Bikes make work easy

2016-08-04 06:00
Louis de Waal, chairman for Ben Bikes (at the back), Janine Johnson, safety and administrator for Ben Bikes and members of Ilima Green Solution, in Khayelitsha, on Tuesday.  PHOTO: Mbongiseni MASEKO

Louis de Waal, chairman for Ben Bikes (at the back), Janine Johnson, safety and administrator for Ben Bikes and members of Ilima Green Solution, in Khayelitsha, on Tuesday. PHOTO: Mbongiseni MASEKO

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A donation of 10 bicycles to the Ilima Green Solution- a recycling project which helps ex-gangsters to put food on the table-was warmly welcomed by its members during a ceremony at the Look-Out Hill in Khayelitsha on Tuesday.

Ben Bikes was the benevolent donor. Siyabulela Daweti, marketing and creative director for Ilima Green Solutions, said the bikes will make things easier for the youth to do their recycling and also the dustbin washing business.

“They are going to pull the dustbins with the bicycles which will make things easier for them. We are working with former gangsters and former inmates here. We ensure that they are kept busy and that they are able to put food on the table. Doors are closed for former inmates to get employment, because of their criminal record, so we open doors for them,” Daweti said.

They work with about 19 youngsters between the ages of 16 and 23 in their business, recycling plastics, newspapers and other recyclable materials.

Daweti said they have a challenge as more former gangsters and former inmates also want to join the business, but they lack the capacity to accommodate them.

Some of the youths said they had dropped out of school for fear of attacks from gang rivals.

Now they clean dustbins four times a month, in most parts of Khayelitsha, and charge each house R50 per month.

Louis de Waal, the chairman Ben Bikes, said they started the project to encourage the use of bikes in 2002.

He said their aim is to see more people opting for using bicycles than cars as their mode of transport.

“Using a bike is efficient and a cheaper mode of transport. You travel to your destination and at the same time exercise. It is also enviromentally friendly. I also do shopping in my bike. It is wonderful,” De Waal said.

Simnikiwe Sanana, 20, a former gang member, was full of praise for the donation.

“I am very happy for the bikes. We used to walk a long distance, because we do not have money for transport, but now things will change. We will be able to do recycling much easier,” Sanana said.

Zolani Maciko,22, said it is a life changing moment for them.

“We did not have anything to do before we joined Ilima. It is helping us a lot. We are happy for the bikes, because we will be able to pull the bins with them. We will no longer have to walk long distances. We have noticed that there are not trees in Green Point, so we are now planning to plant them. We also want to do a tourism park there. It is going to be a first gated township in the world,” Maciko said.

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