BEN empowers Khayelitsha business

Members of Ilima Green Solutions and the Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN) at the Lookout Hill.

A small business focused on environmentally-friendly issues has been given a boost by the Bicycling Empowerment Network (BEN).

Ilima Green Solutions received 10 new bicycles from BEN on Tuesday, August 2, at a ceremony held at the Lookout Hill.

The bicycles will help staff members reduce their travelling time across long distances and poor infrastructure so they have more time to get other work done.

Ilima Green Solutions, based in Khayelitsha, promotes the values of environmentally friendly living. They aim to teach the community the importance of recycling and taking better care of the environment.

The staff used to walk long distances to gather dustbins to wash. That prompted them to ask BEN for help.

Chairperson Louis de Waal said as part of Mandela Month, BEN decided to donate the bikes to Ilima Green Solutions to help the small business build capacity and increase efficiency.

“This is the most efficient mode of transport,” Mr De Waal said about bicycles.

“It is cheaper and does not pollute the air. It is also friendly way of travelling. In developed countries there are more bikes than cars. This is man’s best invention. That is why we decided on providing them with the bikes. With good bike routes they will be safe,” said Mr De Waal.

He said the donation will help the business prosper.

Mr De Waal said they have encouraged the City of Cape Town to have bike routes in the townships.

He said BEN had set up training for the Ilima staff and called on them to be always vigilant on the roads.

“They need to always check the cars and how to overtake them. Bikes are easy. You can go with it to work or buy your groceries using it. For them it will be easy to (move the bins). I am happy for them,” he said.

Ilima’s marketing and creative director, Siyabulela Daweti, hoped that by providing the staff with bicycles, the working time can be cut.

He said there are times when workers have to travel long distances. He also said he was happy for the young people. “As you know we use ex-prisoners and gangsters for our services. So this is a special day for them too. The bikes have come at the right time. They will help us with collection of bins to gather them quickly. This has meant work will be easier and quicker,” he said.

Mr Daweti said the bicycles would attract more young men wanting to work with them.

“They will come in numbers again. Lots of guys have been willing to work for us, but we cannot afford to pay them. The 19 that we have, have to share the little that we have,” he said.

He thanked BEN for their generosity.