2H – Recycling-clean-up benefits community

Supporting article H: The Western Cape is getting its ‘environmental’ house in order: Helping its people and promoting its environment.


The Western Cape Clean-up Operation was initiated in 2001 by the Western Cape Department of Environmental and Cultural Affairs and Sport. It was launched on World Environment Day, 5 June 2001 by the Chief Directorate of Environmental Affairs. During the first year, the Western Cape Clean-Up Operation established a small grant facility to fund projects initiated by Non-Governmental Organisations, (NGO’s), Community Based Organisations, (CBO’s) and Municipalities.
START: 2001
END: 2002
STATUS: Completed

Recycling is the process by which materials otherwise destined for disposal are collected, remanufactured and reused. This includes materials such as, paper, cardboard, tins, glass and certain types of plastic.

Oasis Association for the Mentally Handicapped

This organisation is running two workshops, in the southern suburb, Claremont and the northern suburb, Kuilsriver. These workshops provide employment for 344 workers with intellectual disabilities, of whom 33 are employed at the recycling project. The employees are transported to and from their homes by transportation provided by OASIS. The project involves participation by members of the community as well as members of OASIS. Community members bring their recyclable materials to OASIS where it is sorted before recycling.

“The funding received assisted us in the refurbishment of the Waste Management Depot at the Claremont workshop and provided our workers as well as the public with a safe and hygienic living and working environment. Paper, cardboard, newspaper, plastic, glass and metal are recycled at this facility. People with intellectual disability have little vocational and social opportunity to interface with the public but due to this recycling project they are provided with the opportunity to interact with hundreds of people dropping off recyclable waste. This assisted to demystify intellectual ability, create credibility for their productive abilities and build their dignity and self-esteem. The recycling workers won three awards during the period 2001/2002 namely a Merit Award at the inaugural Western Cape Provincial Environmental Awards, a Green Trust Award for community projects and a Cape Times/ Caltex Environmental Award.”
Marcelle Peuckert – Oasis

Mitchell’s Plain Community Development Co-operation

The Material Recovery Facility, (MRF), serves as a facility for the receiving, processing and distribution of recyclables. They have focused on households and shopping centres in the Mitchell’s Plain area to provide the project with recyclable waste that is later transported to the facility where the recycling process begins. Initially, the organisation had registered 6 500 households but with plans to increase the households to 50 000 in the near future.

“The facility received 25 tons of commingled waste per month which, when processed amounts to 20 tons of saleable materials and 5 tons for landfill disposal – a massive reduction of landfilled waste!”
Ian Fortuin
Mitchells’ Plain Community
Development Co-operation

Ladismith Action Group

This NGO is working in collaboration with the Kannaland Municipality in collecting recyclable material in the Ladismith area and to use it for producing goods that can be sold as crafts. Items that have been produced thus far include candleholders, flowerpots, chairs, etc.

“The public is very enthusiastic about the project and has given its’ full support where possible. An environmental awareness attitude has now been created. Recyclable materials collected in the area, are used to produce goods that can be sold as crafts. This has not only begun to clean-up the areas but has also developed an alternative method of income. The project will be self-supportive in the future through the income generated form the craft selling.”
Hennie Smit
Ladismith Action Group



The greening projects focuses mainly on the planting of trees and vegetable gardens in order to improve the appearance of these areas as well as to create an alternative method of income.

Tsoga Environmental Resource Centre

Tsoga Environmental Resource Centre, a NGO, based in Langa, Cape Town, has implemented a project in Samora Machel, Philippi that consists of 300 participants focusing on cleaning, greening and waste management. The organisation initiated the food gardening in 60 households and the project will expand to the remaining 240 households in phases with the assistance of trained personnel. Tsoga is also implementing a similar project at the Mvula Primary School in Lusaka, Nyanga, where the Western Cape Clean-up Operation was launched on 5 June 2001.

“The project was to target 300 households for backyard gardens and door-to-door waste collection. To date 130 households are actively involved in food gardens. The group of women involved in the food garden activities have also produced bags and hats from the recyclable waste. The community felt that this project, through the training programmes, instilled a sense of responsibility in each individual towards their socio-economic environment. We wish to express our sincere gratitude for the financial support the department has rendered to the needy community of Phillipi and Mvula Primary School”
Nomtha Dilima
Tsoga Environmental Resource Centre



The Western Cape Clean-up Operation assisted local authorities financially to enable them to create clean environments for the communities in their area of jurisdiction. Municipalities who were lacking the resources to provide basic clean-up services in these areas were funded to start up these services. These projects were mostly funded on a 50/50 basis. The municipality only required the start up cost, where after the services would be sustained by the municipality.

George Municipality

George Municipality employed twelve community contractors who were instructed to employ an additional seven personnel, to clean up townships in the greater George area. Each contractor is responsible for cleaning the streets and for the removal of litter caused by illegal dumping. The public is working together with the Municipality and the contractors in keeping their areas clean by reporting those individuals or companies that are practising illegal dumping.

