MTC's Anti-vandalism campaign yields results

The Anti-Vandalism Ambassador programme was created as a recognition of the power of youth engagement. Picture: Moeletsi Mabe

The Anti-Vandalism Ambassador programme was created as a recognition of the power of youth engagement. Picture: Moeletsi Mabe

Published Mar 17, 2024


Designed to combat the ongoing damage to its vital Information and Communication Technology (ICT) network infrastructure, the initiative was launched at the end of last year and is already bearing fruit.

Celani Mathenjwa, the acting corporate strategy executive who heads up the Metropolitan Trading Company’s (MTC) anti-vandalism campaign, said that they realised early on that simply fixing the damage wasn’t enough.

Mathenjwa said the campaign started by raising awareness through radio engagements and regional community outreaches. By directly addressing residents’ concerns and educating them about the detrimental impacts of vandalism on their communities and businesses, the MTC laid a solid foundation for the next stage.

The Anti-Vandalism Ambassador programme was created as a recognition of the power of youth engagement.

“We needed to understand the root causes of vandalism and build bridges with our communities,” Mathenjwa added.

From October to December last year, 63 enthusiastic young people were trained and deployed to various City locations, including malls, clinics, home affairs offices, parks, and community halls. These ambassadors served as vital bridges, connecting with residents and spreading the message of infrastructure protection in a relatable and engaging manner.

Ambassador Leader Mbalenhle Gumbi said that the ambassador programme has already yielded heartwarming success stories. Visits to Baragwanath Hospital, for example, were met with open arms from both staff and patients.

“People at the hospital warmly received our message. They understand the importance of protecting the ICT infrastructure that keeps them connected and cared for,” added Gumbi.

Similarly, the Eldorado Park Home Affairs Office welcomed the ambassadors' informative sessions, highlighting the growing understanding and support for protecting City infrastructure.

Mathenjwa further stated that MTC’s commitment extends beyond immediate campaign goals. Recognising the potential of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) model, the municipal entity in charge of ICT infrastructure aims to continue creating valuable employment opportunities through this campaign and other MTC projects.

It’s hoped this will ensure that the positive impact of the initiative extends into various aspects of community development, empowering young people and contributing to a brighter future for Johannesburg.

“MTC’s anti-vandalism campaign is not just about protecting infrastructure; it's about building trust, fostering community engagement, and empowering youth. As the programme continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more positive outcomes, paving the way for a safer, more connected, and prosperous Johannesburg for all.

“The entity is proud of what the anti-vandalism campaign has achieved so far. However, this is just the beginning. We’re committed to collaborating with our communities to build a stronger, more vibrant future for Johannesburg, one connection at a time,” the organisation said.

“Together, we can make a difference. Let’s build a Johannesburg where infrastructure is respected, communities are connected, and young people have the opportunity to thrive,” Mathenjwa said.

Visit the MTC website to learn more about the anti-vandalism campaign and how you can get involved:

Follow MTC on social media for updates on the programme and other community initiatives: @ Metropolitan Trading Company. Share your story about how vandalism has impacted your community, and use the hashtags #MTCAntiVandalismCampaign or #MTCTakeCare to show your support for the campaign.

The Star