Free State Premier Sisi Ntombela has urged communities to refrain from the old mentality of seeing waste as nothing but dirt, saying people could create livelihoods from waste and recycling.
Ntombela said diverting waste from landfills would promote environmental health, social, economic and environmental opportunities, including job creation and enterprise development.
She said this in Ladybrand last Friday while launching the Good Green Deeds Programme (GGD), conceptualised by the late minister of environmental affairs minister Edna Molewa.
“We are launching the most important campaign that was conceptualised by minister Edna Molewa, who was our leading champion on climate change issues,” Ntombela said.
“She was extremely passionate about awareness around climate change, which why we are all here today launching this programme not only in the province but countrywide.”
Deviating from her written speech at the provincial launch of GGD programme, Ntombela said the late minister was the voice of Africa at various forums across the world on matters relating to climate change.
She was also key in the development of the Good Green Deeds Programme, a ground breaking environmental awareness campaign seeking to promote environmentally-conscious practices among ordinary citizens.
“She led not only South Africa and Africa but made sure there was an agreement at the global level to address and bring about change in our respective communities. We thank and honour her today,” said the Premier.
The programme also aims to promote sustainable waste management practices, such as recycling, and encouraging communities to change their behaviour around waste, pollution, and the environment.
“The Constitution guarantees the right of all South Africans to an environment that is not harmful to their health and well-being. Littering, illegal dumping, pollution, and other harmful activities have ill-effects on the natural environment as well as the quality of life and health of communities,” noted Ntombela.
She added that in accordance with Molewa’s goals, the Good Green Deeds campaign was about citizens, individuals and corporates playing an active role in the cleanliness of the country.
The Premier further announced that 72 people would be added to the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). The new recruits would be expected to continue keeping the small Mantsopa Local Municipality – which has won numerous awards – clean.
“You must take pride in your work. Don’t be ashamed of what you`re doing. Continue to keep our municipalities clean. We need you and yes, your job is important if not more so than the rest of ours,” she said to loud cheers from the audience.
In addition to the addition 72 EPWP workers, 110 people were also employed under the Community Working Programme (CWP). They will start work in April.