Call to keep Parkwood canal clean

A contractor and local labour had been busy with a project including the removal and disposal of biomass and litter at Parkwood canal, which ended in June.

When a canal in Parkwood had to be cleaned earlier this year, it was through the initiative of a young resident that the job got done – and that local people were included in the teams that did the work.

Earlier this year, when Robern Williams, 19, called on the City of Cape Town to clean the canal, contractor Hygiene Services, was given the tender to do the work.

However, Mr Williams insisted they use local labour as well, which resulted in Parkwood residents being trained in water safety, health and safety and First Aid, and then included in the clean-up teams.

That was in June. And Mr Williams hopes that now that the canal is in need of another cleaning, locals will once again benefit from employment opportunities.

“We have been equipped with waders and the community team were given the necessary experience of (working in) the inland waterways.”

Mr Williams said he believed in creating opportunities to engage youth in looking after their environment. “The residents have been complaining about this canal – that everyone dumped their garbage and sewage water. This can be very unhealthy and unhygienic for our children that’ve been playing in this canal.”

City spokesman Luthando Tyhalibongo said the Parkwood canal was under the management of Water and Sanitation Department’s Catchment, Stormwater and River Maintenance Branch and and was included in their annual maintenance schedule.

“In the 2020/21 financial year, the Green Jobs Unit which forms part of the Environmental Management Department, assisted the Water and Sanitation Department with the cleaning of the canal in line with the maintenance schedule for this site.”

Parkwood residents hard at work to keep their canal clean.

Mr Tyhalibongo added that Hygiene Services’ tender focused on the “control of terrestrial and aquatic invasive plants and removal and disposal of biomass and litter from sites within the South Region/Areas of the City”.

Projects implemented under this tender, including the Parkwood canal project, formed part of the City’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP), he said.

“The City’s EPWP encourages contractors implementing various tenders to employ job seekers from communities where projects are planned and implemented.

“This was the case in the Parkwood canal cleaning project where a total of 15 job-seekers from the local community were employed by Hygiene Services,” said Mr Tyhalibongo.

When asked if the City would repeat this process or make this initiative permanent, Mr Tyhalibongo, said the two departments – Environmental Management and Water and Sanitation – had agreed to work together again in the current financial year to implement this project and this arrangement would hopefully continue.

“In line with City’s EPWP this will offer yet another group of local residence employment, skills development and training opportunities,” he said.