Tswelopele Clean-up campaign, Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa
Tswelopele Clean-up campaign, Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa - ©City of Tshwane Municipality

Tswelopele Clean-up campaign

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Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality

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Main actors

City Government, Private Sector, Community / Citizen Group

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Project area

Whole City/Administrative Region

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Ongoing since 2018/06

In an effort to increase environmental awareness, the city of Tshwane has embarked on a monthly clean-up programme targeted at residents and businesses.

The Tswelopele Clean Up campaign was initiated through the Office of the Executive Mayor in the city of Tshwane, Gauteng, South Africa. On the first Saturday of each month, the Executive Mayor joins communities in cleaning-up their areas. The Mayor’s participation in the programme has drawn significant support from the private sector, who have partnered with the city to provide bags, gloves and refreshments to the participants. The programme has expanded whereby local communities are organizing their own clean-ups in problematic areas and the city provides a waste truck to assist them. Furthermore, it has created a platform where the city can further educate people about recycling.

Sustainable Development Goals

Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts
Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss
Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, South Africa

Size and population development
The Tshwane municipality covers 6,368km² of Gauteng Provence (19 055km²). The 2011 census recorded the total population at 2,921,488 with 464 persons km2 and a growth rate of 3.1% from the 2001 census. The largest group fall in the 15-64 demographic, making up over 71.9% of the population. The 0-14 demographic makes up 23.2% and the 65+ makes up 4.9%. The number of households is 911,536 with an average household size of 3. The racial makeup is comprised of, Black African (75.4%), Coloured (2.0%), Indian/Asian (1.8%) and White (20.1%]) First Languages include, Northern Sotho (19.9), Afrikaans (18.8%), Tswana (15.0%), Tsonga (8.6%), Other (37.7%). The unemployment rate is 24.2% with the youth unemployment rate recorded at 32.6%.

Main functions
The City of Tshwane is one of three capital cities of South Africa and is the largest municipality, as measured by land mass. Tshwane is the administrative capital and is home to the Union Buildings with government related business playing an important role in the local economy. The city hosts over 130 embassies, representing the second largest concentration after Washington D.C. An estimated 90% of all research and development in South Africa is conducted in Tshwane.

Main industries / business
The City has a vibrant and diverse economy, which enables it to contribute at least 26.8% of the Gauteng Province’s GDP and 9.4% of the GDP of the national economy. The municipality’s main economic sectors are community services and government, followed by finance and manufacturing and education.

Sources for city budget
Local government revenues come primarily from grants from central government funds and municipal rates.

Administrative structure
The City of Tshwane was established on 5 December 2000, through the integration of various municipalities and councils that previously served the greater Pretoria area. The new city of Tshwane has a Mayoral Executive System combined with a ward participatory system . The municipal council has 107 wards and consists of 214 members elected by mixed-member proportional representation. 107 are elected by first-past-the-post voting in 107 wards, while the remaining 107 are chosen from party lists so that the total number of party representatives is proportional to the number of votes received.

The city of Tshwane municipality has grappled with challenges relating to illegal dumping, littering and general pollution. In some areas around the city, waste has been deposited into water ways or storm water drains which overtime have become blocked and create challenges during times of heavy rain. Subsequently, the city embarked on a campaign to reduce illegal dumping and littering by creating a culture of environmental awareness.

The primary objective of the Clean-up campaign is to encourage communities to take collective responsibility for the natural environment around them. During the clean-ups, the city distributes black bags for non-recyclable waste and yellow bags for other recyclable waste. This helps to achieve the city's objective of diverting waste away from landfill sites.

The city of Tshwane aims to act as a point of contact with communities who want to drive initiatives aimed at cleaning up their local areas. In doing so the city strives to support these initiatives with existing resources as far as possible.

On the first Saturday of each month the city will conduct a Tswelopele clean-up in a different geographic location spread across the seven regions. Where possible, these clean-ups will also precede a public meeting so that residents can engage with the political leadership directly after the campaign.

At each of these individual launches the guiding framework should be as follows:

  • Active involvement from political leadership (EM and MMCs) on the ground
  • Time frames of 08:00 – 10:00 or 09:00 – 11:00 depending on availability of political leadership
  • Direct partnerships with local businesses (sourcing volunteers, sponsoring clean-up materials, providing water, etc)
  • Community partnerships with NGOs, churches, and volunteer groups
  • City of Tshwane regional support (staff, trucks to clear waste, cleaning equipment, etc.)
  • Media partners – targeting local community media (radio/print) in the run-up to particular launches to assist in communicating on the event and drive support
  • Social media – Utilization of both City of Tshwane and Executive Mayor’s social media accounts to generate interest in events. Acknowledge role of sponsors and supporting partners
  • Communications – Standardised website landing page to channel queries about Tswelopele and allow participants to register events that the city can actively promote.

The city administration works to ensure that as far as possible the programme has a limited budgetary impact. Through the initial launch, thousands of black bags along with hundreds of gloves and bottled water were sponsored by businesses in the city and this support has continued to include each campaign that is organized. Further to this, it has also allowed the city to support smaller campaigns that might be taking place in particular communities.

Key partner departments were the Regional Operations Centre teams and the Marketing and Communications team who make a small budget of $7,000 available to assist with branding.

As the campaign has progressed it has drawn significant enthusiasm from residents and businesses with smaller clean-ups being organized around the city. To date over 10,000 bags had been distributed to support volunteers and thousands of kilograms of waste have been collected.

Inter-governmental support has been difficult to achieve as has buy in from major national departments.

The clean-up campaign is easy to rollout and implement and would be transferable to other cities. Each month an operational plan is developed which indicates the location, meeting point and times and then distributed to residents and businesses well in advance.

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Jordan Griffiths
Gauteng , South Africa

Jordan Griffiths

Individual | Policy Advisor to the Mayor's Office

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