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Deputy Minister Thomson leads a clean-up campaign and community outreach in Emalahleni Local Municipality

08 May 2015


The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Ms Barbara Thomson, accompanied by the leadership of the eMalahleni Local Municipality, today, 8 May 2015, led a clean-up campaign and a community outreach in the eMalahleni area, Mpumalanga. The visit forms part of government’s stakeholder engagement following the recent attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa.

It is through this community engagement and a clean-up campaign that the Department of Environmental Affairs continues to carry its Constitutional mandate of ensuring a clean environment that is not harmful to the health and well-being of the people. The campaign is also a continued response to President Jacob Zuma’s call during his June 2014 State of the National Address that all South Africans should dedicate time for clean-ups to ensure we live in a safe, healthy and environmentally friendly country.

Addressing approximately 1 000 community members at the Empumelelweni Sports ground, Deputy Minister Thomson expressed concern about the environmental cleanliness of eMalahleni. “This is largely because of illegal dumping of solid waste, pollution of the atmosphere through emissions of carbon dioxide emanating from the adjacent mining activities’ and other activities such burning of coal for domestic use,” she said.

The consequences of illegal dumping of waste and air pollution are dire. These can cause a very serious health hazard for the people. In this light, the Deputy Minister urged the people of eMalahleni to make every effort to protect individuals’ right to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being.

In a bid to improve the eMalahleni Local Municipality’s environment and compliance to various environmental legislation, the Department of Environmental Affairs is exploring implementation of Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme (EPIP) initiatives. These initiatives will take place through the Department’s Working on Waste, Working on Land, People and Parks, Wildlife Economy, Youth Environmental Services, and Greening and Open Space Management Programmes.

Cleaning up the environment not only creates a more pleasant place to live, but also creates a good impression on prospective employers, investors, professionals, and tourists.  Communities are therefore encouraged to uphold the principles of reducing, recycling and re-using waste. Upholding these principles not only helps to combat serious environmental problems such as climate change, but could also create treasure from trash and turn waste into wealth.

The Deputy Minister also used the community engagement opportunity to reiterate Government’s condemnation of recent violent attacks on foreign nationals, saying that every effort is being made to prevent this situation recurring.

For media queries, contact:

Duncan Senye
Cell: 082 604 7055