Igunya Neighbourhood Watch groups, in partnership with Boon Africa, a construction company based behind the Gugulethu Infill housing project, embarked on a clean-up campaign on Tuesday morning.
As a part of Mandela Month, the initiative, was aimed at cleaning up four dump sites in Gugulethu.
Those running the initiative believe that “a cleaner society is a safer society.
About 20 community members volunteered from 8am, starting at the corner of NY69 and NY71, behind Sonwabo Primary School and in front of the Gugulethu Infill housing project.
After 9am, they moved over to the corner of NY50 and NY1, at the back of the Civic Hall. By 11am, they cleaned the back of the shops. And from noon, they started cleaning the area next to the cemetery, by NY102 and NY103.
The Igunya Neighbourhood Watch Federation has more than 15 accredited neighbourhood watch groups around the area. Chairperson, Thembinkosi Mjuza, said the aim of the clean-up campaign had been to get rid of dumped waste and make the areas safer.
“We are trying to answer the call our community has been crying for, regarding the cleanliness of our environment. We are targeting more than four sites within the township. This is also about bringing people together today in the form of the neighbourhood watch groups,” he said.
Mr Mjuza said they are trying to revive the culture and the spirit that was left by the values of struggle heroes, Nelson Mandela, Oscar Mpetha and many others.
“Recently our communities have been under siege, with brutal killings, muggings, house break-ins and robberies happening in our communities. We are making sure that our community takes ownership of our challenges and we start with a cleaner and safer environment,” he said.
Africa Unite, a non-profit organisation that works with vulnerable children and empowers parents with parenting skills, also got involved in the campaign.
Highlighting the importance of having safe, clean places for children to play, one of the organisation’s members, Wonke Mapeyi, highlighted the tragic incident in February in which four Nyanga children died when a hole they were playing in, collapsed.
“Children don’t have a safe space to play in, or it is unhygienic. This says we are providing a conducive environment for everyone. One of the things that should be done is that the City of Cape Town should come up with a plan or programme to keep our streets clean with the neighbourhood watch,” he said, adding that the environment a child grew up in, contributed to his mindset.
Chairperson of Gugulethu Uprising, Itumeleng Kgati said they took the initiative to clean the community and the graveyards where their ancestors lay, because they didn’t want to sit back and watch their community deteriorate.
Asijiki Neighbourhood Watch member, Bongani Qotole, said they had volunteered to help clean the neighbourhood because, as proud members, they wanted to see their community progress.
Boon Africa, the contractors working on the Gugulethu Infill housing project, was represented by Community Liaison Officer, Nceba Sandlana who said they were asked to be part of the neighbourhood watches’ Mandela Month initiative and also to provide the equipment needed to clean up the area.