Unemployment, poverty, malnutrition, social ills and continued spread of HIV Aids and family violence are challenges that community daily. The communities live in dirty environments, polluted with waste that they generate and dispose of in open spaces. Driving around Kabokweni, Nsikazi, Bhuga, Manyeveni and other townships you are greeted by a pile of waste disposed of illegally. It is either burning, which is creating air pollution or thrown in rivers causing water pollution. It’s this reason that prompted a prominent businesswoman who is also a Pastor and Chairwoman of Hlayisani Centre of Hope to think of what can be done to help eradicate waste in communities. Since Hlayisani Centre of Hope is already helping the community of Bhuga with several humanitarian, health and social services to the community, she engaged Department of Social Development to help find solutions around waste management as part of a programme to solve Social Impact in the area.
The idea was well-received by Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane Zulu who is a champion of human development, especially rural communities, people with disabilities and disadvantaged youth and women. Various stakeholders came on board, and that gave Birth to Manyeveni Food For Waste Community Recycling facility. Coca Cola Beverages South Africa sponsored the building, EkoCentre and groceries for the Food for Waste Facility. Petco provided scale, mobile office, waste collection bags and various tools.
The facility is the first of its kind in the area, and it is anticipated to be fully functional in early 2020. The initial phase was launched on 30 October 2019. Various dignitaries from all over attended the launch. This included Deputy Minister of Social Development, Local Chief Khumalo, Local political leaders, Mtn Foundation, Heineken, Petco, Department of Environmental Affairs, Tshikovha Green and Climate Change and Tshikovha Graduates Academy, LadyBugz, Ehlanzeni District, National Lotteries Commission, Mbombela municipality, IUCMA, Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency, Councilors, Coghta, NDA, SASSA, Divhani Consulting, SAB Mila and several media houses.
Speaking at the political briefing and at the launch, Honorable Deputy Minister of Social Development, Hendrietta Bogopane Zulu spoke deeply about her commitment to fighting poverty and social challenges facing the communities. We all believe that one of the better ways is through an integrated approach for social programmes. She outlined how the main Hlayisani Centre of Hope came alive through support of SAB, MTN, Coca Cola beverages South Africa. They introduced a nutrition programme, computer Centre, free Wi-Fi, drop of Centre for young women with kids, sewing programme, ECD and other programmes. I want to see the community take advantage of the opportunity of these programmes, including the opportunity to obtain food through exchanging for recyclable waste. I have spoken to the Department of Environmental Affairs, Fisheries and Forestry to assist with proper training of waste classification to help community recycle waste, she explained.
The second phase of the project will see the integration of Hydroponic farming which will help communities to plough crops and make food. The project will improve compliance to the greening of procurement where crushed bottled will make tiles, and other kitchen tops while plastics that is not PRT will be used for making bricks which will be used for paving.
Mpumalanga Parks and Tourism Agency will support the project with employees for 12 months, and they will be paying the salaries through their YES initiative to complement the sustainability of the project
Pastor Maria Muhari could not contain her fulfilment and excitement about the project because she believes her community will benefit. I encourage you all to own this project and make sure you help the clean environment and make a living; she said as she encourages the community. Tsholofelo of Coca Cola Beverages spoke dearly of the commitment of the company to recycling and urged the community and municipality not to allow the facility to be a white elephant. She said it would be an honour for the brand to see the facility creating much-needed jobs.
Ntsako Baloyi, who was instrumental with the implementation of the project, said he was excited that the project has been launched and emphasized the need for the project to be sustainable and community to embrace it. Belinda Booker of Petco said they are in the business of recycling and supporting small businesses in recycling, and she believes the initiative is no longer just about environmental pollution but social cohesion. She further indicated that they would support the project where possible. Andrew Motha of Department of Environmental, Fisheries and Forestry commended Hlayisani Center of Hope for the efforts to change the lives of the locals and said the Department would assist with environmental awareness and training on community members.