South Africa: Tshwane Waste Pickers 'Face Starvation' As Court Dismisses Their Plea for Lockdown Exemption


By shutting down their freedom of movement, hundreds of waste pickers who live in the City of Tshwane have also lost access to clean water, food and firewood. On 7 April 2020, the Pretoria High Court dismissed their application to be recognised as an essential service during the lockdown and be allowed to work.

On 7 April 2020, the Pretoria High Court dismissed an application by several groups of waste recyclers in the Tshwane area to be recognised as an essential service and be allowed to continue their activities during the lockdown - this despite a passionate plea by the groups that they have no water, no electricity, no firewood and were rapidly running out of food.

The application was brought by the Mushroomville Bagerezi (hustlers), Mooiplaas/Spruit Bagerezi, Clubview Bagerezi, Airfield Bagerezi and Kloofsig Bagerezi. They wanted the court to declare their recycling as an essential service that is exempted from regulations that are restricting movement on days that they are working.

In papers before court lawyers acting for the bagerezi, about 250 of them claimed they are faced with the real possibility of starvation if they are not allowed to carry on with their daily recycling and selling.


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