Minister and Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs to lead International Nelson Mandela Day celebrations in the Free State and Gauteng

10 July 2015


The Minister and Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs will be leading the department’s commemorations of International Nelson Mandela Day in honour of former statesman and the late President of South Africa Nelson Mandela, on Wednesday, 15 July 2015. Government is calling on South Africans to support Nelson Mandela Month through participation in activities under the theme:  Take Action - Inspire Change - Make Every Day a Mandela Day”.

The theme encourages all South Africans to take responsibility to change attitudes and to ensure peaceful co-existence within communities. As ambassadors of environmental awareness, the Department of Environmental Affairs is mandated to give effect to the Constitutional right of citizens to an environment that is not harmful to their health or wellbeing; to have the environment protected for the benefit of present and future generations; and to create a prosperous and equitable society living in harmony with our natural resources and the environment.

The annual international day of humanitarian action in celebration of Nelson Mandela’s life and legacy was started in 2008 to encourage individuals to change the world through voluntary community work. The United Nations declared the 18th of July Nelson Mandela International Day in 2008.

On the 15th of July Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa, will embark on a clean-up campaign in Soshanguve, Gauteng. The Minister will be leading a waste management awareness campaign in line with the four pillars of Mandela Day:

  • Promoting environmental education and awareness to the communities.
  • Minimising adverse social and environmental impacts related to waste management;
  • Creating sustainable employment through local entrepreneur development in waste recycling partnerships; and
  • Creating awareness about waste management issues within the community and thereby empower communities to take responsibility for the cleanliness of their surrounding environment.

Litter and illegal dumping have become not only a common, but also a serious concern, for many communities in South Africa.  Not only is waste a health hazard, but ineffective waste management practices have a negative impact on the well-being of affected communities and exacerbate environmental degradation. An effective awareness campaign was therefore identified as a means of intervention in an effort to change attitudes and mind-sets.

The Department of Environmental Affairs has committed itself to deliver on specific targets related to waste management. Working on Waste is one of the initiatives by the department implemented through Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programmes (EPIP) under the auspices of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP).

The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson will lead a community outreach and engagement initiative on severe weather and climate change in Memel in the Free State on 15 July 2015. The Deputy Minister will utilise the 67 minutes by planting a vegetable.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS), through the New Partnership for African Development (NEPAD), has embarked on a project to inform and educate extension agents, farmers and other users about the effects of climate change on agricultural activities.

The project aims to capacitate extension officers and farmers by providing agro-meteorological information that will enable them to effectively and efficiently mitigate the effects of climate change on agriculture. The project will focus on farmers in KwaZulu-Natal and the Free State as they are most seriously affected by weather patterns and climate change.

The project supports activities such as provision of as food parcels, establishment of food gardens and feeding schemes which will ensure long term food security. Provincial departments supporting the initiative will be encouraged to donate agricultural equipment to the project.

Both events are open to media

Minister of Environmental Affairs, Mrs Edna Molewa

Date:    Wednesday, 15 July 2015 [Event postponed]

Time:   09:00

Venue: Falala Hall
             Soshanguve, Block F

Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms Barbara Thomson

Date:    Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Time:   09:00

Venue:  Esizibeni Senior Secondary School
              Free State


Lebo Maseko
Tel: 012 399 8992

Marisa Burger
Tel: 012 399 9987

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Tel: 012 399 9989

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