President Cyril Ramaphosa launched the Good Green Deeds campaign on Friday, 8 March in Mdantsane, Eastern Cape, to much acclaim on social media. Ramaphosa called on South Africans to take responsibility for creating a clean environment, “You must be the agent of change we want and need.” Twitter users were keen to heed the president’s call.
According to social media users, government has successfully picked up on an issue facing many South Africans. They agree that it is time to take action against environmental pollution. One user on Twitter, @EuretaRose, mentioned that people in her community can smell the waste and “know their environment is not up to scratch”. “Let’s act,” the post continued.
Although there was a positive reaction to the president’s call on South Africans to do “just one Good Green Deed a day”, some users on Twitter and Facebook were quick to draw government’s attention to other pressing issues such as corruption. One commentator pointed out that the environmental affairs minister, Nomvula Mokonyane, has herself been implicated in the BOSASA corruption scandal.
what is nomvula monkonyane doing there are no Handbags for Bosasa She needs to be ‘cleaned’ out of cabinet and maybe ‘pick’ up the rand as she knows how to
— Mana (@COMRADE_Mana) March 8, 2019
The predominant sentiment, however, was enthusiastic. Even those disillusioned with the ANC government welcomed the new initiative. @SmuThY101 wrote on Twitter, “Lol I hate the ANC but these are good deeds.”
Thank you Mr President we are all inspired
— pragasan sivalingam (@pregsps) March 9, 2019
Lol I hate ANC but these are good deeds😂😂😂
— Mrs MaNkosinathi (@SmuThY101) March 8, 2019
The new environmental awareness campaign is the first of its kind in South Africa and was the brainchild of late Minister of Environmental Affairs, Edna Molewa, who died in 2018. Good Green Deeds is government’s response to high levels of pollution in the country which is affecting qualify of life. Ramaphosa went as far as to say, “We have become the throwaway generation.”
The president was addressing Mdantsane residents at the Sisa Dukashe Stadium. Earlier that morning, Ramaphosa had participated in a clean-up activity at Mdantsane Highway. Ramaphosa also launched Operation Phakisa Chemicals and Waste Economy which has already garnered R1,4 billion in pledges from the private sector.
The Good Green Deeds initiative aims to divert 20 million tonnes of waste from going to landfills, as well as to create 127 000 direct and indirect jobs by 2030. The waste economy in South Africa is estimated to contribute R15 billion to Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The government will also be promoting clean technology and access to green spaces, such as parks.
Citizens are encouraged to avoid littering and to practise sustainable waste management, such as recycling.
Similar clean-up events took place throughout the country. Minister of Environmental Affairs, Nomvula Mokonyane, led locals in cleaning eBuhlanti in East London, while Eastern Cape Premier Phumulo Masualle spent the day cleaning up in King William’s Town.