The City of Cape Town is committed to building an inclusive and caring society. We will do all that we can to alleviate the immediate demands of poverty while continuing with our long-term strategy to ensure that we create the economic environment in which investment can grow and jobs can be created.
To this end, in September last year, I announced the creation of the Mayor’s Special Job Creation Project. The City has aimed to spend R138 million in the first phase, with 32 000 people benefitting annually through job opportunities provided. As part of the Project, in October last year I announced a river cleaning programme in honour of the late Professor Kader Asmal, who first identified the need for such activities to ensure a clean water supply.
The Kader Asmal Integrated Catchment Management Project will, in total for this financial period, see 433 jobs created over various phases. These phases include the identification of problems, creating schedules of cleaning and drawing up schedules of monitoring. Indeed, the Kader Asmal Project benefits from the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) model as it is labour intensive and thus maximises job opportunities. In so doing, the City is able to get a return on its investment from the national government, as we recently did by receiving a R9 million incentive grant.
Systems of river care will be maintained by a river warden system and awareness and education campaigns to prevent dumping and littering by Capetonians.
I am pleased that this project has truly taken root in our communities, as we acknowledge here today. This community, through the Elsieskraal River Canal Clean-up campaign, has truly risen to the challenge.
They have designed a system of river care that begins with a high-impact opening phase that includes: removing invasive plants; river clean-ups; litter disposal; repairing leaking sewers; identifying pollution hotspots; and cleaning.
However, what makes this particular project so valuable is the fact that it is conducted in partnership with other stakeholders.
Part of our philosophy of government is the belief that, to truly take this city to the next level, we need partners. We know that ordinary people are amongst our most valuable partners. But we must look to every sector of the community to truly make the impact that affects a real and lasting change.
As such, we welcome the private sector when they join us in taking active steps to improve our society and indeed, the very environment in which we live.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the leadership of the GrandWest Casino.
In partnership with the councillors in this area, who have shown tremendous leadership in getting this project off the ground, GrandWest has decided to help maintain a sustainable environment by conducting a clean-up of the Elsieskraal Canal that lies adjacent to the casino.
The clean-up will cover a stretch of about 560 metres and aims to raise further awareness on water quality and safety and to encourage people not to litter.
As part of the Kader Asmal Project and the Mayoral Job Creation Project, the City, through Subcouncil four and in partnership with GrandWest, will employ 40 job seekers as river wardens after training conducted by the City’s Environmental Resource Management Department.
By following this model, we will not only create opportunities for those who did not have them before, but we will also be contributing to good water management within our city.
The importance of this latter mission is truly brought home to us today just after we have celebrated World Water Day. Much like the rest of the country, we live in a place where water is a scarce and valuable resource.
We have implemented many measures to ensure that we save as much as possible. These range from campaigns within the city to a consolidated water demand strategy.
But it must also include maintaining our environmental resources and the integrity of our inland water systems. Indeed, this programme, and inspirational examples like that of Elsieskraal, will go a long way to helping us protect a valuable resource and ensure that we adhere to the principle of sustainable development, which includes safeguarding our natural resources.
Most critically, however, it will provide relief for those most in need in our society so that the principle of sustainability incorporates our people too.
In all, it brings together respect for our natural heritage with respect for our social heritage as well. By honouring that combination, we will ensure that the Cape Town of the future is a truly Inclusive and Caring City.
23 March 2012