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Local community members are pitching in to help City Parks and MTN build a multi-functional park, complete with lawns and play areas.
A TEAM of green-fingered volunteers from City Parks, MTN South Africa and community members is working around the clock to convert a piece of land in Mongameli, in Ivory Park, into a colourful multi-functional park.


MTN and City parks stuff get busyMTN and City Parks staff get busyArmed with spades and wheelbarrows, the participants braved the chilly weather and broke into groups to revamp the piece of land and plant 200 trees on Wednesday, 1 June.

When it is finished, the R2,2-million project will include custom designed fencing, landscaped lawns, new generation playgrounds, a sun dial, mural feature walls with an information black board, seating areas with indigenous games, a recycling centre and an upgraded soccer field.

The project is expected to be complete in 21 days, after which it will be handed over to the community.

City Parks’ chairperson, Maropeng Bahula, said community involvement would go a long way in developing a sense of ownership of public spaces and further help in containing dumping, littering and vandalism.

“Recreational parks play an important role in balancing physical development with the need of a lovely and peaceful life,” said Bahula, adding that it was the community’s responsibility to nurture the facility and keep it clean.

Ward 79 councillor, Petros Zitha, thanked the MTN SA Foundation and City Parks for helping to transform a neglected open space into a park. “The City strives to maintain and promote the spreading of green areas in Ivory Park,” said Zitha.

MTN’s involvement is through its 21 Days of Y'ello Care initiative. Robert Madzonga, the chief corporate service officer at MTN South Africa, said the 21 Days of Y'ello Care was a volunteering project that enabled its employees to help those less fortunate.

“21 Days of Y'ello Care complements the sterling work that has been done by the MTN Foundation in the fields of education, health, entrepreneurship, arts and culture.”


Ivory Park residents help transformIvory Park residents lend a helping handMadzonga implored the community to take ownership of the park and guard the legacy for their children. “The carbon lungs that the trees will provide will go a long way towards preserving the environment and providing much-needed shade from the unrelenting sun.”

During the ceremony, students from Ivory Park Primary School performed traditional Tsonga dances for the crowd who had gathered to help.

The head of the MTN Foundation, Eunice Maluleke, said the focus of 21 Days of Y'ello Care would be on the preservation of the environment. “MTN operations in all the 21 countries including South Africa will embark on a campaign to plant 21 000 trees all over.”

After the speeches, Madzonga and Bahula exchanged T-shirts to cement their partnership, before they planted a tree.

David Makhukule, an Ivory Park resident, welcomed the initiative, which offered the local community a place for leisure and recreation. “This is the first time to see MTN helping us,” said Makhukule. “A lot of our youth who are not employed will benefit from the project.”

About 30 people from the local community have been employed to help with the project. Once the park is finished, 25 people will be employed to maintain it.

To prevent vandalism, Makhukule said they would form a committee to monitor the facility. “As a community, we will look after the park because it belongs to us,” he added.

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