The City of Cape Town has been declared the cleanest city in South Africa, winning the Metro Category of the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism's Annual Cleanest Town/Cleanest Metro 2006/2007 awards at a prestigious ceremony in Gauteng on Thursday, 22 March. The Cleanest Town award went to the Swartland Local Municipality.
The announcement was made by the Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, Rejoice Mabudafhasi.
The awards took place alongside the National Waste Management Conference, organised by the Departments of Environmental Affairs and Tourism [DEAT] and Provincial and Local Government.
It is the second time Cape Town has won this bi-annual award, the first being in 2002. In 2004, the City was the second runner-up.
The award is accompanied by a R1m grant to be applied for development-related programmes and projects to sustain cleanliness in communities.
The City was entered into the Provincial competition and was then advanced to the National Competition for adjudication. The independent group of panellists selected and appointed by DEAT for their knowledge and experience of environmental, social and institutional matters visits cities and towns for the competition.
Rustim Keraan, the City's Director: Solid Waste Management, said it was a great honour for Cape Town to win the competition.
"We are grateful to be recognised in this way. It is a huge accomplishment and the result of massive effort put in by Solid Waste Management and Water Services to maintain existing high levels of service," he said.
Keraan said Cape Town, along with every other city in South Africa, urgently needed legislation to enhance and govern "extended producer responsibility".
"Our primary aim is waste minimisation - where manufacturers like bottle suppliers and publishing companies take their waste back into their supply systems and recycle it. There is no legislation obliging them to do so at present," Keraan said.
He added that a Waste Management Bill pertaining to this issue had been finalised and put out for public comment, before being promulgated later this year. It was imperative that this Bill deal effectively with the issue of waste management, and achieve the vital objective of waste minimisation.
Speaking at the awards, Mabudafhasi said: "Municipalities also have a huge role to motivate, train and coach communities to focus on waste management projects for the benefit of local socio-economic development.
"Every participant in the Cleanest Town Competition is a winner, regardless of not taking an award back home. The bigger incentive should be contributing to sustainable development and creating a legacy one would be proud to leave behind as a gift to future generations".
The adjudication team in the competition performed a comprehensive physical assessment of local living conditions, after which a score was awarded in various categories.
These included general area cleanliness, availability and quality of public open spaces, graveyards, sports facilities and sanitation facilities.
Emphasis was placed on assessing the eradication of the bucket system. These factors carried a 60% weighting in the score, while the other 40% was made up of an assessment of the utilisation of budgets and the availability and execution of strategies and plans.
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