Residents of Davidsonville in Roodepoort, in the City of Johannesburg’s Region C, turned out in large numbers on Monday February 15 to give spruce up their neighbourhood under the City’s Integrated Community Outreach Programme (ICOP).
Driven by the region’s Citizen Relationship and Urban Management (CRUM), the cleanup campaign also involved the participation of several City entities such as Johannesburg Metropolitan Police Department, Johannesburg Emergency Management Services, Johannesburg Water, Johannesburg Roads Agency, Johannesburg City Parks & Zoo, Pikitup, City Power as well as City departments such as Health and Social Development and Environmental Health.
The South African Police Service and South African Social Services Agency (SASSA) also lent a hand.
“What happens in our streets and our neighbourhood is in our hands,” Ward 71 Councillor Gert Niemand told a packed Davidsonville Recreational Centre before the start of the cleanup campaign. Community members, most of them clad in overalls and armed with pickaxes and shovels, started attacking the filth in every street corner in the neighbourhood.
Alien vegetation threatening to fall over the streets was rooted out, kerb inlets damaged by rainwater were fixed, street signs were improved and road markings repainted.
According to Cllr Niemand, the exercise was aimed at complementing the City’s service-delivery initiatives.
“Often when you do some work, there will be some corners that you will miss unintentionally. As grateful residents, we come in afterwards to attend to those small areas that the City missed out,” he explained.
Regional Director Mlamleli Belot and Ward Inspector Caroline Minnie assisted Cllr Niemand in directing the activities around the campaign. Now and then they would be seen interacting with residents and attending to their concerns. Pensioner Margie Steenkamp wanted to know what she should do about her grandchildren whose young mother passed away last year. She was immediately put in touch with SASSA personnel.
Another resident, who refused to give his name, explained how his younger brother was abusing drugs and alcohol. Personnel representing Westview Clinic, which specialists in drug and alcohol rehabilitation, were at hand to take up the matter. Belot said service delivery was not only about picking up refuse or providing water and electricity.
“It’s also about attending to the inner needs of the people,” he said.
By midday, most parts of Davidsonville had been given a new lease of life. Trees had been pruned, several streets had new road markings, litter from the local park had been removed and certain parts of the area had been fumigated for rats and mosquitoes.