In an effort to foster environmental awareness and community involvement, the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT) partnered with the Mhlontlo Local Municipality, the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), and the OR Tambo District Municipality to conduct a Provincial clean-up campaign under the theme “Embodying Unity To Learn, Plan, and Inspire One Another” at Ntibane Community Hall on 17 October 2023.
The event aimed to bring together the local community to address waste-related issues, encourage collaboration and empower the community to actively participate in waste management and recycling efforts. The ultimate goal is to create a cleaner, healthier environment by involving the community in the waste economy, which can help alleviate poverty and reduce crime.
The event saw the attendance of approximately 250 community members and kicked off with a series of activities, including the cleaning of illegal dumpsites and the planting of around 80 trees.
Nontyatyambo Gcika, representing Hon MEC Mlungisi Mvoko, expressed the importance of spreading the message of environmental protection and promotion, encouraging learners to become ambassadors for this cause in their communities and homes. She also emphasised the value of participating in school environmental and green municipality competitions, both coordinated by the department.
Earlier in the programme, Chief Mditshwa A Nokuphumla extended a warm welcome to all the attendees and expressed her gratitude for their presence at the event. Councillor Mvamashe from Mhlontlo Local Municipality highlighted the event’s purpose and urged the community to take responsibility for keeping their town clean and, in particular, to refrain from littering, bemoaning the serious challenge of discarded diapers in South Africa.
The OR Tambo District Municipality, the Department of Education, and DFFE expressed their support for the initiative and pledged to assist individuals interested in forming waste collection groups and promoting recycling to boost the local economy. They offered to help with waste collection and exportation, with the Chief agreeing to provide land for the operation.