JOHANNESBURG – Another clean-up in Alexandra has left some residents skeptical of the Gauteng government’s efforts to keep their township clean.
On Sunday morning, the Gauteng province relaunched the Bontle ke Bothocampaign, aimed at mobilising the community into successful waste management structures.
“This is not the first clean-up in Alex there’ve been a lot of clean-ups but I think what’s important is that they’ve not been sustainable,” said Lebogang Maile, Gauteng member of the executive committee (MEC) for economic development, environment, agriculture and rural development.
The government wants residents to take responsibility for waste removal.
“It doesn’t help to wait for government and leadership to after a certain period of time to come and clean we need to get to a point where people here will take up this responsibility,” said Maile.
One local resident Walter Molewa said that the rubbish in Stjwetla, an area situated on the banks of the Jukskei river, has been piling up for years.
“Where is Pikitup? They hire people to clean everyday but where do they clean? This rubbish has been here for five years,” said Molewa.
Another resident, Victor Mahlaule, said “We have no life here, there’s no cleanliness.”
Gauteng generates 45 percent of the country’s waste.
With rapid urbanisation, the pressure on waste management infrastructure is overwhelming.
“In the past five years, a million people moved to Gauteng. There’s almost 20,000 people who move into the different parts of our province every month and so it puts lots of pressure on education, healthcare and the demand for housing,” said Gauteng Premier David Makhura.
Levels of waste are high in Stjwetla, with rubbish buried into the river embankment and a large mountain of waste next to communal taps.
“It is hazardous, this is a disaster, this is undesirable, and this is inhuman. We shouldn’t be having a situation like this but it’s unfortunate, it’s a sad reality and we have to do something as government,” said Maile.
Plans include building more parks and vegetable gardens to ensure that the public space is occupied and to deter illegal dumping.
According to authorities, 60% of Gauteng’s waste is recyclable. This, according to Premier Makhura, presents major employment opportunities.
“Recycling can be a source of income for many in our communities so we want to work with them to ensure that we keep our province clean,” said Makhura.
However, after many years and different premiers Molewa said he was tired of false promises.
“Nomvula Mokonyane, Mbazhima Shilowa and Mathole Motshegka didn’t sort this place out. They’re playing games these guys,” he said.
Resident Emmanuel Malatji said, “This kind of problem is going on and on because we don’t have a dustbin, plastic bags and there’s no skip where we can recycle.”
“It’s not that we’re happy to live in a place like this – in this condition. All we need to have a skip where we can through rubbish so they can come and collect it easily,” he said.
The province has already invested R16-million in the programme and are calling on the private sector for more funds.
“We need a lot more money,” said Maile.
The Sustainable Tourism Partnership Programme has been appointed as the official Sustainable Tourism partner of the City of Johannesburg, who will host the Eco-Mobility World Festival. The festival will run during the Month of October.
This prestigious international festival will see a number of tourists, media and corporates coming into the Sandton and Alexandra areas, and as such the STPP has been mandated to assist tourism businesses to fast track their Sustainability Initiatives. The STPP is a UNWTO Affiliate Member that is highly regarded amongst professionals in the tourism sector as the only mass scale sustainable tourism implementation programme.
Evolve has partnered with The STPP as technical partners and they will provide advisory services and technical solutions on resource efficiency and waste management. Partner, Earth Probiotic will provide advisory services and technical solutions for waste streams. Further partnerships are to be announced shortly.
“We are inviting accommodation establishments and tourism businesses to sign up as soon as possible, so that we can start the journey. We will kick off with weekly workshops in Sandton from 22 July, until the end of September”, says Niki Glen, the STPP Programme Director. “We are very proud to announce that Westpoint Executive Suites have agreed to take the lead by implementing assessments immediately.”
“We are looking forward to seeing fantastic effort and team work from further corporates and hotels in Sandton, to turn the city into a Sustainable Tourism Hotspot that rivals fellow South African cities”, says Angelique-Mari Forman, Marketing Manager for Executive Suites Group.
The festival will run from the 1st to 31st October and plans for the event are continuously being released. Through participation, the sustainable tourism interventions, accommodation establishments, restaurants, tour operators/guides and additional tourism/hospitality-orientated businesses are likely to become more efficient and quickly see cuts in cost over the long-term as a result over responsible operation practices.
In addition, they will gain access to the Eco-Mobility Festival and Joburg Tourism’s multiple marketing and social media platforms. All participants will be invited to join the World Tourism Day Celebrations on 27 September, where they will receive further exposure for their efforts as well as the opportunity to network with fellow VIPs.
The programme will focus on 6 key areas which will assist businesses to not only assess their current operations, but also access solutions that will enable decision-makers to fast track implementation.
