Plan to divert funds to pay Bay litter pickers

The pay increase given to litter pickers in Nelson Mandela Bay is draining the budget, with the municipality now having to move money from the budget for cooperatives to continue paying them until June.

In February, the mayoral committee resolved that litter-pickers be paid the same stipend as extended public works programme workers, without necessarily reducing the number of pickers.

The municipality pays 1 152 litter pickers to clean some of the major routes in the metro.

According to a report to the public health portfolio committee, which met yesterday, the municipality simply does not have the staff to take over the litter picking programme, nor does it have the budget to continue paying them.

With its budget for litter picking almost depleted, the department wants to move R11-million from the community cooperatives budget to sustain the project until June.

The report states that the community cooperatives project would not be implemented in the current financial year, thus the money would not all be used anyway.

The proposal was approved by the portfolio committee.

However, it would need the full council’s approval before it is implemented.

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