“The main objective of the project has been achieved. The overall impression of George and its’ surroundings is that of a cleaner town. The public became aware of the difference being made by the project and supported the initiative. They also now make use of the formal refuse removal service instead of dumping it on sidewalks and open grounds. Schools also take part in the project and organised several mini clean-up campaigns. Businesses cooperated by sponsoring refuse containers and educational handouts for all participants.”
G.F. Goosen
George Municipality

Knysna Municipality

The Knysna Municipality applied for funding to clean-up areas impoverished with illegal dumping, car wrecks, and litter. The municipality accepted greening proposals from various schools, where they have planned to plant trees. Schools also took part in clean-ups and as a result, massive amounts of waste were removed in Knysna/Sedgefield and Rheenendal.

“Our project has been a great success. To date a total of 7 074 bags of waste and 62 car wrecks have been removed in the Knysna/Sedgefield/Rheenendal area. The department has received numerous compliments on how clean certain parts of our town are. Funding received from the department has assisted us greatly in this venture in the financing of projects that otherwise would not have been possible”
Steven Langlands
Knysna Municipality

Oudtshoorn Municipality

The Oudtshoorn Municipality appointed contractors to clean-up Dysselsdorp and Blomnek, adopting the strategy they implemented in Oudtshoorn. The project created job opportunities for 15 contractors and 2-truck drivers. Contractors are responsible for cleaning up their areas by removing garden refuse, litter and scrap metals. Skips and trailers were purchased for the collection of refuse. The Municipality will sustain the project.

“The funding granted to this Municipality made it possible to acquire the required equipment whilst the remainder of the grant was utilised to cover the cost of the contractors wages. Without the Western Cape Clean-up Operation grant it is highly unlikely that the Oudtshoorn Municipality would have been able to introduce the said service in both Dysselsdorp and Blomnek simultaneously.”
Jacques Bruwer
Oudtshoorn Municipality
Saron Community Service

Saron  Municipality

This community organisation was funded to clean-up within the Saron community, by sweeping streets, picking up litter in the rivers and clearing bushes that contributed to the high crime rate. The clean-up and rehabilitation of these areas and structures contributed to the promotion of tourism in the area. The community and several schools were actively involved in the clean-up of the Saron area. This project created 160 temporary jobs for the people of Saron.

“Without the assistance from the Western Cape Clean-up Operation, it would not have been possible to get this project off the ground. It contributed to the eradication of poverty in our local community. The community became aware of the environment and the importance of the positive impact that it has on our lives.”
Julene Burger-Alkanster
Saron Community Service


The educational projects concentrates on general environmental education and awareness which includes, waste management, conservation of natural resources and the protection of wildlife species.

Zeekoevlei Environmental Education Programme

The Zeekoevlei Environmental Education Programme was able to establish a brand new night facility on the shores of the Zeekoevlei Nature Reserve, on the Cape Flats. The programme often included a visit to the Strandfontein sewerage works and the landfill site. This gives learners an understanding of not only the natural environment, but also an opportunity to gather knowledge on waste management and resource conservation in the metropolitan area.

“The funds provided by the Western Cape Clean-up Operation have enabled us to run 18 environmental education camps from January to April 2002. During this time 557 campers have spent 3 days and 2 nights learning about the environment and developing a love and a care for our natural resources. As the aim of the ZEEP trust is to enable previously disadvantaged groups to participate, we had groups from, Phekezela High School, Langa Environmental Club and several Cape Flats schools.”
Bevan Lill
Zeekoevlei Environmental Education Programme, ZEEP


The Western Clean-Up Operation, already in existence for a year, will continue for an additional two years. In the 2001/2002 financial year, the programme offered R4 741 million to projects contributing to the improvement of the physical environment. R3 million was allocated to municipalities and R1 741 million to NGO’s and CBO’s. This has already created over a thousand temporary jobs in the Western Cape.

The projects that are considered for funding must meet the overall objective of improving the physical environment, that amongst others includes, projects concentrating on reducing pollution and waste such as, recycling and composting, cleaning and greening projects, environmental education and awareness projects.

Local authorities that received funding from the Western Cape Clean-up Operation:

Job opportunities created by the Western Cape Clean-up Operation’s funds
• Breede River R521,000
• Mossel Bay R441,380
• Overstrand R426,275
• Beaufort West R300,000
• Kannaland R300,000
• Oudtshoorn R236,000
• Swartland R222,687
• West Coast R155,000
• George R129,158
• Prince Albert R110,000
• Knysna R88,000
• Garden Route R70,500

Non Governmental Organisations (NGO’s) that received funding from the Western Cape Clean-up Operation:
• LANOK PTY (LTD) Implementing agent R485,000
• The African Eagle Foundation R230,000
• Tsoga Environmental Resource Centre R215,000
• OASIS R154,513
• Manenberg People’s Center R150,000
• Mitchell’s Plain Community Development Project R103,400
• Saron Gemeenskapsdiens R88,000
• Bay Environmental Group R88,000
• Theatre for Africa R50,000
• O.W.L Haven-Lansdowne R50,000
• Zeekoevlei Environmental Education Programme R50,000
• Sinethemba Community Organisation R43,500
• Dale’s Community Cleaners R16,793.50
• Masimanyane Community Project R16,793.50
• Total: R1 741 million

• Sustainability of projects
• Economic benefits
• Job creation
• Linkage to other projects
• Co-funding by other sources
• Cleaner environment