Alexandra up for a major environmental overhaul
Alexandra up for a major environmental overhaul

The City of Johannesburg’s Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services, Councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe, yesterday (Sunday January 31) warned residents they would be condemning the next generation to appalling future if they did not take care of their environment.

Speaking during the relaunch of the Bontle ke Botho clean and green campaign in Alexandra in Johannesburg’s Region E, MMC Mfikoe called on residents to partner with the City to spruce up their areas.

“If we all play our part and take better care of the environment, with the City providing more plastic bags and dustbins and people not littering, we will definitely win the war against grime,” MMC Mfikoe, who was dressed for the part in a green work suit, said.

She reminded residents that in 2012 the City of Johannesburg came out tops in the municipal Bontle ke Botho Awards, beating Cape Town and eThekwini. Yesterday’s relaunch of Bontle Ke Botho campaign, which drew hundreds of people to Sankopano Stadium, was led by Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa, who was accompanied by Gauteng Premier David Makhura; MEC for Economic Development, Agriculture, Environment and Rural Development Lebogang Maile; and City of Johannesburg's MMC for Health and Social Development, Councillor Nonceba Molwele.

About 50 indigenous trees were planted during the relaunch. Minister Molewa said cleanliness was next to godliness.

“Now that we have gotten the legislation right, we need to start to educate, have a culture change and encourage more action so people can reduce, reuse and recycle [waste].”

Premier Makhura said: “We have chosen Alexandra as one of the top 50 places in the province that we want to clean over the next three years. We are here to mobilise communities and all different sectors out there to clean our neighbourhoods.

“We're also greening park spaces because environment is very important. [It] makes us. It’s our source of pride. It provides us with dignity. People always say townships are dirty. But the CBDs of Germiston, Johannesburg and others are just as filthy. That’s why we’re rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty so we can create a cleaner and brighter future for the next generation,” said Makhura.

The campaign was first launched after the World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 as a social mobilisation programme and provincial strategy to heighten environmental awareness.

It was also aimed at encouraging sustainable environmental actions in communities to ensure environmental protection for the benefit of the present and future generations. In her speech, MMC Molwele encouraged residents to establish food gardens as home-grown vegetables were cheaper and healthier.