Tapping into the inherent potential of people to be agents of change, Executive Mayor of the City of Johannesburg, Councillor Herman Mashaba, is facilitating the launch of a monthly volunteer campaign, largely focused on cleaning the city, but also going beyond this.
Mashaba has called on the community of Sandton to be a part of this movement for a better city.
“On a trip to Rwanda a few years ago, I was taken aback by this kind of campaign which runs every month. Once a month, every resident of Rwanda, including the President, goes out and cleans the streets and neighbourhoods. The result of which is one of the cleanest countries in the world, both because of the cleaning but also the consciousness and pride it creates,” says Mashaba.
He adds: “I have come to see how our city is held back, in part, because of the grime and litter which affects us all. As a city, we have initiated increased services within Pikitup, the City Entity that provides cleaning services, and this is starting to bear fruit. However, government cannot be the only solution.”
As Sandton Central Management District’s (SCMD) City Improvement District Manager for Cushman & Wakefield Excellerate, which manages the public urban spaces of South Africa’s cosmopolitan financial hub, Elaine Jack believes that when citizens work together, it can have big positive impacts.
“Sandton Central Management District is an excellent example of what can be achieved by working together to shape a city and a community. It is home to three business improvement districts funded by commercial property owners to ensure the creation of an exceptional experience of this key node of Johannesburg for employees, visitors, tourists, shoppers, property owners and residents of Sandton Central,” says Jack.
“We are serious about creating a safe, clean and well-managed environment,” Jack adds. “This makes a difference to people’s positive experience of Sandton Central and positions it as a leading city and investment destination.”
Sandton Central employs a team of 56 public safety ambassadors, five patrol cars and 27 cleaning staff, 24-hours a day, seven days a week. They focus solely on crime prevention, cleaning, maintenance and landscaping.
The impact is meaningful. Over the first six months of 2017, the Sandton Central cleaning team cleaned up over 10,000 dustbin bags, equalling over 65,000kg of waste just in the public space alone.
“This is only possible because Sandton Central’s business community works hand-in-hand to ensure that its spaces to live, work, play and stay, and the spaces between, are well managed,” says Jack.
The City of Johannesburg’s A Re Sebetseng monthly clean-up campaign was officially launched on Monday, 14 August by Mashaba alongside leaders in business, civil society, religious institutions, political organisations, sporting personalities, the entertainment industry and community organisations.
On the 30th of September 2017, the City will have its first city-wide clean-up supported by councillors and ward committees as well as businesses across the city. Plastic bags and gloves will be distributed at walk-in centres, clinics, libraries as well as participating businesses. “Bags will then be collected on the same day to ensure that we have a cleaner city,” says Mashaba.
Jack encourages all Sandton Central stakeholders to find the most meaningful ways, big or small, that they can become involved in the volunteer campaign.