Co-operative in Daveyton.
Duduzile Mchunu of the Lakhwisha Waste Co-operative in Vosloorus, which employs about 10 people, said they were told in May that Gauteng agriculture MEC Lebogang Maile would be handing over the karikis at an Enviro Mobi function.
“When they say it is a handover you are thinking that finally this [kariki] is coming to me,” said Mchunu, “only to find out when we get there we were getting our learner’s licences back. So, the handover was [giving] them back to us and they said they’d deliver the bikes two days later.”
The Gauteng agriculture department’s head of communication, Roleta Lebelo, said the May 30 function was for Maile to showcase the karikis. “[He] showcased the 200 vehicles after your reports claimed that they did not exist … Releasing the vehicles to waste pickers who have no secure storage is wasteful expenditure.”
Despite the contract being referred to the Special Investigations Unit by Gauteng Premier David Makhura for investigation because of allegations of financial irregularities, Lebelo said there was no intention to recoup monies paid to Enviro Mobi.
Tinyiko Mahuntsi, director of Enviro Mobi — the company contracted to provide the karikis — did not respond to requests for comment.