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Mayor Mashaba spruces up inner city

Clad in protective boots and overalls, Johannesburg Executive Mayor Cllr Herman Mashaba got his hands dirty as he led a massive cleanup campaign to reclaim the inner city – in the City of Johannesburg’s Region F – from crime, filth and urban decay.
“The inner city has experienced decay over the past 20 years. It is about time we take back our city. We want the Johannesburg city centre to provide low-cost housing in future. What we are starting today is a project that will have long-term implications. [The City’s waste management entity] Pikitup has a crucial role to play. This will be a process that will drive the entire economy of South Africa. If Johannesburg works, the entire economy of South Africa works”, said Mayor Mashaba.

Armed with brooms, rakes and refuse bags, Mayor Mashaba and several members of his team were joined by Pikitup employees and Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD) officers in cleaning up vast areas of the inner city on Friday October 14. The cleanup drive started near the Johannesburg Art Gallery in Noord Street and moved to Joubert Park. Residents got a glimpse of the mayor as he and his team were hard at work. Along the way Mayor Mashaba had the opportunity to interact with businesspeople, including street and food traders, and hair salon owners. From Joubert Park, the campaign moved down De Villiers Street, past the Wanderers Taxi Rank, and ended at the historical St Mary’s Cathedral.

The leadership of the church handed Mayor Mashaba and his team a dossier with proposals on how to revamp the precinct around the church. The mayor accepted the dossier and assured the church’s leadership of the City’s commitment to working with it in ensuring that the area returned to its glory days.

Pikitup Regional Manager Mkhuseli Sobantwana said the campaign was aimed at creating awareness among communities of the importance of cleanliness.

“Everybody must take collective responsibility of not littering or dumping rubbish. The congestion of the inner city by informal traders is a challenge. There are those who have been allocated stalls or trading areas. The issue is hawkers who don’t have designated areas. We as Pikitup can’t [clean the inner city] alone. City by-laws have to be enforced,” said Sobantwana.

The day ended with a short prayer for Mayor Mashaba at the St Mary’s Cathedral. The cleanup campaign is expected to be repeated every month.