Modern, Growing, Successful Province

Address by the Premier of the Northern Cape, Dr Zamani Saul, at the Provincial launch of the Love Your School Campaign

Venue: Moshaweng High School, Loopeng Village, John Taolo Gaetsewe District
Date: 23 January 2020

Programme Director
Members of the Executive Council
Executive Mayors and Councilors
Our esteemed Traditional leaders present
Senior Management of the Department present
Principals, Educators and Learners
Organised labour
Members of the media
Distinguished Guests
Ladies and Gentlemen

We are here today as the two MEC’s have already mentioned to launch the Love Your School Campaign and it was not by chance that we decided on JTG for this very important campaign. We have found that the neglect and the negative impact on the environment and in our communities are most evident here. Therefore as the Provincial Government we took a decision to implement the Love your School Campaign as part of a broader campaign to not only raise awareness on the devastation caused by littering and unhygienic environments but also to forge a partnership with schools and communities to take ownership of our schools and all facilities established to advance learning and teaching.

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls

Our schools are very important assets that can be equated to National key points but we tend to treat them as irrelevant and of no importance. The condition of our schools is to a lesser degree as a result of poor maintenance but largely as a result of vandalism and deliberate actions of destruction and hooliganism.
As this Sixth Administration we are embarking on a journey to establish a Modern, Growing and Successful Province but we cannot achieve this on our own. We need each and every citizen of this Province to lend a hand and help us to achieve it. Not so that we as administrators can feel satisfied that we have achieved on the mandate we set for ourselves but knowing that all our people benefit from every initiative we implement.

In order to conduct our clean-up campaigns successfully we always invite and encourage the participation of municipalities, business community, civil society and the media. Charity begins at home; everyone has a role to play, from our homes to the streets, to our schools, churches, and even the parks. Let's keep our surrounding clean and manage waste correctly. This is particularly important because our country is one of the preferred hosts for international events.

The benefits of a clean environment are immense for not only our own wellbeing. It has the potential to lure investment for economic growth. Cleaning-up the environment not only creates a more pleasant place to live but also creates a good impression on prospective employers, investors, professionals, and tourists who may visit our areas.

Additionally, clean-up efforts may provide community health benefits such as the elimination of breeding sites for mosquitoes and other dangerous pests. Research indicates that keeping a neighborhood clean can reduce crime, fear, and feelings of helplessness in communities. Research also indicates that there are many positive links between a clean environment and how we feel about ourselves.

In comparing neighborhoods with varying levels of environmental cleanliness, researchers found the following positive trends amongst people living in clean environments:

  • Reduced symptoms of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children,
  • Greater effectiveness and less procrastination in dealing with major life issues,
  • Reduced acts of domestic violence,
  • Reduced occurrences of crime against people and property and
  • Increased feelings of safety, self-confidence and pride amongst members of the community.

Ladies and gentlemen

It is also very important that we all uphold the principles of reducing, recycling and re-using waste. When we follow these principles we are not only helping to combat serious environmental problems such as global warming but we could also create an income by turning trash into cash.

It has been proven that about 50% of a typical household bin's contents can be recycled and another 30% can be composted. Yet currently around 85% of our annual household waste still ends up in landfill sites.

The mixture of different materials accumulating in landfill sites often leads to surrounding land and water supplies being polluted. This is also associated with chemical reactions that produce toxic gases, predominantly methane, one of the most potent of all greenhouse gases.
By recycling waste instead of just dumping it in the bins, we not only reduce the volume of material sent to landfill but also reduce the amount of energy used to manufacture new products from raw materials and save the environment from degradation.

I want to appeal to every household to ensure that purchased materials are reused and recycled wherever possible. When we recycle more, we reduce the need for new resources to create products and this helps to reduce our impact on the environment.

Waste management and recycling has grown in leaps and bounds over the past few years and you too can create employment opportunities for young people in the communities you live. There are various ways in which communities can create work through projects that collect waste from where it is generated. One of the popular models used is the One Person Contract [OPC] in which individuals are responsible for collecting waste from households.

They take it to central points where another contractor with a vehicle will collect and transport it to a transfer station or for disposal. Individuals can then sort the waste into recyclables and non-recyclables. Recyclables can either be organic or inorganic waste.

At a buy back centre, people sell recyclable material they have collected. It is important to know that recycling companies pay only for materials they can use. It is therefore important to conduct research and obtain sufficient information about the type and quality of material to be recycled.
Organic waste can be used as compost, which can make an important contribution to soil fertility. Making compost is an opportunity for creating employment. Compost can be useful as fertilizers for community parks, agricultural fields, gardens and nurseries, which all create jobs within communities.

I mention this because education and awareness is an important priority and vehicle to facilitate long-term changes in attitudes about waste management in order to achieve our goal of sustainable patterns of production and consumption.

I would like to urge all of us, especially the municipalities to regard today’s launch as an eye opener and further encourage them to commence capacity building initiatives for their staff members and the community at large.

Other than the socio-economic values and benefits for taking care of our environments, provincial and local authorities have a constitutional obligation to create an environment that is safe and healthy for all.

The level of awareness on waste management issues varies significantly among members of the general public. There are only a few formal waste education, awareness and communication programs that are currently undertaken at local levels.
Therefore, there is a need for extensive education, awareness and communication programmes implemented by local authorities in consultation with representatives of civil society regarding the implications and implementation of waste management. Such programs should be targeted at members of communities who most vulnerable to environmental problems, especially women, elders,

Today we are making a commitment to reclaim our streets, public spaces, fight criminal elements and care for the environment that we live in through the campaign that we are launching at the school.

Learners, we are here today to launch the Love your School Campaign aligned with the broader aim of cleaning the environment and living healthier and more productive lives.

However, it does not end in school. It is something that you will take with you everywhere you go because from today, you are now ambassadors of the campaign. Therefore, practice the campaign in your homes and surroundings, educate others and keep your environment clean.

As I said in the beginning, learners, teachers and community members alike are responsible for the declining conditions of our institutes of learning. We want to reverse this norm and make each and every one of you an ambassador for a well looked after and protected school. In every way possible and no matter how small, we can make a difference.

When you see your school being vandalised, report it or stop it if possible but be careful not to compromise your safety in the process. When you see litter strewn about, pick it up and dispose in a bag for recycling. Do not waste water and report leaking taps to the principle and find ways where you can become involved in the maintenance and beautification of your schools.

It is a shame when we see school property and infrastructure being vandalised, damaged and stolen and we simply turn a blind eye. I want to emphasise that this school is yours and that of your children. Just as you protect and beautify your homes, so too should you fiercely protect your schools and all other buildings established to serve you.

We have as Government come today to assist where we can. This is from small repair work to beautifying the schools, planting trees and establishing food gardens. We unfortunately cannot remain here forever to see to it that trees and seedlings planted today will grow. We cannot remain behind to guard your schools. That is a responsibility you must take up.

We also need activists who will create awareness and promote good living hygiene and responsibility. Being more aware creates responsibility. And what does responsibility mean? It means the ability to respond. The more conscious you are in your ability to respond, the more creative you'll be.

My pleas also goes out to our young people to remain focused on creating that better life we aspire to. Do not be distracted by the destructive lifestyle of substance abuse and refrain from acts of violence, intimidation and bullying. Schools are institutions of learning and those providing education and guidance are our treasures and should be respected and treated as such. Stop bullying and promote respect amongst yourselves and your educators.

So please let us all take hands and work together so that we- together- can realize a modern, growing and successful Province.

I thank you

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