On the 2nd of November 2016, the Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Ms. Barbara Thomson officially handed over a Waste Buyback Centre located near section 6 in Madadeni and two Recreational Parks, one at section 5 in Madadeni (near Sabelo High School) and the other one at Osizweni in ward 13. The Deputy Minister, Newcastle Mayor; Cllr Makhosini Nkosi, Newcastle Municipal Manager; Mr. Errol Mswane, officials from the Department of Environmental Affairs and the Newcastle Municipality started by visiting the parks and the Buyback Centre where the projects were officially opened, followed by the main event which took place at Osizweni Community Hall.
The Newcastle Municipal Manager Mr. Errol Mswane presided over the meeting at Osizweni Community Hall, where community members were addressed. Mayor Nkosi welcomed all stakeholders involved in the project. He outlined the importance of continuous consultation with the community by emphasizing that there will be regular constituency meetings in the wards where members of the community will be afforded an opportunity to raise their concerns with matters concerning the Municipality.
The Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Ms. Barbara Thomson mentioned that the Department through its Environmental Protection and Infrastructure Programme has funded the two projects to the tunes of R19 million. The local members of the community benefited in the projects hence 240 job opportunities were created through the Departments Extended Public Works Programme (EPWP).
The Buyback Centre will assist the Municipality to address the challenge of waste management and promote the recycling in the area. The facility will also stimulate diversion of recyclable waste from landfill sites, thereby creating economic opportunities for waste collectors. The recreational parks have been built to benefit the historically disadvantaged areas with the focus on sustainable development in the greening and open space management areas.
The Deputy Minister commended Newcastle Municipality for its accolades for the Greenest Town Award for three consecutive years and persuaded the Municipality to continuously uphold that trend.
Members of the community who were beneficiaries in these projects benefited by gaining training opportunities in various fields including occupational health and safety as well as personal financial management, thereby the beneficiaries will be employable elsewhere in future.
In here closing remarks, Ms. Barbara Thomson pleaded to members of the community to ensure that the environment is alive and protects the projects built in their respective areas as these projects belong to them.