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EThekwini goes green

SIMPHIWE DLAMINI THE eThekwini Municipality?s Parks, Recreation and Culture Unit are the overall winners of the National Arbor City Award. This was announced by Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tina Joemat-Pettersson on Tuesday during the launch of the National Arbor Week in Mpumalanga Township. This award recognises and provides incentives to towns, cities and municipalities for their greening efforts, with a special focus on previously disadvantaged areas such as townships and informal settlements. In ensuring that the City stays green, the Minister distributed 3000 trees in the City to mark the start of the National Arbor Week ? an annual event to celebrate the importance of trees. The trees form part of the one million trees to be planted by government this year across the country. The Minister, accompanied by the Provincial MEC for Agriculture and Environmental Affairs, Dr Meshack Hadebe and eThekwini Mayor Cllr James Nxumalo, started the Arbor day by planting 20 trees at the Botanic Gardens, and proceeded to Hammersdale where they established 150 food gardens and distributed more than 3500 vegetables, and seed packs. The Minister praised the Municipality for its greening and food security initiatives which includes the Botanic GOING GREEN: City Manager Sibusiso Sithole, MEC for Agriculture and Environmental Affairs, Meshack Hadebe, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Tina Joemat-Pettersson and Mayor James Nxumalo planting trees as part of the Arbor Day launch. Picture: SIMPHIWE DLAMINI Garden Food Forest and Priority Zone Rooftop Gardens. The Priority Zone Rooftop Gardens is a social project established to address greening and issues of food security in areas where there is no space to establish gardens in city centres. The gardens are established, using recycled products, including old tyres, drums and pallets. Produce from the gardens is donated to the needy. The Minister said these two projects should be replicated throughout the country. ?These two concepts teach us that in cases where we don?t have land to toil we can use recycled products like old tyres, drums and pallets. The concept of starting a garden using papers or cardboard as the base is an excellent idea, especially in areas where the soil is not conducive for gardening. These are new innovative ways we should be teaching our communities about, with an aim of addressing the issue of food security,? said Joemat-Pettersson. The Minister said that in order to ensure a thriving agricultural sector, the Department is investing in bursaries, learnerships and other incentive schemes to attract the youth to this sector which is often perceived as not attractive. ?The youth is the future of this country and should take their rightful space in obtaining skills and knowledge on how to drive the economy successfully, with specific reference to this sector. Through this initiative the department hopes to inculcate a sense of appreciation of the dynamics in this competitive and exciting sector. The unit that deals with various incentives for learners and students at tertiary institutions have been invited to share information during the event,? she said. Mayor Nxumalo said that a city without green spaces is not liveable and the City was inspired by the country?s million trees programme which is an innovative public greening initiative that was launched during the 2007 Arbor Week. ?One of its main aims is to contribute nationally towards the improvement of quality of life and contribute to the development of sustainable human settlements. The programme provides low-income communities with fruit trees to plant at their homes. It also targets schools, early learning centres, clinics and old age homes. The set task is to plant a million trees across the country annually,? said Nxumalo. ?Our city?s green strategy aims to contribute to the conservation and preservation of our green environment and a well treed green city, developing sustainable programmes to achieve this. In so doing, this will assist in reducing the impact of climate change, the preservation of our biodiversity and the minimization of carbon emissions and other ?green house? gasses within eThekwini Municipality,? concludes Nxumalo. simphiwe.dlamini@durban.gov.za

EThekwini demolishes ?bucket system? toilets

APHELELE NTUMBU MEMBERS of the Executive Committee participated in the demolition of the bucket toilet structures at the KwaMashu Hostel in Ward 39 recently. Mayor James Nxumalo said these toilets were discovered recently and the Municipality has moved swiftly to replace them with world class shipping container toilet facilities which were handed over to the community. The container toilets are being rolled out to other areas within eThekwini as part of the Council programme to provide interim services to people living in informal settlements and transit camps. ?As a Municipality, we remain committed to providing basic services to all our citizens and the provision of proper sanitation facilities is one of those services that we are duty bound to ensure that we provide for our people,? he said. The project, which also has a job creation element where Supervisors will be employed to maintain and clean the facilities. Seven facilities have been built in the area, with ten more still under construction. Chairperson of the Human Settlements and Infrastructure Committee, Cllr Nigel Gumede, said the programme is one of the many that the Municipality is considering using to unlock backlogs in the provision of basic services to the people of eThekwini. ?We are actually looking at bringing the 2016 deadline forward and looking into the technicalities involved in order to see how this can be done. We remain committed to providing basic services like housing, water and electricity, to all our people,? added Gumede. The project has already seen more than 200 000 people from all over eThekwini having access to proper sanitation and ablution facilities. At this gathering, the Mayor, Deputy Mayor Cllr Nomvuzo Shabalala and members of the Executive Committee demolished the existing structures of the inhumane ?bucket system? toilets and handed over two new sanitation units that will service about 75 families per unit. The units have showers, flushing toilets, urinals (for male facilities) as well as washing basins. aphelele.ntumbu@durban.gov.za SANITATION: Deputy Mayor Nomvuzo Shabalala and Mayor James Nxumalo at KwaMashu hostel. Picture: THEMBA KHUMALO

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