Glitz and glamour were the order of the night as nature warriors swapped their overalls for cocktail dresses and bowties. The scene at Phillip Sanders resort was filled with ambiance and enthusiasm from the competitors awaiting to hear if their municipality has won.
The inaugural Free State Cleanest and Greenest Municipality Competition Awards were held on the evening of 03 March 2017, and most of the municipalities who entered the competition were present to receive recognition for the part they are playing in conserving our natural resources and cleaning our environment.
In line with the National Waste Management Strategy that was initiated by the Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), the department of Economic, Small Business, Tourism and Environmental Affairs (DESTEA) is to maintain a clean, safe and healthy environment for current and future generations, it is of cardinal importance that the implementation of capacitating programmes in municipalities for local government support is activated. The Cleanest and Greenest Municipality Competition Awards falls in line with this mandate.
In his keynote address, MEC for DESTEA Dr. Benny Malakoane said, “The problem of environmentally unfriendly towns and municipalities and how patrons easily pick up bad habits that are destroying our environment.” The MEC stressed that, “these negative behaviours play a part in the preservation or destruction of our environments, thus the need to teach the next generation about greening and cleaning of their own settlements in order to make our environment healthier to live in.
The dirty settlements and areas such as taxi ranks may cause social determinant diseases that may be a result of sewerage spills and bad waste management. Environmental awareness should be part of schools’ curriculum to instill the practice of nature preservation from an early age.”
The objectives of the competition is the promotion of a clean and healthy environment in all the selected Provincial Municipalities through greening, cleaning and beautification exercises. Employment of annual contract workers in all the selected Municipalities, to promote the concept of Community Parks by involving the youth within the concept of the National Youth Service Corporations (NARYSEC) and the Youth Environment Service (YES) project.
To create clean living spaces by inspiring communities to clean-up, fix up and conserve their environment. To change attitudes by raising awareness and educating the Free State nation on good waste management practices and encourage local municipalities and their communities to take part in the minimisation of waste in their towns and townships by participating in greening initiatives.
The competition aims to encourage and ensure sustainable development by creating job opportunities through the practice of appropriate and effective greening, cleaning, recycling and waste management programmes as well as supporting local municipalities within the context of this project to promote best practises in environmental management practise through capacity building.
The adjudication of the different categories were in line with these objectives. The big winners on the night were as follows:
- The schools competition award went to Sechaba se Maketse High School who also received laptops for the learners and teachers,
- The PETCO Company walked away with the best supporting company for waste recycling facilities, they were also honored for their training and awareness programmes as well as their donation of equipment to those recycling facilities.
- The cleanest ward went to Parys, Ngwathe and,
- The best municipality in job creation through environmental projects was awarded to Maluti-a-Phofung.
- The biggest winner on the night was Clarens, scooping three awards in the best LM cleanest and greenest programmes implemented, and the cleanest ward.
- The best township conservancies and/or public participation, as well as the cleanest town.
Special awards were presented to environmental officers in recognition of their special contributions to programmes such as air quality, waste management, environmental municipal official, participating municipal individual in EPWP environment and culture sector and best supporting official in environmental affairs.
The patrons were serenaded by the soulful sounds of the Free State’s very own starlet Jah Rose and the most memorable performance of the night was the “My environment, my life” poetic presentation by DESTEA’s epitome of environment Ntate Patrick Matlokotsi, who took the audience on a journey of how it all started, life, earth, environment. The passion coming from him and filling the room instilled a sense of love for our environment and hope for a cleaner, greener society for this and the next generation.
“People should always use CANS, which stands for Care About Nature Sustainability!” said Ntate Matlokotsi.
Issued by the Department of Economic, Small Business Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs: For more details, contact Libokanyo Mokhadinyana, Kagisho Leteane, Lebogang Maloale or Setshogo Moloko at firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com 051 400 9631/9550