Sick of the mess in their area, Atteridgeville residents tackled illegal dumping. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi

Pretoria – The desire to live in a clean neighbourhood motivated Atteridgeville resident Lynton Setlhako to mobilise a giant clean-up at the weekend.

Setlhako said that when he could no longer stand walking the filthy streets he realised it was time to act.

He was joined by about 30 residents in the clean-up of Ward 51.

“We can’t always wait to be told to do something. If we see something that could easily be done, then we should (do it)."

“It only takes one willing mind to achieve something,” said Setlhako.

The group tackled areas where illegal dumping had occurred, and open spaces which he believes once cleared can be used for recreational purposes.

The group, many wearing overalls and masks, started with the open space in Seeiso and Mareka streets near the post office.

Other targeted spots that received attention from the clean-up crew were on Morwe and Mabowa streets, Ramokgopa Street next to the community hall and Monoa Street opposite the old Atteridgeville cemetery.

One of the group, Brian Tshabalala, who owns a business, said he had not hesitated to join the initiative.

“Being a businessman, I knew this call also involved me as I want to run my business in a clean environment.”

It was good for a community to start somewhere, and then the city authority could “meet us halfway”.

Tshabalala hoped other communities in the city would also take note and do the same.

“Townships can be clean! It is just up to the people living in them to make it so."

“Communities are capable of being anything they aspire to be,” he said.

Councillor Thabang Magodielo said he was extremely proud of the residents’ undertaking.

“It feels rather good to see people do something with no pressure or political motive; they are doing this without expecting any reward. This can only show a genuine dedication to a clean environment, not only by the city but the people living in it as well,” said Magodielo.

Setlhako, who takes a 10km walk daily, said that when he could no longer stand walking the filthy streets in his neighbourhood he realised it was time to act.

Setlhako said he saw the need to raise awareness among his fellow neighbours using social media.

“I first posted on my Facebook on March 4 about how disgusted I was with the dirt and emphasised the need for steps to be taken by us the community,” said Setlhako.

He said that after his Facebook post, which had fast received great attention, residents agreed on a date to tackle the streets wearing blue overalls.

Once he had a group of helpers, he approached the city for bags and gloves, as well as transport for the waste.

Setlhako said all the cleaned-up spots would be left with a “no-dumping sign”, and the initiative was expected to be ongoing.

Pretoria News