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Three years of Letsema paying off for Midrand

City of Johannesburg employees from five entities and one department rolled up their sleeves at the start of an intensive five-day-long service delivery and clean-up campaign in the Midrand Central Business District (CBD) on Monday October 3.

In its third year, the Johannesburg Roads Agency-led Letsema programme seeks to ensure that streets in and around Midrand are clean and residents are environmentally conscious. The campaign ends on Friday October 7.

Members of the Community Workers Programme (CWP) swept the streets and removed weeds, while Pikitup employees collected waste. Also taking part were the Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department (JMPD), Johannesburg Water, City Power and the Environmental Health Department.

Before the start of the campaign, participants went on a walkabout to identify what needed to be done. The area is plagued by numerous by-law violations – from the obstruction of sidewalks to illegally posters on road signs. JMPD will throughout the week ensure by-law enforcement in the CBD.

“The Midrand CBD is a vital economic hub that provides work for a large number of people and generates a lot of income for the City. It’s important to keep the area in good condition to ensure it is an attractive investment prospect for the business community,” said Region A Citizen Relationship and Urban Manager Pierre Nel.

Johannesburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry (JCCI) Regional Manager Ben de Klerk called on residents to abandon the “culture of littering” because it not only harmed the environment but also negatively affected business opportunities.

“Part of the JCCI’s mandate is to promote businesses, whether small or big. We want businesspeople to see Midrand as a place they can grow their businesses in,” said De Klerk.

He said there was a perception that a dirty city was an unsafe city. De Klerk added that in the three years that the Letsema programme had been running, the chamber had seen a significant impact that lasted at least three months.

“I wish this could be done on a continuous basis so we can see lasting results and a change in people’s attitudes,” he said.

Nel said JMPD would also visit the taxi rank to talk to taxi drivers and ensure that street vendors complied with by-laws.

“On Friday we will do road markings and remove illegal posters. A lot of work has already been done and we want people to see the amount of work that goes into unblocking drains,” said Nel.

He said drain blockages could be avoided if residents refrained from littering and using the bins provided by the City.

“We all have a part to play in ensuring that the environment is clean. We have to take care of our environment so it can take care of us,” concluded Nel.