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Joburg Mayor Tau walks the talk to a drug-free city


Johannesburg’s first citizen – Executive Mayor Cllr Mpho Parks Tau – led from the front in highlighting the dangers of drug and substance abuse when he took part in the 16th edition of the 702 Walk the Talk event on Sunday July 14.
Most of the 57 000 people who participated in the walk – a 16-year record – did so for a cause.    Other than promoting walking as a means to keep fit and healthy in line with the City’s Go Jozi Healthy Lifestyle Programme, Mayor Tau dedicated his 15km walk to the fight against alcohol and drug abuse.
His son, Karabo, recently came out to publicly announce that he was a recovering drug addict and applauded his family – including his mother, Pilisiwe Twala-Tau – for their overwhelming support during his battle against the addition.  Karabo Tau, who has been clean for 18 months, is now an anti-drugs activist.
Mayor Tau took the 15km route – from the Marks Sports Club in Emmarentia and back – alongside Gauteng Premier David Makhura.  “The walk was very good even though the first three kilometres were tough because it was cold and windy and I didn’t get to prepare for the walk. But it was good walking for a cause,” Mayor Tau said after completing the walk.
He said the City supported events such as the 702 Walk the Talk because they played a huge role in keeping residents healthy and fit and promoted ecomobility by encouraging people to “walk more and drive less”.
He said it was encouraging to walk with thousands of people who did so for a purpose.  “As always, the route was exciting. We walked past some of the iconic places in the City, such as the Nelson Mandela Bridge and Constitution Hill. It also showed us what a beautiful and vibrant city we have. We also walked through Braamfontein and past the new Council Chambers being built,” said Mayor Tau.
He said the walk gave Joburgers the opportunity to see the city through “different eyes”. Evident during the walk were developments taking place in the city.
Mayor Tau said he walked against substance abuse because it was destroying communities.  “The City of Joburg has established 112 anti-drugs committees throughout its seven regions to help fight drug abuse. We understand that drugs not only affect the drug users but their families as well and, as the City, we want to give them the support they need during these difficult times,” said Mayor Tau.   He said it was a great experience to interact with Johannesburg residents during the walk.
Resident Phuti Tucker said it was an honour to walk alongside Mayor Tau.  “Johannesburg is in good hands. We have a Mayor who cares about the people in the city and promotes ecomobility. Our mayor is the ecomobility champion,” said Tucker.
Nthabiseng Motsie said it was good to be out on the streets of Johannesburg.  “We’re usually so caught up with work that we forget how refreshing a good morning walk feels. This is my second year doing the race and I’m looking forward to doing it again next year,” Motsie said.