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July 18 is the Mandela International Day celebration, and President Jacob Zuma has urged South African to clean up the city. The African National Congress (ANC) government urges all citizens to dedicate the 67 minutes on Mandela Day to clean up schools, clinics, cities, towns and villages. Zuma said that some activities people could engage in are picking up litter and cleaning up streams, plus other meaningful ways one can revamp South Africa. Zuma is calling on all citizens to participate and make South Africa beautiful.
Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, speaking on behalf of Zuma, said it is a collective effort for all South Africans to improve the surroundings, and people must do their part for a major clean up. Private and public sectors are called to participate and dispose of waste in an environmentally friendly way. President Zuma will participate with other members of the ANC party to clean up South Africa.
Mandela Day is a call for action to address real problems in communities and dedicate 67 minutes to contribute to assisting with issues that can make a difference. The United Nations in recognition of Mandela’s values and dedication to humanity was officially declared July 18 the Nelson Mandela Day in November 2009.
Cape Town, Pretoria, and Pietermaritzburg are the voted the cleanest cities in South Africa. Cities such as Johannesburg are rated a dirty city with substantial filth lining the streets of the inner city. Torn garbage bags, overfilled dustbins, and litter scattered all over the place leave the city looking like a slum city. The municipality infrastructure of the government charged to undertake the responsibility of cleaning up the cities apparently does not remove waste on a regular basis, and this creates problems of the filth accumulating. Johannesburg city is a place where many hawkers sell their wares on the pavements, cluttering up the town and neglecting to clean up their mess.
The increase of squatter camps and shacks bordering most cities are filthy and lack the necessary infrastructure of running water and electricity. The shack dwellers live in dirt, using hired toilets and shared facilities. The conditions are serious, raising health concerns as more and more people are forced to find a place of shelter due to unemployment and other pressing issues. The overcrowding of these shack dwellings does need a good clean up and perhaps the call by Zuma to dedicate 67 minutes to clean up on Mandela Day will make a difference.
The call to clean up the cities on Mandela is a gesture many people would inspire to assist with, and turn the slum areas into a reasonably orderly place to live. While 67 minutes of cleaning up the cities, might help for a day, South Africa needs a clean up on a regular basis to ensure decent living conditions for citizens. The call by the South African Government to clean up the city for Mandela Day is another determined effort to ensure the welfare of its people is all that counts, even on a temporary basis.
By Laura Oneale
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