WATCH | 'I'm not struggling, I am surviving': waste pickers in lockdown

28 April 2020 - 14:04 By Deepa Kesa

They carry out one of SA's most important services — collecting recyclables that would otherwise swell the country's rubbish dumps and burden municipal trash collection — but the lockdown has left thousands of waste pickers jobless.

Simphiwe, a waste picker from Hillbrow, said that the lockdown has forced him to go for days without food. This has made him start thinking of other ways to make money, including turning to crime, which is not what he wants to do.

Another waste picker said that going between three and four days with no food during the lockdown has become normal for him. He just drinks water to stay alive and hopes that someone will spare him loose change or something to eat.

Despite being so desperate for food, he refuses to turn to crime.

Many businesses, NGOs, volunteers and charities have dedicated their time, effort and funds during lockdown to help SA's waste pickers get back on their feet.