Witsies dirty their hands for a cleaner Johannesburg

Wits DASO along with Witsies and community members came together to partake in the first clean-up in Braamfontein

Witsies, members of Wits Democratic Alliance Student Organisation (DASO), the City of Johannesburg and community members got down and dirty to clean up the streets of Braamfontein for the #AReSebesteng clean-up campaign on Saturday, September 30. 

 Volunteers and members of Johannesburg Metro Police cleaned outside Noswall Hall and around Bertha Street, picking up even the smallest items, like cigarette butts, and pulling out weeds.

First-year BA general student, Neo Makobo, who passed by during the clean-up said, “Braam is dirty and we want cleanliness, I think this concept should be encouraged broadly.” She was not aware that the clean-up was taking place around Braamfontein on Saturday, but seeing the volunteers encouraged her to join next time.

Chahracan Amod, Councillor of Ward 60 in Johannesburg, said that the volunteer campaign “strives to encourage residents to take care of the environment by promoting a culture of reducing, re-using and recycling of waste to ensure that Johannesburg becomes one of the cleanest cities in Africa”.

He added that by taking part in this initiative, Johannesburg residents can connect with one another while creating a space that they can be proud of. “Cleanliness is not next to godliness, cleanliness is godliness, and we need to encourage especially young people to take back the city collectively,” he said.

The monthly campaign was launched by Johannesburg Mayor Herman Mashaba last month. A Re Sebetseng, which means “let’s work”, is based on the African Clean Cities initiative established in Maputo, Mozambique, in April 2017.

Economic growth and increasing populations mean African cities are facing growing waste issues, one of the initiative’s partner organisations, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, said in a press statement. The African Clean Cities initiative aims to provide support in solving waste issues so that cities are able to achieve healthy living conditions and grow in an environmentally sustainable way, it added.

South Africa is not part of the 24 African signatories to the initiative.

Mashaba noted that he was also inspired by how clean Rwanda is and he said that country’s initiatives had influenced the A Re Sebetseng campaign. “I am a strong supporter of a model that promotes the city’s residents as the agents of change,” he wrote in the Daily Maverick.

Floyd Nyalungu, campaign manager for Daso Wits, encouraged more students to join the campaign to ensure a cleaner Johanneburg. “It’s an open invitation and everybody, not only Daso members should join,” he said.

The next clean-up will take place on Saturday, October 28, and the last Saturday of every month after that.

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Vulindlel’ eJozi to help youth get jobs

The city of Johannesburg is aiming to provide education and employment opportunities for 200 000 local youth by 2016.

The city of Johannesburg is aiming to provide education and employment opportunities for 200 000 local youth by 2016.

The announcement was made by the Parks Tau, Mayor of the City, at his State of the City address on Wednesday in Braamfontein.

Called Vulindlel’ eJozi, the initiative will enable young people to become participants in the economy on a step by step basis. The programme, which is due to be launched on the 1st of June this year, will begin by testing the aptitudes of young people enrolled in the programme, in order to provide them with tailor-made opportunities to suit individual skill sets. The programme aims to equip the youth with numeracy and literacy skills along with digital literacy giving the participants greater job opportunities.

As part of the digital literacy initiative, the City has partnered with the University of Johannesburg (UJ), to appoint 3000 youths who will work as digital ambassadors. These ambassadors will be responsible for promoting digital literacy training in their communities as the city rolls out free access to Wi-Fi in designated public hotspots. It is hoped that the work of these ambassadors will help more individuals make use of the opportunities provided by the free Wi-Fi. High-speed broadband access has already been launched in some of Braamfontein’s public places.

The Mayor also announced the rollout of an online university education programme in partnership with international institutions that will be made accessible through the city’s public libraries.

At the moment, 40 young people are enrolled on the programme which works through the Massive Open Online Varsity which provides a learning gat

 

Neighbourgoods customers out in the cold following city inspection

Braamfontein's Neighbourgoods market remained closed and empty till 11am this morning. Photo: Roxanne Joseph.

Braamfontein’s Neighbourgoods market remained closed and empty till 11am this morning. Photo: Roxanne Joseph.

Joburg’s biggest inner-city attraction, the Neighbourgoods market, left customers locked out this morning as employees protested inside the space in Braamfontein.

Over an hour after it was meant to open, workers started a protest against the closure as customers stood outside in the cold, following a surprise visit from City of Johannesburg inspectors which left the market close to a permanent shut-down.

Adam Levy, owner of the market, arrived to deal with the situation only to be told the market does not meet certain regulations and requirements and cannot continue to operate.

Food stalls were required to remove most of their gas cannisters from the premises and some even had to move their set-ups from downstairs to the open area upstairs.

Owners of clothing and jewellery stalls which were all set up and ready for the market to open at 9am, were angry as they felt any food and safety issues should not affect them.

“I have to pay my rent,” said Christopher Wagner of second-hand clothing store Asseblief. “If they shut down the market I’m setting up on the side of the street outside.”

According to Wagner, in the three years that he has been selling his clothing here, the City has shut the Market down at least three times.

With a construction site right next door to the ground level of the building, inspectors said it was “unhealthy and unhygienic to eat here,” according to Karabo Mashishi of the leather brand Wolf & Maiden.

Some customers made their way to a local coffee shop to wait for the market to open its gates while others left in frustration.

“I’ve heard that the market has had incidents like this before,” said Clive Fortuine, a regular Neighbourgoods customer. “Last year this happened a few times, apparently there were too many people inside.”

The market eventually opened just before 11am and although security initially closely monitored the number of people they let inside, it filled up quickly and business carried on as usual.