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​​City scoops top green award
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Johannesburg Member of the Mayoral Committee for Environment and Infrastructure Services Councillor Matshidiso Mfikoe has welcomed the City of Johannesburg’s winning of South Africa’s Greenest Metropolitan Municipality Award.

The prestigious award, which carries a R3,5 million prize, was announced by Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs Barbara Thomson at the fourth edition of the Green Municipality Competition (GMC) in Tzaneen, Limpopo, earlier this week.

MMC Mfikoe said the honour would strengthen the municipality’s resolve and determination to build a city that offered a healthy, clean and safe environment in line with its Growth and Development Strategy 2040 (GDS 2040).

Speaking at the awards ceremony, Deputy Minister Thomson said the prize was tied to the implementation of waste, climate change and green economy-related job creation projects.

“Funding the competition is of great strategic importance, as it helps to galvanise municipalities to initiate projects that address their Integrated Development Plans and forge links with our Extended Public Works Programme mandate of creating temporary employment and offering skills development opportunities,” Thomson said.

Tiaan Ehlers, City of Joburg’s Executive Director: Environment and Infrastructure Services, said the prize money would be used to bolster the Schools Going Green Project during the 2015-2016 financial year.

Ehlers said the City entered several projects that helped it to win a Bontle Ke Botho Award in 2011-2012 in this year’s GMC.

These included the Johannesburg Zoo’s Biogas Digester, which powers the zoo’s kiosk kitchen; its wetland water recycling system, which purifies storm water and diverts it into Zoo Lake; the zoo’s small wetland system, situated in the tiger enclosure; and its vast solar photo voltaic system.

Other sites and projects assessed by the GMC panel were:

 City Power’s household smart metering system and the household solar geyser rollout in Alexandra;
 Pikitup’s Robinson landfill-to-gas project and the Zondi Buy-back Centre;
 Johannesburg Water’s Northern Water Works;
 City Parks innovative design and landscaping at the Diepsloot and Westpark Cemeteries;
 City Parks rollout of over 47 schools based food gardens
 City Parks free-to-use outdoor gyms at the Petrus Molefe Eco-Park and 9 other parks; and
 The Dobsonville bus rapid transit system depot, as well as the Metro Park and BKB participating school, Sgodiphola Secondary in Cosmo City. The GMC judges assessed the work and undertook site tours during 2013.
“Johannesburg City Parks and the Zoo as the custodians of horticultural and zoological services in the City, is committed to enhancing the Joburg’s ecological mandate while simultaneously offering residents the best outdoor experience in the city,” said the Managing Director, Bulumko Nelana.

“The award is testament to a city that works as a collective amongst the various tiers of government, the entities in the City of Joburg, its residents, the private sector and the media to build a vibrant Joburg that is green and healthy and encourages active lifestyles,” Bulumko added.