The Deputy Minister of Environment, Forestry and Fisheries Ms Maggie Sotyu has announced the winners of the 2019 Arbor City Award at a ceremony held in Port Elizabeth on Sunday.
Arbor City Awards promote the greening of cities and towns in South Africa.
The awards are given to cities or towns that go the extra mile to green their areas of jurisdiction.
The ceremony was preceded by the official launch of the National Arbor Month Campaign coordinated by the Departments of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries and Environmental Affairs in partnership with long-time sponsor, Total South Africa.
This year’s theme for Arbor Month is: “Forests and Sustainable Cities”.
In her keynote address, Deputy Minister of Environmet, Forestry and Fisheries Ms Maggie Sotyu encouraged South Africans to plant trees and look after their natural environment.
“Greening interventions that include the planting of fruit trees into home gardens can make a contribution towards alleviating household food insecurity in both urban and rural settlements.”
The primary objective of the Arbor campaign is to ensure greening initiatives in the country.
The communities of Motherwell, KwaZakhele and New Brighton have benefited from this objective where fruit and indigenous trees were planted in the community parks and some distributed to households and a local school.
The campaign plans to have 40 000 trees planted throughout the country, with at least 3000-planted trees in and around the city of Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Municipality by end of September.
This campaign is not limited to planting trees but contributes to the mandate of ensuring food security. The three communities further benefited from 400 hand gardening tools, 500 fruit, and a further 500 indigenous trees among the three.
Total South Africa, who has sponsored the campaign for more than 16 years, emphasized the importance of environmental protection as a way to preserve national heritage. “We will have no heritage to speak of if we don’t act today. Every day. Do our bit to leave behind a planet, spot on of Earth worthy living in,” said Total SA’s Corporate Affairs Manager Ms Nne-Mpho Siaga.
“In South Africa, we have felt the direct impact of climate change on Agriculture, and the knock-off effect on our country’s food security,” she added.
The awards competition comprises of five categories which were awarded as follows:
· Youth in Greening Municipality went to the City of Umhlathuze Local Municipality. They received R100 000 prize money and a certificate.
· Metropolitan Category went to the City of Johannesburg from Gauteng. They received R300 000 prize money and a certificate.
· Local Municipality Category: First prize went to the City of Mbombela Local Municipality from Mpumalanga. They received R300 000 prize money and a certificate. The second prize in this category went to the Sol Plaatje Local Municipality from the Northern Cape. They received R250 000 prize money and a certificate.
· Rural Local Municipalities Category went to Ulundi Local Municipality from KwaZulu-Natal. They received R250 000 prize money and a certificate.
· The most improved municipality award went to the Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan Municipality. They received R100 000 prize money and a certificate.