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Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo – the City of Johannesburg’s entity charged with the management of parks, cemeteries and the Johannesburg Zoo – has set aside more than R16 million for the implementation of several infrastructure and services projects under the Jozi@Work programme next year.
This was revealed at an end-of-the-year service delivery information sharing session for ward councillors hosted by Member of the Mayoral Committee for Community Development Councillor Chris Vondo recently.

Jozi@Work is a mayoral initiative aimed at empowering ordinary Johannesburg residents and creating thousands of job opportunities in response to the triple scourge of poverty, unemployment and inequality.

Some of the R16,35 million will be used under the horticulture and arboriculture Jozi@Work packages and on the implementation of projects such as the rejuvenation of the Westdene Dam, Princess Tailings and Mshenguvile, as well as the development of several new parks along the Corridors of Freedom.

The money is part of the Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo’s R166 million budget for the 2014-2015 financial year.

Other projects to be undertaken in 2015 include the building of 13 new parks, the continued development of the new Olifantsvlei Cemetery and the rejuvenation of the Johannesburg Zoo.

Said MMC Vondo: “As an entity, Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo has positively worked towards achieving the goals of the Joburg 2040 strategy. “Visible green change can be seen along the Corridors of Freedom as new parks are being developed and made available to the community, addressing and responding to fundamental issues such as poverty, inequality and accessibility. The entity has also had successful developments of parks in Noordheuwel, Yeoville and Westbury.”

He said another exciting project the entity had undertaken was the “My Parks, My City” initiative, which seeks to ensure that residents gain a deeper understanding in the way communities can use open spaces. “This is a very exciting citizen programme that seeks to encourage everyone to appreciate and nurture their parks and open spaces, promote social cohesion and healthy lifestyles, and make residents see parks as multi-functional areas, safe places where they can express themselves,” said Cllr Vondo.

He added that the entity had put contingency plans in place to manage the expected increase in the number of visitors to public open spaces over the festive season.

He said Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo’s wardens and Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officers would undertake a highly visible preventative policing and bylaw enforcement drive throughout the festive season.

Patrols in open spaces and nine flagship parks will also be monitored. General Manager for Infrastructure Development Reginald Mokalapa said the entity’s highlights in 2014 included the planting of 212 trees during Arbor month, the continued breeding of high economic value rare species at its Rietkuil Conservation Farm and being honoured with a prestigious Loerie Award, presented to the Johannesburg Zoo for its innovative hosting of Night Walks.

“We also centralised complaints to ensure timeous service delivery,” said Mokalapa.