Driving Force for Change winners' profiles

        Green Economy for Sustainable Development Evidence Framework  
Waste Management Solutions
Biodiversity and Ecosystems
Climate Change Adaptation
Climate Change Mitigation



Young innovators with their certificates of achievements with Minister Creecy and other partners after being awarded their R100 000 checques each.

A total of R1, 3 million has been awarded to selected youth projects to implement ideas that will support young innovators and entrepreneurs to create a more environmentally friendly economy and society. The Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries, Ms Barbara Creecy announced the 13 successful projects for the Driving Force for Change Initiative on 26 November 2020, at the South African National Biodiversity Institute.

Minister Creecy stated that the initiative was announced on Youth Day, responding to President Ramaphosa’s challenge to South Africa’s youth challenge to craft and design programmes that will make the country reach its developmental goals and address the unemployment crisis. “The country’s economic recovery plan lays the policy basis to open new sectors of the economy. What we need from our young entrepreneurs is creativity, innovation and the ability to think outside of the box,” explained Minister Creecy.

The Minister further elaborated that the Driver’s for Change Youth Initiative intends to translate concepts into bankable business ideas, to explore unchartered territories through research and development; to incubate and nurture innovation and technology, to equip our Youth with the necessary skills sets and capacity, so that their projects have a positive impact on the environment.

In the Department’s search for innovators, it received over 250 applications. A total of 10 finalists is supported through the Department. In addition, the Department, secured an amount of R300 000 from the British High Commission, which enabled the Department to support an additional three applicants, bringing the total number of finalists to 13. Each finalist received R100 000 for their projects.

The finalists were chosen under four themes: Climate Change Adaptation, Climate Change Mitigation, Biodiversity and ecosystems and Waste Management Solutions. The following are the successful finalists and the the relevant projects within each of the 4 thematic areas:


Waste Management Solutions

Mr Neo Pule: Waste

Zero to Waste is motivated and driven to positively impact the environment. The project proposal is focused on basic separation at source and inclusive of alternative advanced waste management solutions (organic waste for composting, waste to energy, etc.)

The company aims to have a social impact on communities that will shift their perspective in valuing waste as an unearthed revenue.

Mr Chad Robertson: Regenize

Regenize is an accessible, inclusive and rewarding recycling solution. Beneficiaries will be provided access to a free recycling collection services where they can learn about recycling and get rewarded with a virtual currency called Remali, which can be used to purchase groceries, airtime or data.

Regenize also setup decentralised recycling hubs where the collectors can transfer and sort waste, creating more time to collect and less time travelling.

Mr Seth Mulli: Youth Bridge Trust

The Youth Bridge Trust has identified the Green Economy as a high potential sector for empowering at risk youth. The goal of the project is to create green jobs and eco entrepreneurial opportunities.

The objectives of the project are to: equip 180 youth with new skills, confidence to identify and seize opportunities to monetise waste streams and to build the capacity of youth-led implementation within communities.

Mr Boingotlo Tshabang: Plastic waste

Mr Boingotlo Tshabang proposed a project to thermally decompose plastic waste under anaerobic conditions using a process called pyrolysis. The resultant fuel oil – for uptake by industries (steel and iron factories, ceramics or chemical industries or hotels and restaurants). The char can be used as a gas adsorbent and can be used to capture carbon dioxide in industrial process and in the purification of water.




Biodiversity and Ecosystems 

Mr Francois du Toit: African Conservation Trust

African Conservation Trust is a Non-Profit Organisation that was established in 2000. Whilst contributing towards conserving South Africa’s environment and heritage, the aim of the project is to foster resilient livelihoods of communities through engagement with youth.

The Project also aims to build new capacities to seize opportunities in the local game meat market to contribute to socio-economic development.

Ms Sheraine van Wyk: Whale Coast Conservation

The Mill stream project is implemented by the Whale Coast Conservation. The project focuses on the youth as recipients of capacity building, environmental education, and practical learning while doing work to clear the river watercourses and restore affected wetlands. 

The project envisages instilling sense of pride in the youth involved, and in exposing them to perform tour-guide duties to promote environmental health.

Ms Teresa Boulle: Amava Oluntu

Amava Oluntu is a Non-Profit Organisation focusing on Skills Development and Youth Education. Amava Oluntu and Ingcungcu aim to close the gap and offer an accessible platform to Fynbos conservation, through skills development, entrepreneurial opportunities for youth and community engagement.

‘Fancy Fynbos’ stimulates entrepreneurial development and youth employability by focusing on innovative and sustainable designs on Fynbos.



Climate Change Adaptation

Mr Jonathan Levin

AMr Levin’s project focuses on promoting river health in the areas surrounding the Braamfontein Spruit.

The project aims to share information and to involve stakeholders and the public in monitoring river health. The affected communities will be actively engaged in the project as Community awareness is key.

Ms Sarah Reeves: Youth Health Africa

The Youth Health Africa NPC looks at implementing modern farming techniques through the establishment of aquaponic units in a select number of communities. The project will also undertake social outreach activities related to the promotion of good health and nutrition, as good nutrition is key for wholesome communities.

Challenges faced by the organisation on an ongoing basis include: food insecurity, youth unemployment and sustainable income generation.

Mr Khahliso Lefatsa: Mbekewni Eco Club

The Mbekweni Eco Club is a Non-Profit Organisation.

The vision of the Eco-club is to improve water quality of the Berg River and Biodiversity conservation. The Club also facilitates environmental education and awareness in the Mbekweni Township and adjacent informal settlements within the Cape Winelands District Municipality.



Climate Change Mitigation 


Mr Lebogang Leshabane: BG-Co

Mr Lebogang Leshabane is the founder and owner of BG Co.

The project intends on implementing a purification system and a simultaneous energy production system. The aim of the project is waste water treatment works. The objective is to capture the Methane Gas produced and to repurpose it as renewable energy.

Mr Hollo Matlala: 4th Element Group

The 4th Element Group is a company founded by Mr Hollo Matlala. The company is focused on providing innovative solutions in the energy and water sectors.

The company also seeks to generate energy conservation data and to promote the uptake of solar systems. This will be achieved through the provision of maintenance free decentralised electricity generating systems.

Mr Abongile Nkqayi: Ma-Afrika Energy Group

The Ma Africa Energy Group is committed to finding a practical solution for the high volume of wood waste generated by medium sized saw mills and furniture manufacturers in South Africa. Landfilled organic materials produce methane, a greenhouse gas that is 20 times more harmful than carbon dioxide.

The Start-up company proposes the use of Proudly South African gasification technology in processing waste-wood into a sustainable energy source.