Work through waste

2018-11-27 06:01

A collaboration in the CBD is cutting down on litter while creating jobs.

A partnership between the Cape Town Central Improvement District (CCID) and Khulisa Social Solutions, dubbed the Long Street Project, has provided a job opportunity to five street people.

The project looks to manage the “tremendous amount of waste [that] gets generated” due to the high level of entertainment and retail activity on Long Street, CCID CEO Tasso Evangelinos explained at the CCID’s recent annual meeting.“What was happening was the result of the gap in time between venues putting out their municipal bins and the [City of Cape Town’s] Waste Services emptying these bins, and litter ending up on the streets when people rummage through the bins for recyclable materials,” he said.

“Through the project, a cleaning team – assembled via Khulisa’s Streetscape initiative – [will] micro-manage the waste collection process.”

The original pilot project took place in December last year, explains Richard Beesley, manager of the CCID’s Urban Management Department. The pilot project originally stretched along Long Street in the section between Hout and Church streets. It involved a total of 38 retailers. “Then, on 22 January, it was extended to run from Hout Street all the way to Castle Street, and an additional 15 businesses have been included.”

While the waste is still collected by the City, the project solves “the problem of the bins being left out in the streets for hours on end from the time they are put out until the City’s truck comes around to collect the waste”, he explains.

“Previously, people would rummage in the bins to search for recyclable materials, often leaving behind a mess in terms of litter discharged in the process. There was also the problem of bins being vandalised or even stolen. The Khulisa Social Solutions participants now micro-manage the process. They help to bring the bins onto the street later than usual – so the bins spend less time on the streets – keep an eye on them once they are out, and also monitor people searching through the bins to ensure that they clean up after themselves.”

The project has provided job opportunities for five street people beneficiaries and one supervisor, all of whom are participants in the Khulisa Social Solutions initiative, Beesley adds.

Jesse Laiten, the manager of strategic partnerships at Khulisa, says the project is part of an integrated approach to assist those living on the streets and struggling with substance misuse. “The goal is [to provide] through work, combined with needs-based psychosocial support, assistance to reconnect with their families and finding accommodation to normalise their lives, gain dignity and self-confidence so they can improve their well-being and contribute positively in society. The work is an essential part of this integrated approach. It provides the beneficiaries (like the rest of us) a chance to help themselves instead of being dependent on others,” she says.

Evangelinos added at the meeting: “The project is unique in that not only does it create work opportunities for street people while at the same time combating litter in the CBD and filling a need that the CCID’s regular cleaners are not able to fill, Khulisa also provides its participants with valuable social services. These include daily sessions with a counsellor and psycho-educational training, as well as assistance towards accessing health services and, hopefully, to ultimately help people to move off the streets.”

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