The early morning trolley pushers who conquer the streets of Johannesburg each day to move recycled waste are in for a remarkable Mandela Day treat.
As the world marks the centenary of the birth of former President Nelson Mandela by dedicating 67 minutes to good causes, Joburg based non-profit organisations Mzansi Mamela! and Momba Foundation will be pampering the WastePreneurs who operate in the northern suburbs of Johannesburg.
The two organisations will pull the waste loads of waste-pickers belonging to the WastePreneurs community initiative all the way from Greenside to the Newtown Recycling Centre in support of the informal entrepreneurs on Friday July 27, 2018. Residents and businesses in the area have been invited to join the 10km trolley walk, which will kick off at 8.30am at the WastePreneurs site at the Pirates Club in Greenside.
On the actual Mandela Day – July 18 – the organisations will give the wastepickers a chance to relax, treating them to a hearty lunch at Pirates Club with performances by kwaito artists Ishmael, Amajimbos and Nkiyase.
The wastepickers need all the support they can get. They are being dealt a blow by the City of Joburg which is against a WastePreneurs collection hub operating at the Pirates Club in Greenside. They are threatening to close the site.
Mzansi Mamela! Chief Executive Officer Mncedisi Mpofu said: “We are doing this walk to show support for the wastepickers. We want to acknowledge them. We sympathise with their struggles to earn a living every day. Not having the community support makes it even harder.”
“Wastepickers are considered the lowest of the low but they contribute to the environment and the economy. Their project should be able to continue,” added Zuza Mbatha, CEO of Momba Foundation.
There are an estimated 60 000 trolley pushing wastepickers across the country who are an integral part of the informal economy. They start their day hours before sunrise to get to the city’s more affluent suburbs to collect recyclable goods then trek across town to sell their waste in Newtown. South Africa produces 108 million tons of waste per year of which 90% ends in landfills and only 10% is recycled.
WastePreneurs ensures that the waste is sorted and reduces the amount that goes to the landfills. The community upliftment initiative allows wastepickers to drop recyclable goods at a site at the Pirates Club rather than travel to Newtown. This means they are able to increase their earning potential substantially by being able to
do multiple collections in a day.