Mayor wants to clean up city

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Mayor wants to clean up city

Windhoek mayor Sade Gawanas has urged all stakeholders to intensify efforts to clean up the city to reclaim its title as the cleanest city in Africa.

She was addressing the first ordinary council meeting last Tuesday afternoon. Gawanas said she has noticed with concern that the city is becoming filthy, especially in the central business district (CBD) and at some shopping centres.

“Our programmes around ‘my waste, my responsibility’ should be strengthened by engaging stakeholders in the public and business sectors, employees and schools alike,” Gawanas suggested.

 City spokesperson Harold Akwenye indicated that a stakeholders’ meeting would take place soon to map the way forward. 

“The items under discussion in that meeting, to name a few, will be the need to enforce the bylaws, new trading areas/markets to be identified to move those hawking in the streets and the CBD, and that illegal traders need to be identified and removed,” he pointed out.

Akwenye said one of the contributing factors to the filthiness of the city is the influx of people into the city, which is hard to control.

“So many people are now moving to the city, seeking job opportunities and greener pastures. It is hard to control, as people are selling their items from everywhere. Therefore, the stakeholders will come together to strategise how we are going to claim back our first position in terms of being the cleanest,” he added.

Akwenye said although their open markets are designed for trading, vendors have chosen to move to the CBD to take the business to the people.

“The open markets are there, but our people have chosen to come to town where there is movement of people because they think customers are not frequenting the markets enough. Now, when they finish selling, they leave the places very filthy and full of waste,” he emphasised.

One of the solutions will thus be to enforce the law, whereby any person found trading illegally would be arrested, as was the case in the past.

 Akwenye further indicated that the city has partnered with MTC to start a cleaning-up campaign soon as they are identifying areas that need to be prioritised.

The head of the European Union (EU) Delegation to Namibia, Sinikka Antila, urged the City of Windhoek to utilise the means available under the solid waste management project to bring Windhoek back to its position of cleanest city in Africa.

Antila was speaking during the virtual signing ceremony between Bremen, Germany and the City of Windhoek on an EU-funded solid waste management project on Monday.

She said although Windhoek still featured among the 10 cleanest cities in Africa, it scored fifth place after Kigali, Port Louis, Cape Town and Tunis. 

“Let it be our mutual ambition and let’s utilise the means available under this new project – roughly 2.2 million euro (N$36.8 million) – to bring it where it was some years ago! In the first place, let us jointly set the path for a cleaner, healthier and more sustainable Windhoek,” she stated.

Khomas governor Laura McLeod Katjirua last week admitted that the city is not clean, but its cleanliness must be the collective responsibility of the service providers and the service recipients.

“Inasmuch as we want to avoid littering, as service providers, we must also be hands-on to provide the needed resources and equipment to curb or discourage the littering behaviour,” she noted.

“I urge the loyal inhabitants of the Khomas region to instill a culture of promoting a clean working and living environment,” she continued.