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Deputy Minister Ms. Barbara Thomson led a successful clean-up campaign during the Nelson Mandela Day

18 July 2014


The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms. Barbara Thomson today, 18 July 2014, led a clean-up campaign for International Mandela Day in Pietermaritzburg, KwaZulu–Natal which focused on waste collection, separation at source which resulted in diversion of waste from landfill.

President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address announced that this year Mandela Day would be celebrated by South Africans by dedicating at least 67 minutes of their time to undertake community services across the country. President Zuma said: “Let us begin planning for a major clean-up of our cities, town, township, villages, schools and beautify every part of our country”.

In memory of the world’s iconic hero, on 18 July, South Africa celebrates former president Nelson Mandela's birthday which has been declared by the United Nations as International Mandela day. This provides people with the opportunity to make an imprint in transforming the world. Therefore, 2014 is particularly symbolic as we work to honour a great South African statesman and make every day a Mandela Day as we mark South Africa’s 20 years of democratic freedom.                              

Every year, on Nelson Mandela's birthday, South Africans are urged to contribute at least 67 minutes of their time towards community service. This campaign is intended to admire Madiba's legacy of commitment and service to the country and humanity (focusing on addressing, international democracy, reconciliation, promoting human rights and conflict resolution).

The Department of Environmental Affairs supports uMsunduzi Local Municipality with key programmes namely the Wastepreneur and Jobs in Waste for Youth programmeswhich focuses on job creation within the waste section, youth unemployment, waste collection, separation, recycling and skills development within the context of the Green Economy. The two programmes are funded through the National Green Fund and The Environmental Programmes under the Expanded Public Works Programme, respectively.

The Wastepreneur programme is funded for an amount of approximately sixty two million rands (R62 Million) to facilitate community collection of recyclable materials and exchange them for either credit notes, or barter items such as bicycles, building materials and other livelihood support items of their choice. Currently, the barter value stands at an amount of R3 731 973.  To date, the programme is working with 90 schools, 11 charities and expands across 83 communities which provides livelihoods support for 5 218 wasteprenuers. Thus far, a total of 7 686 438 kg’s of recyclables have been collected and recycled.

Furthermore, a total budget of R64 000 000 has been committed towards the implementation of the Jobs in Waste for Youth programmewhich is being implemented over a period of 12 months. The target group for the programme is the youth with at least a matric level of education. Further work opportunities will be created from the construction activities associated with the building and erection of landfill site offices, ablution facilities as well as weigh-pad platforms at landfill sites across the country.  As a success story, currently the Department has created a total of 772 jobs through the Jobs in Waste for Youth programme in KwaZulu-Natal in 50 municipalities of which 454 jobs are allocated to women.

Through the Bi-national Agreement signed between the Governments of South Africa and Germany which was signed in May 2012, one of the initiatives indicated in the Bi-national Agreement, was the transfer of the Advanced Integrated Solid Waste Management Programme (AISWM). The initiative intends to accelerate the improvement of AISWM programme in municipalities through sustainable operations of AISWM systems, which will invariably contribute to climate protection, environmentally sound local development as well as lead to the improvement of living conditions of the people within two pilot municipalities.  Over and above the existing initiatives mentioned earlier, within the uMsunduzi Local Municipality, the department has also partnered with the district, UMgungundlovu District Municipality (UMDM) on the AISWM programme.

“The waste sector has been identified as one of the critical sectors, with the potential to contribute substantially to the generation of jobs within the green economy. It is within this context that the Department of Environmental Affairs is increasingly expanding its programmes in job creation and enterprise development within the Waste sector.”, said  Deputy Minister Barbara Thompson, when addressing the participants at the clean-up campaign during the Nelson Mandela Day Celebration.

The Department of Environmental Affairs has conducted numerous studies that have clearly illustrated the capacity constraints that are experienced by Municipalities, in delivering waste services.  Municipalities face major challenges inclusive of landfill operations, waste collection planning and administration, separation at source and refuse collection.

Deputy Minister further reiterated the significant contributions of the complementarity between the various programmes, namely Green Fund and the “Working For” Programmes (working on waste, working for wetlands and working for water) in promoting environmental integrity. The Minister, through Jobs in Waste for Youth programme will also be donating a set of recycling bins to an identified school in Eastwood.

The project developer of the wasteprenuer programme, Wildlands Conservation Trust, played a pivotal role in mobilising partnerships within the uMsunduzi Local Municipality which included Drakewoods, E-Waste Africa, Event Medical Services and Singhs Construction.

The Department of Environmental Affairs welcomed the patronage and support demonstrated by the partners in making the event a success and in the spirit of celebrating International Mandela Day.

In Making a Clean South Africa a Collective Effort, The Department of Environmental Affairs spearheaded the clean-up activities across the country, which facilitated in raising awareness on anti- littering, separation of waste at source, reuse, recycle, and recover.

For media queries, contact:

Harry Masenya (MLO for the Deputy Minister)
Cell: 0713602892