Resident’s of Khayelitsha’s Ward 91 who were tired of seeing the rubbish pile up in their area, took up the task of cleaning the streets themselves.
Khayelitsha X Section volunteers rolled up their sleeves for a clean-up of their residential area and open spaces on Saturday July 29.
The campaign organised by street committee members and the South African National Civic Organisation aimed to educate people about the importance of keeping the area clean.
They raised awareness about health hazards and diseases caused by illegal dumping, which also takes place along the railway line.
The volunteers divided themselves into groups to tackle sections of the area.
The clean-up campaign was part of Mandela Month activities.
Street committee member Lorna Tshukuse said the initiative was aimed at encouraging community members to take ownership of their infrastructure.
She praised those who came out in their numbers to help clean the area.
“The response was massive. The outcome from the community has been positive and needs to be applauded. We are grateful to them for their response. This initiative raises awareness and teaches the community to take care of their own environment and infrastructure. We also want to curb illegal dumping so to control pests. This is will not end today. We want to do it whenever we have time,” she said.
Ms Tshukuse said engagements with residents on the importance of taking responsibility for their surroundings are continuing. She also thanked the ward councillor, Thando Mpengezi for his contribution.
“Amazingly lots of areas are now clean. They have been cleared and I wish they can be kept that way. We had a very successful turnout that worked tirelessly. We so wish we can now have legal dumping spots. We also wish people can use municipal plastics to keep their dirt in,” she said.
In an area facing challenges of drug abuse, unemployment and school drop outs, Ms Tshukuse appealed to service providers to intervene.
She pleaded with the community to stop dumping waste as it affects everyone’s health. She said people needed to stand up and make their area a better place.
The organisers said they have partnered with organisations and big businesses to clean the area.
Mr Mpengezi commended the residents for taking the initiative to clean their area.
He said although short notice was given to his office about the event, he was happy to see a good turnout on the day.
He said he would have put more resources in to the campaign.
“It feels good to see people doing something with no pressure from anyone. It is good especially that these people were not expecting a thing. It is refreshing to see dedicated people cleaning the environment,” he said.
Mr Mpengezi wishes other residents can learn from the people of the area.