Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Health and Social Development Councillor Nonceba Molwele has called on Johannesburg residents to learn about the risks of obesity and inactivity.
MMC Molwele was speaking at the end of a three-day, 1 600km Novo Nordisk Cycle 4 Diabetes Relay Race at Mary Fitzgerald Square in Newtown, Johannesburg, on Saturday November 7 to help raise funds for children with type 1 diabetes in George, Western Cape.
At the ceremony, Novo Nordisk, a global healthcare company and leader in diabetes care, in partnership with the City of Johannesburg, handed over a cheque of R200 000 to the relay team to pass on to the children. Vehicle manufacturer Chevrolet also donated R50 000 to the fund.
Sixteen cyclists – from Team Novo Nordisk, Team C4D, Team Bonitas, Team Bestmed and Team Iron Man – and 10 from the City of Johannesburg took part in the gruelling race, which started in Johannesburg on Thursday November 5, proceeded to KwaZulu-Natal via Mpumalanga and back to Johannesburg on Saturday morning.
The non-stop race was aimed at raising funds for the children ahead of World Diabetes Day on November 14, create diabetes awareness and encourage communities to screen and test for the disease.
Eight women cyclists, including SABC Morning Live presenter Lee Ann Manas, also took part.
In her speech, MMC Molwele said the City was honoured to have partnered with Novo Nordisk in this initiative and taken part in the race.
She said the initiative linked with the City’s Healthy Lifestyle Programme, launched by Executive Mayor Parks Tau two years ago.
She said as a world-class African city, Johannesburg believed that a “healthy city is a resilient and sustainable city”.
She said some of the Healthy Lifestyle Programme’s initiatives the City had embarked on in the fight against diseases such as diabetes included the weight loss competition, healthy school programme, healthy kota challenge, nutritional pledges and the gogos’ soccer challenge.
“What is of importance, however, is that although the City has come up with a number of programmes to combat diabetes, the onus is on our communities to partner with us in prioritising their own health.
“Our people must educate themselves about the risks of obesity or being inactive. The City’s slogan, ‘Health in the Hands of the People’, is a clarion call for all our citizens to start taking care of their health. What brings more joy to us is that this year we had a team of 10 cyclists joining this event for the first leg. This is a significant improvement from the previous years, when there were only four," she said.
Dr Timmy Kedijang, Novo Nordisk General Manager, who also took part in the race for the first time, said his company “felt good” about being part of “this noble cause” and thanked the City for helping it in raising diabetes awareness.
Dr Kedijang said 500 million people worldwide were living with diabetes.
Of these, 2.7 million were South Africans, half of whom were not aware they had diabetes and were therefore not receiving treatment.
He said in 2013, 83 000 people died from diabetes in South Africa. The number was 52% more than the 2011 figure.
Ward 60 councillor Nokuthula Xaba applauded the cyclists for their efforts in raising diabetes awareness.
Councillor Xaba also thanked the elderly, who came in their numbers to be tested, urging them to frequently visit their clinics.