Waste pickers get their wheels

Residents during the official launch of the waste pickers pilot project.

Tembisa resident, Mr Maluleke, was among the 200 Gauteng informal waste pickers who received motorised three-wheeler vehicles during the official launch of an ambitious multi-million Rand waste pickers pilot project at Mehlareng Stadium on September 3.

The project was officially unveiled by the Premier of Gauteng, David Makhura.

The project is expected to create jobs, establish new enterprises and stimulate the local green economy.

Gauteng premier David Makhura, MEC Lebogang Maile and MMC Ndosi Shongwe hand over the keys of a three-wheeler to Mr Maluleke of Tembisa.

Makhura handed over 200 branded three-wheelers with the immediate impact of employing 200 drivers and 200 assistants. About 50 Tembisa waste pickers benefited.

Makhura said: “As Gauteng Provincial Government we have decided to invest substantial resources to ease the burden of these fellow citizens as they do the important work of cleaning and recycling waste. As a major generator of waste in our country, Gauteng has an opportunity to lead the waste management revolution.”

Gauteng contributes more than 50 per cent of the country’s waste.

Gauteng Premier David Makhura with one of the beneficiaries, Mr Maluleke, during the handing over of 200 motorised three-wheeler vehicles.

There are more than 74 000 informal waste pickers across South Africa and 50 000 informal waste pickers and recyclers in Gauteng.

Makhura said the South African Waste Pickers Association was an important partner in the campaign to clean cities and turn waste management and recycling into a sustainable economy that provides jobs.

Each vehicle costs around R100 000 and this programme will generate 2 000 jobs.

“We are of the view that recycling must be the ‘new normal’ in Gauteng. The approach of throwing away waste is not sustainable. If we continue to just throw old products into landfills we are not only harming our environment but also we are missing an important opportunity to benefit from usable resources,” Makhura said.

“As Gauteng, we must act with urgency to upscale our waste management interventions. We must work hard to contribute to the national effort to reduce waste generation by 50 per cent.”

He said according to the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, the formal waste sector in South Africa was estimated to be worth at least R15.3-billion and it employed a minimum of 29 833 people.

Furthermore, the waste recycling sector has been growing at an average annual rate of 23.7 per cent over the past few years and is a significant provider of employment for low-skilled workers.

Gauteng MEC for Economic Development, Environment, Agriculture and Rural Development, Lebogang Maile, addressing the community at Mehlareng Stadium.

Malebo Tseke

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