I’m still not making any progress on our trash problem, but at least am learning something about the City of Johannesburg and its bureaucracy in the process. The problem is that I still don’t know our account number, and none of my calls to a) the owner’s daughter who promised we could call her anytime, which is easier than calling her father, who lives in Australia, b) our relocation company that’s supposed to be setting everything up for us so it goes smoothly – ha! – or c) the real estate agent representing the owner are being returned. So this morning I decided to call Piki Tup (that’s what they’re called) myself. Again, I was told that without an account number they couldn’t do anything. When I described our problem of just having moved here and renting from somebody else, I was given a new number to call, which I called, listened to the voice mail options, pressed ‘4’ for Pikitup, and promptly landed back where I was with my first call. No no, don’t press anything, they told me, just wait for the agent. So I called again and waited. While I waited I was idly squashing ants in my path, dozens of them. They’re just walking through our house at will. I made a mental note right then that I’d call pest control and order up whatever it was that’ll take care of our ants, extortionist prices notwithstanding. Yes I’ve put up traps and have drawn chalk marks all over the place, and bottles of ant killer are at the ready on every floor, but it is still a losing battle.
But I’m digressing. I was finally, small miracle, put through to a City of Johannesburg agent that seemed a little bit more knowledgeable. But even she couldn’t solve my problem and insisted that I had to go through the owner of our house, because he alone could order a new dustbin for us. As a renter, we just can’t. At least now I know. She even tried to find the owner’s account number, but then insisted that the name I gave her was no longer our owner, that instead our house was sold to Coca-Cola in 2008. There you have it.
I think my best course of action is to stake out the trash men every Tuesday and keep giving them R5 and some water to drink like I did last week, so they’ll continue to pick up our trash without it residing in the proper bin.
Do you want to hear about my Telkom phone story next?