Ms. Barbara Thompson, Deputy Minister of Environmental Affairs, Dr Andrew Venter (CEO of Wildlands), Mntu Nduvane (Stakeholder Engagement Manager for Corporate Affairs at Engen), Councillor Lindiwe Ntaka Mhlongo – representing the Mayor’s Office and local community members gathered in Cato Manor on Friday the 22nd of August, to launch the opening of a new recycling facility in the area.
This recycling depot has been built and equipped under a multi-million rand enterprise development partnership between Engen Petroleum and Wildlands Green-preneurs (Pty) Ltd. Tasneem Sulaiman-Bray, GM: Corporate Affairs at Engen, says the facility is the latest initiative to come out of the leading fuel company’s R4.5 million investment deal with Wildlands Green-preneurs, which was announced in October 2013.
“Engen’s investment will significantly boost recycling efforts while promoting black empowerment and local enterprises,” says Sulaiman-Bray. “In return, we will receive carbon credits, supporting our sustainability and planet change agenda. The partnership aims to benefit multiple initiatives serving a variety of key causes, namely black economic empowerment (BEE), local enterprise development (ED) and green issues,” she says.
The first such undertaking came with the upgrade of Wildlands’ recycling transfer station near Midmar in Howick last year, and now, the Cato Manor facility, which has been erected for around R600 000.
Urvashi Haridass (Project Manager for Recycling at Wildlands) says the funds from Engen went towards a range of infrastructural interventions at the Cato Manor site. “We built two sheds, one of 10 by 12 metres and another of 12 by 12 metres. In addition we concreted the full yard, refurbished our containers, three in total, and installed a water line and ablution facility.” Electricity has been installed which will allow the facility to commission additional machinery to enhance efficiencies.
Wildlands Green-preneurs (Pty) Ltd also developed a significant partnership with the Department of Environmental Affairs under the auspices of the Green Fund, of which the Department is the custodian. The Fund is investing into the operation of the Cato Manor recycling facility. This follows on the heels of the Waste-preneur programme which is also implemented through the Fund with Wildlands Conservation Trust as the appointed Project Developer and which has exceeded the employment target of 4400 jobs.
The Green Fund was established to facilitate investment in green initiatives in support of the transition to a low carbon economy for mitigation of climate change, poverty reduction and job creation. The Green Fund have also enabled the purchase of (and running costs for) four 8 ton trucks, the employment of four drivers, eight loaders, one project manager and one local facilitator in the greater Durban area.
Deputy Minister, Barbara Thompson said that the opening of the Cato Manor facility will contribute to Commitment 5 of the Green Economy Accord which focuses on waste recycling, re-use and recovery. She also added that the private sector and civil society were key partners in addressing the matter of job creation and transitioning to a green economy.
“The opening of the Depot will encourage the matter of further sorting, separation and subsequent recovery of waste generated in during the production process. Government cannot manage and fund the transition to a green economy and address unemployment and poverty alleviation alone. Private sector and civil society play a key role and hence we celebrate the partnership and launch of Cato Manor.”
Wildlands CEO, Dr Andrew Venter, says the organisation’s recycling initiatives make use of Waste-preneurs, who barter recyclable waste which they collect from in and around their homesteads, with the organisation (Wildlands) in exchange for vouchers that can be redeemed for livelihood items such as food, clothing, education support, Jojo tanks and solar panels.
From July 2013 to June 2014, 290 Waste-preneurs in Cato Manor have traded 951 000kg’s of recyclable waste, and have been rewarded with R144 764 worth of livelihood support items.
“Engen’s investment, together with the investment of the Green Fund, will greatly benefit this cause as it allows us to equip plants with infrastructure that will increase our output, thus boosting recycling in the region, benefiting more Waste-preneurs and ultimately allowing us to employ more people,” said Venter. “We are very excited about our partnership with Engen and Green Fund. Thanks to these key partners Wildlands is better equipped to do what it does best – green the economy.”