DEDEAT empowers cooperative with bailing machine on Wetlands Day

To support sustainable waste management, the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs, and Tourism (DEDEAT), led by its MEC Mlungisi Mvoko, handed over a R750,000 bailing machine to a cooperative, Mathang’emvelo Recycling, predominantly led by women and persons with disabilities in Emalahleni Local Municipality.

The event coincided with Provincial Wetlands Day, which aimed to commemorate provincial wetlands day, raise awareness about its importance and promote healthy wetlands for the benefit of the community and biodiversity among others. 

During the handing-over session, MEC Mvoko highlighted the importance of the bailing machine, a Greenest Municipality Awards (GMA) legacy project, in growing the cooperative and enhancing waste management.

The GMA is a collaborative effort with EC Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, the Office of the Premier, the South African Local Government Association, and municipalities seeking to enhance the impact of cleaning and greening municipal areas. During GMA adjudication, projects positively impacting waste management, diverting waste from landfills and creating jobs were identified, Mathang’emvelo Recycling is among these projects.

Nomazulu Mthwa, representing the cooperative, expressed gratitude for the bailing machine, stating that it would significantly increase the weight of collected waste, consequently raising its financial value. She thanked DEDEAT for the equipment, foreseeing improved profit margins, expanded operations, and increased job opportunities for marginalised groups.

Speaking at the main event, MEC Mvoko underlined the critical role of wetlands in water purification, water supply recharge, flood risk reduction, and habitat provision for fish and wildlife. He emphasised the additional benefits of wetlands, such as recreation, aesthetics, research, education and commercial fishery.

The day’s activities included a political briefing at the Emalahleni Municipality chambers, the bailing machine handover at the stadium, tree planting and Provincial Wetlands Day celebrations at the Mtsheko Community Hall.

The day’s activities align with DEDEAT’s commitment to sustainable environmental practices and community empowerment. They also align with the provincial government’s heightened efforts to deal with climate change triggers to mitigate against the devastating effects recently experienced in some parts of the province. Ineffective waste management contributes to climate change through greenhouse gas emissions from landfills, exacerbating environmental degradation and extreme weather events.

In this programme, the Department has collaborated with the Department of Forestry, Fisheries and Environment (DFFE), its agency, Working for Fire, Chris Hani District Municipality (CHDM) and Emalahleni local municipality.