Why are those bags so rubbish?

Why are those bags so rubbish?

Why are Durban homeowners being saddled with black refuse bags which are poor quality to the point of ripping and/or the wrong size?  Wendy Knowler tried to find out.

rubbish overflowing pixabay

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Politics and gender issues aside, I wanted to know what the municipality is doing about poor quality refuse bags, and why are homeowners being told to go to their nearest DSW Cleansing and Solid Waste depot to exchange their dodgy pack for another one.

What if the replacement is just as bad?

We, homeowners, are being charged for those bags as part of our cleansing and solid waste billing. How much, the bill doesn’t say.

How about we source  own black bags until the municipality sorts out the problem, and until then, they don’t charge us for their black bags they can ensure a fit-for-purpose supply to residents?

I put all of that to the head of Durban Solid Waste, Raymond Rampersad.

Here’s his response:

"DSW is responsible for the collection of refuse and also responsible for the delivery of refuse bags, the procurement of these refuse bags is the responsibility of our Supply Chain Management (SCM) unit. We provide them with the technical specifications and they procure them. They are also involved in the testing of these bags from time to time. 

"In the recent run of events, DSW received quite a few queries from residents with regards to the poor quality of bags. We then referred this to our SCM unit for further investigation.

"We did give options to our residents: poor quality bags should be returned to your nearest depot and where this is not possible, phone or e-mail the department so we can make arrangements for bags to collected and good bags are given

"I think this principle applies to any transaction we make when paying up for a service.

"To date, many residents have visited our depots.

"Your suggestion of people buying their own bags is a suggestion I would not support.

"Just look at the Pietermarizburg situation - residents buy their own bags and service delivery is at an all-time low.

"If people buy their bags, then there is a likelihood that the restriction of two bags per household will be difficult to uphold.

"There might be an increase in the generation of waste and also the monitoring of the waste stream becomes very difficult.I think you need to compare us with other municipalities in terms of the cost to ratepayers with regards to waste collection.

"For the new financial year, waste collection cost has been reduced from 9.9% to 6.4%. Also, take note that waste collection includes transportation and disposal costs."

So has the problem batch been identified and withdrawn from the distribution or not?  "I still don’t have the answer to that question, alas", says Rampersad.

"But I can tell you what Durban’s 950,000 households are charged per black bag by the municipality. According to Rampersad, it’s 96 cents."

Careful what you wish for - an online liquor retailer got more than they bargained for when alcohol sales resumed in Level 3

In last week’s show we focussed on online retailers, most of which are battling with a spike in orders and a restricted capacity to fulfil them, and then compounding the problem by failing to find ways to keep communicating with their customers.

Last week Norman Goodfellows announced that it was suspending sales until it could get on top of the massive number of orders which flooded in when the government announced that alcohol sales would resume on June 1.

Ntombizodwa D tweeted posted this on HelloPeter today:

“My order was placed on 26 May and I have not yet received it till this day. Each time I finally get ahold of them they give me different dates, they promised last week Thursday and that didn’t happen, when you send DMs in their Instagram the response is computer-generated, I’m not quite sure what to do after this. I’m even scared of asking for a refund because I might get my money this time in 2021.”

Dr Gail Ashford tweeted: “On order was placed in May. Finally delivered yesterday with less than half the actual order. No explanation, no notification, no apology.”

Malebo M on HelloPeter: “I ordered the end of May but to date I have not received my order and their contact numbers don't even work. They don’t even bother to keep you updated. I regret trying this, I should’ve just gone to the bottle store I want my money."

Norman Goodfellows CEO Charles Kramer is mortified - they’ve never experienced anything like this in 46 years of doing business.

Here’s what he shared with Consumerwatch:

*Online retail in SA has been propelled forward by 5 years as a result of Covid-19 and lockdown.  The online purchasing mentality has been irreversibly fast-tracked, particularly in the case of liquor as this was the slowest retail e-commerce category pre-lockdown

*We went from fewer than 100 orders a month to well over 10,000 orders in 10 days

*Our pre-COVID commitment to deliver within 2-3 days was always met

*We are humbled and grateful to receive so many orders but very uncomfortable in not being able to provide our high service levels and to so frustrate clients

*Our communications channels and logistics infrastructure were not geared for the overwhelming response

*We suspended sales because we realised that we need to be responsible for focusing our attention on the orders we had received.  It would be unfair to clients to take on more.

*Pre-lockdown we had two people on a switchboard, a  sales team of 10 people and an email address.  We have now scaled to a call centre of more than 20 people, which has improved response times. 

*Orders will be fulfilled by the end of June, or clients may choose a prompt (48 hour), no-quibble refund.

Also read: Online Retailers Feel The Heat

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