Ambitious township cleanup project fails to start
A R5.8m project destined to clean up Nelson Mandela Bay’s townships and northern areas has failed to get off the ground though it was meant to start on December 1.
The “clean and green” project was also meant to provide 200 temporary jobs between December 1 and February 28.
It was initially stalled when public health portfolio head Yolisa Pali twice withdrew the report before it was meant to be presented to the mayoral committee, claiming she need- ed to familiarise herself with the details.
This saw acting public health boss Tsietsi Mokonenyane write to then-acting city manager Noxolo Nqwazi requesting she intervene and fast-track the start of the project.
The original plan was to implement the project from November 1 to December 31 – before an anticipated increase in the volumes of rubbish over the festive season.
It was eventually given the green light to start on December 1.
But on Wednesday, Moko- nenyane said the project was delayed as the festive season beach cleanup took priority.
“As far as I know this project did not take off. The programme was competing with the beach cleaning.”
“I am also aware that the EPWP fell short and couldn’t find people to do the work,” Mokonenyane said.
Mokonenyane said the department was likely to request the project be extended.
In November, Mokonenyane warned any further delays would result in:
● An increase in illegal dumping;
● Further delays in the turnaround time for complaints;
● The amount of litter would be doubled; and
● Underspending on ward-based community projects as the budget would not be spent in the time frames as planned.
ACDP councillor Lance Grootboom, who serves on the public health portfolio committee, said he was concerned that the townships and northern areas had been neglected to prioritise the city’s beach cleanup.
“You can’t prioritise the beaches. Not everyone goes to the beaches and people don’t live on them. They live in communities,” Grootboom said.
“Had this project started on November 1, this would have never happened. This is happening because it was delayed.
“Their late approval has put a lot of pressure on officials and now they can’t implement the project.
“As a result, the same people who were at the beaches are now back in the townships and it’s dirty. We can’t blame officials for this.”
Grootboom said he was especially disappointed as hundreds of unemployed people could have had jobs during the festive season. Ward 34 DA councillor Johnny Arends said: “It would really help if this project had started because people are desperate for jobs and it would have been a big help because our communities are dirty.”
An ANC councillor, who asked to not to be named, said the delay had in fact seen an increase in illegal dumping and littering in the townships.
“The municipality is not even able to explain. It’s dirty in the township. I am not lying about this,” he said.
Municipal spokesperson Mthubanzi Mniki said by De- cember 1 municipal staff had gone on leave and the city had no capacity to proceed with the project.
“There is a clear commitment by the municipality to keep this city clean and restore the dignity of those who have been left to live in squalor and unhealthy conditions,” Mniki said.
He said the project would start in February.