SIPHELELE NKETOsiphelele@media24.comIN celebration of National Arbor Week from September 1 to 7, Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Senzeni Zokwana handed over 100 peach trees to households at the official launch of Arbor Week in Matatiele last Friday.He was accompanied by Eastern Cape MEC for Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, Mlibo Qoboshiyane, Alfred Nzo District Municipality Mayor, Sixolile Mehlomakhulu, MatatieleLocal MunicipalityMayor, Momelezi Mbedla and local government officials.A total of 3000 trees were planted in Matatiele as part of greening the town. Zokwana planted the trees and donated vegetable seed packs to Icamagu Agricultural Development in Cedarville, which has been growing vegetables for many years for school feeding programmes.Zokwana visited Maluti Multi-Purpose Disability School and GI Primary School in Cedarville and planted more trees. The Arbor City Award Competition was also held at the event to recognise towns and cities that green their areas. The City of TshwaneMetropolitanMunicipality was named the Best Metropolitan Municipality and awarded R300 000. Stellenbosch Local Municipality was named the Best Local Municipality and was awarded R300 000. Umzimvubu Local Municipality was named the Best Rural Municipality and awarded R250 000.This year’s theme “Forests and Water” focuses on planting indigenous trees to conserve water. Zokwana encouraged schools, communities, government institutions and businesses to participate in greening their area to improve the health and beauty of the environment.“I need everyone to unite towards the greening of the country.” Qoboshiyane said as poverty statistics are increasing people must work together to increase agriculture production for commercialisation and to feed families in need. “It is important to plant trees that produce paper and are used in the production of clothing,” said Qoboshiyane.This year’s Arbor Week theme “Forests and Water” focuses on planting indigenous trees to conserve waterKHAYA MAGENUkhaya.email@example.com HARRY Gwala District Municipality has made progress and has delivered on its promises to the people.This was evident when district mayor Mluleki Ndobe monitored the progress of water projects in Bulwer on Friday.The monitoring started at the Xhosheyakhe Water Reservoir, which is in its final stages of construction. The water reservoir cost R7.8 million. The mayor then went to the Mangwaneni water treatment plant. “I am so happy with the work done by the contractors and hope communities will soon get clean water,” said Ndobe.He said their vision is to ensure Harry Gwala District Municipality is the leading water service provider in KwaZulu-Natal by the year 2030.Ndobe reflected on the challenges faced and progress made so far. He tackled unemployment in the district, assuring residents that the municipality was fighting the scourge and was creating permanent and temporary job opportunities. “In our endeavour to create employment and reduce poverty, we have created a huge number of job opportunities through local economic development,” said Ndobe.He said in this financial year their budget is below a billion rand, but they are committed to make sure communities are getting service delivery.Ndobe said they indentified drought hot spots following the collapse of water schemes.“Our water schemes collapse is due to the drying up of our source of water in Kokstad because of ageing infrastructure leading to the spillage of sewage,” he said. He said they decided that municipal management and their service provider must help to resolve the problem of water and sanitation in Kokstad.“At our last council meeting we resolved to form a rapid response team that will respond immediately to the challenges of water and sewer in our communities,” said Ndobe.