Pretoria – With South Africa working towards creating five million jobs by 2020, towns and cities around the country are cleaning up their act and generating employment opportunities at the same time.
Spearheaded by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), the ‘Clean Cities and Towns’ initiative is aiming to produce thousands of green jobs and reduce levels of unemployment in the country’s poorer communities.
The project was taken to Witzenberg in the Western Cape on Thursday by Cogta Deputy Minister Yunus Carrim, who is optimistic about its job creation capabilities.
Witzenberg has been identified as a Presidential Poverty Node and a target of the War on Poverty campaign.
“The programme is also being facilitated through the Community Work Programme, which has created over 80 000 employment opportunities nationally.
“We hope to contribute to creating jobs in the local community. In the past few months, the programme has created over 200 jobs and we hope to increase this in the months ahead.
“Government’s New Growth Path sees green jobs as one of the five major areas of employment. We are working to, over time, create 35 000 indirect jobs from recycling waste,” he said.
The Community Work Programme has made inroads in Johannesburg, Komatipoort in Mpumalanga, and Mbashe and Mthatha in the Eastern Cape. Cogta is hoping to roll out the programme in all municipalities in the Western Cape.
To help Witzenberg stay clean, the department will deliver 300 concrete cement bins to town.
“Communities are encouraged not to litter, but to use these bins to ensure that our environment is kept clean for us and our future generations,” said Carrim.
The aim of the ‘Clean Cities and Towns’ programme is to turn open spaces into parks, plant trees to promote a green environment and improve conditions municipalities.
“The programme brings opportunities for your open spaces to be kept clean. We are here to help you to beautify your spaces and take ownership of your environment,” said the deputy minister.
He encouraged communities to conduct clean up campaigns to keep their environment clean, promote environmental education and recycling.
The goal is to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill sites, as they are a major source of harmful gases that get released into the atmosphere.
The programme also supports the provision of basic services to poor communities. Where there are broken sewerage pipes or leaking taps in the streets, the programme works with stakeholders like the Rand Water and the Department of Water and Environment Affairs to fix the broken pipes.
By Nthambeleni Gabara, BuaNews