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Gauteng changes township waste-pickers’ lives
Date: 9/18/2017
By Emmanuel Koro

Everything begins in Gauteng. This saying continues to be confirmed through the Gauteng Province’s pioneering achievements in different socioeconomic developments this century, not only in South Africa but in Africa.
In line with its trend-setting socio-economic developments, this month Gauteng Province became the first province not only in South Africa but in the African continent to launch the waste pickers’ pilot project that uses waste-collecting scooters. The scooter carries a one-tonne maximum load of recyclable waste.
“The people of Tembisa you are lucky,” said the Gauteng Premier, David Makhura who officiated at the waste pickers pilot project launch in Tembisa on Sunday 3 September 2017.  “We are the only government in the African content doing this and we want to expand the opportunity to make people benefit from the waste economy which is worth R17 billion in South Africa.”
The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, together with the Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Metro jointly donated 50 waste-collecting scooters to some of the waste pickers from South Africa’s third biggest township, Tembisa, after Soweto and Khayelitsha. The scooter collects a  one-tonne maximum load of recyclable waste per trip.
Like many other waste pickers in South Africa, some of  these beneficiary waste pickers from Tembisa Township  previously towed waste in hand-made carts. In most cases they just used to pulled big plastic containers filled with different types recycle waste, from morning to evening.
“This initiative is in line with the Gauteng Transformation Modernisation and Reindustrialisation Plan aimed at improving the socioeconomic wellbeing of our people,” said Gauteng MEC for Economic, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Lebogang Maile. “We are now helping Gauteng waste pickers to do their business in a better and modernised way.”
In the past, the beneficiary Tembisa waste-pickers’  task was not dignified as they often risked life, almost worked from dawn to dusk and risked losing life and limb on busy roads for a maximum payment  of R200 daily,  for a one-tonne load of  recyclable waste.
“Before receiving the waste collecting scooter, I would wake up early in the morning and come back home late in the afternoon and still cook for the family despite the fatigue,” said Ms .Tsakani Maswanganyi who has already built a house using money earned from waste collection.
Meanwhile, Premier Makhura has urged all mayors in Gauteng to work together under the Bontle Ke Botho
 (Beauty is humanity)  Clean and Green Campaign that is aimed at stopping littering habits through a hands-on promotion of a clean-up culture.  Re-launched in January 2016, this Campaign involves regular community cleans-ups, in order to create a litter-free Gauteng.
 
“I want all the mayors in Gauteng to work together on the Bontle Ke Botho Campaign,” said Premier Makhura. “Mayors should not just start new programmes just to make a statement that I am there.  We don’t want another new programme in Johannesburg when we have programmes that are already working.”
 
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