The initial areas of focus for the programme running until end September are:
1. Resource Efficiency assessments and the installation of leading technologies to manage and monitor energy and water consumption and to manage waste;
2. On-site assessments to assist establishments to identify and manage quick wins towards more sustainable tourism practices;
3. Staff Green Training and Sustainable Tourism Training;
4. Carbon footprint assessments and carbon offset solutions;
5. Local Sourcing Practices and opportunities to redirect current sourcing practices;
6. Event Greening practices;
Workshops will run weekly in Sandton or Alexandra every Wednesday from 4 to 6, starting July 22nd. Venues are yet to be confirmed.
We would like all tourism and hospitality professionals, media and other interested parties to please attend the first of the workshops.
Jeffrey Mulaudzi has not looked backed since he first seized the opportunity to build a business on the potential offered by the Fifa World Cup, hosted by South Africa in 2010. Just 18 at the time, Mulaudzi decided to offer bicycle tours of Alexandra, one of Johannesburg’s oldest townships, to the many tourists and sporting fans visiting the county. His business has proved sustainable and, today, Mulaudzi Bicycle Tours is ranked as one of the top five activities in Johannesburg by international travel website TripAdvisor, and has won him many awards.
The real deal
Mulaudzi, who has always had an interest in learning foreign languages, was studying French in 2010 when his tutor asked to be shown around Alexandra, a township outside Johannesburg. Mulaudzi, who was born and raised in Alexandra, decided the best way to show his tutor the “real” Alexandra would be by bicycle, which would allow him to interact with the community.After a successful tour with his tutor, Mulaudzi saw an opportunity in introducing his home to others – not just the usual tourism sites, but the lifestyle and people.He started by making tour brochures to hand out at hotels. “One day I went to an hotel and dropped my brochures off, and the concierge thanked me and then dropped them in the bin as I went out.”Luckily a guest waiting by the concierge saw him doing that and asked for one, which was rescued from the bin. He then called me for a tour for the next day.”With the money from his first tour, Mulaudzi started paying hotels to display his brochures and the investment very quickly paid off. The money he earned went towards buying more bicycles, so he could increase his tour numbers.
Promoting local culture
Today, Mulaudzi has three tour guides and hosts an average of three tours a week – although this fluctuates depending on the time of year. He is also seeing a growing number of South Africans take his tours to experience township life.Tours cost R200 (around $18) for two-and-a-half hours, or R400 ($37) for four hours. The cost includes bike hire, helmets, water, and lunch. Participants also get to taste umqombothi, a traditional African beer.Mulaudzi uses the tour to introduce people to Alexandra residents, giving them the opportunity to share their stories.”We make it so that there is communication … so that Alexandra residents can communicate with people from different countries, and visitors can see that they don’t have to be afraid of Alexandra, the place that we come from.”We are also people, and I want to show it’s not a place where you will come and be killed or something like that,” he says. “I want people to better understand and know what kind of people live in the township as well.”His tours also include an introduction to Alexandra’s history, with a visit to the infamous hostels erected by the apartheid government in the 1960s, and the home where Nelson Mandela once lived.Toursits also visit local businesses and shebeens, which helps bring in business for other entrepreneurs in the community.
Mulaudzi’s entrepreneurial success led him to win the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in the 2013 South African Turkish Business Awards.He has also been named as one of the 12 finalists for the 2014 Anzisha Prize, a pan- African competition that recognises entrepreneurs between the ages of 15 and 22 who are using business to bring change to their communities.Mulaudzi says he has an “entrepreneurial heart” and, while his township tours are his first business, it will not be his last. He is looking for partners African Public Bicycles, which will allow people to rent bicycles to travel to a destination, leaving them there to be collected by the company.”At the moment the bicycles are costing around R60 to hire … and if it could be subsidised by a company … which could get advertising on the bicycle, I think it would be a very good thing.”His plan is to grow this model in South Africa and extend it across the border.”Bicycles are the best form of transport to see a country and interact with people. In a car you get stuck in traffic, and if you are walking you can’t cover as much distance. Bicycles make sense, and I think, when you think about traffic, we are going in that direction more and more as a continent.”
‘Never give up’
“Not everyone can be an entrepreneur, but once you realise and understand that you are an entrepreneur, you must never ever give up,” Mulaudzi says. “Many people can start, but not many people can finish … but the only way you can finish what you started is to never give up.”He adds that entrepreneurs should consider every failure a lesson: “Entrepreneurship is not easy because you always start with losing. I have never read a book that was written by an entrepreneur that says it is easy and you just need to start and you will get money. Never. It’s all about investing and reinvesting … and learning from your mistakes.”
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