Living up to her Budget Speech Policy undertaking to intervene in Nhlalakahle's Ward 7, Umvoti near Greytown, illegal dumping and proliferation of alien plants, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube joined forces with the local community, the Municipality and department employees to clean up the area and rid it of alien plants. Dube-Ncube deployed EDTEA's Invasive Alien Species Programme (IASP) and Good Green Deeds Campaign on Sunday to bring about some much-needed relief for the local residents. For some time, Nhlalakahle township, an expansive human settlement on the south western outskirts of Greytown has become synonymous with illegal dumping which posed huge challenges of air pollution, and a threat of disease outbreak. "We have been very concerned with this flagrant disregard of environment here in Ward 7. The community here does not deserve to be plunged into such trash. Illegal dumping is a violation of law and it should be stopped at all costs," said Dube-Ncube as she addressed thousands of residents at Nhlalakahle Sportsfield on Sunday. She said Umvoti thrives on commercial farmland and forestry is in fact the dominant economic activity within the municipality and the manufacturing sector makes the second largest contribution to the local economy. "However, there is good potential for the development of the tourism sector of the economy. Umvoti has an exceptional and distinctive opportunity to develop as a tourist area due to the easy access to the battlefields, Zulu Heritage and culture, and eco-tourism zones from the region," she said.
"This is all good, but negating all this is the prevalence of invasive alien species that are more dangerous and threaten our livestock, other indigenous plants and water resources. Just two months ago we were here in Masinga battling another invasive alien species, umthonti which is a Mexican species," she said. Alien invasive species within Umvoti Municipality invades natural ecosystems; which mainly include Nyokeni River that feeds to Umvoti River and tributary to Buffalo River thus massively contributes to changes on water quantity and quality in these catchment areas while invading agricultural production systems. "In addressing this challenge, and as part of Invasive Alien Species Programme expansion plan, we are initiating a clearing project within ward 7, 9 and 10 of Umvoti Municipality to control and manage the spread of alien plants. The project has a budget of R1.5 million. It aims at accentuating the importance of the environment and biodiversity in maintaining ecological integrity and resilience that underpin human survival, society’s well-being and economic development," said Dube-Ncube.
Dube-Ncube said the area needs more economic development interventions as the amount of economically inactive population has increased and indicates that the dependency rate is increasing. "Although, government has taken great strides in addressing the triple challenges, more still needs to be done. The project will thus create 90 work opportunities for the local unemployed people of Nhlalakahle, focusing mainly on women and youth," she said. Zooming in on Green Goods Deeds Campaign Dube-Ncube said the campaign seeks to change people's attitudes, behaviors towards responsible management of waste, and keeping their neighborhoods clean, green and safe." "The objective for the Good Green Deeds Campaign is a positive drive towards a clean South Africa which is free of litter and illegal dumping. Which then respond to Section 24 of the South African Constitution that states that 'everyone has the right to an environment that is not harmful to their health or well-being’.
Green Good Deeds Campaign is a call of action for all South Africans to partner in this initiative of keeping our neighbourhoods clean.
MEC with Acting HOD and Umvoti Municipality Mayor.
MEC Dube Ncube with Umvoti Municipality Mayor Mr Thami Ngubane.
Ms Nomsa Dube Ncube