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Cape Town secures R50m for green job creation, ecological restoration

The City of Cape Town has signed a three-year Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with the Natural Research Management (NRM) Programme, receiving R50,4m to create 1,300 green jobs for entry-level job-seekers who will assist the City with the removal of invasive species and the ecological rehabilitation of local ecosystems.
©Olena Yakobchuk via 123RF

The three-year programme will be managed by the Invasive Species Unit (ISU) which falls within the City’s Environmental Management Department.

The MoA is part of the Working for Water (WfW) project, a flagship project at the NRM which is being managed by the National Department of Environmental Affairs. The purpose of the programme is to support the integrity of South Africa’s natural resources through a range of public employment programmes including Working on Fire, Working for Wetlands and Working for Water.

Freshwater, terrestrial ecosystem improvement

"The ISU will receive R15m in this financial year alone which will assist us to create 699 jobs. However, the total funding from the NRM amounts to R50,4 over three years. We estimate we’ll be able to employ a minimum of 1,293 people over this period. One cannot overstate the importance of this programme – firstly, for those who will benefit through job opportunities and access to training; and secondly, for the City to improve the condition of our freshwater and terrestrial ecosystems," said Alderman Marian Nieuwoudt, the City’s mayoral committee member for spatial planning and environment.

The green jobs are aligned with the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) which provides opportunities to women, in particular, young people between the ages of 18 and 25 years, and people with special needs.

"Those who are employed through the EPWP get the opportunity for on-the-job training. Thus, once they leave the programme, they have new skills that will make it easier for them to find permanent employment or to earn an income with the new knowledge they’ve acquired," said Nieuwoudt.

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The ISU will implement invasive species programmes to remove water-thirsty pine and eucalyptus species in the catchment areas feeding the Wemmershoek and Steenbras Dams. Among these removals are plants, wasps, house crows, mallard ducks and guttural toads, all of which poses a threat to Cape Town’s indigenous flora and fauna.

To the north of the city, teams will work in the catchment area of the Atlantis Aquifer. Working alongside a host of partners and stakeholders, City teams will assist in clearing 100 hectares of invasive plants in the aquifer’s primary recharge zone.

"The ultimate aim is to replenish at least 60 million litres of water to the Atlantis Aquifer and thus to secure City’s long-term water supply," said Nieuwoudt.
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