VIPs dirty their hands in ‘futile’ Jika Joe clean-up

2011-05-06 00:00

THE community of Jika Joe informal settlement had the privilege of seeing mayors and national deputy ministers dirtying their hands yesterday in response to their calls for a clean city.

The clean-up is an initiative of the South African National Civic Organisation (Sanco) which aims to revive the Masakhane Campaign that was launched by former President Nelson Mandela in February 1995 in an effort to contribute to political, social and economic transformation.

The campaign started with a clean-up exercise in Jika Joe, which some residents saw as a futile exercise given the level of filth in the informal settlement.

The participants were Sanco president Ruth Bhengu, Water and Environment Affairs Deputy Minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi, Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Deputy Minister Yunus Carrim, Msunduzi Mayor Mike Tarr, Deputy Mayor Jabu Ngubo and city administrator Sibusiso Sithole.

They witnessed at first hand the squalor that the people of Jika Joe live under. Illegal electricity connections provide power to several dwellings, creating unsafe conditions for young children.

Mabudafhasi was appalled by the condition of Dorpspruit stream, which flows through the informal settlement, and said there is a need to restore it to its natural beauty.

She said the exercise was about waste management and an attempt to respond to complaints by the people of Pietermaritzburg about uncollected waste.

“We want to put an end to those people who scavenge on landfills by making them champions of recycling,” she said.

Tarr said one of the challenges at Jika Joe is that the municipality allocates houses to people who then rent them out and move back to their shacks.

Bhengu said, “When President Jacob Zuma called on communities to offer their community service on Mandela Day, we chose to revive the Masakhane Campaign.

“We want a government that will say, ‘ We have heard your needs. Now how best can we together provide for the needs?’,” she said.

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