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Friday Oct 21, 2011

Cape Town clean river project honours Asmal

A multimillion-rand river cleaning programme for Cape Town, which will create 32 000 jobs every year, has been launched in honour of the late former water affairs and forestry minister Kader Asmal.

Cleanup of the Liesbeeck River underway.

Announcing the project yesterday, Cape Town mayor Patricia de Lille said the Kader Asmal Integrated Catchment Management Project would protect a valuable resource, while also ensuring the city adhered to "the principle of sustainable development".

The cleaning effort was to start immediately, with the first phase coming with a R138 million price tag.

And the rivers set to get some attention include the Diep River, Salt River, Liesbeeck River, Black River, Elsies Kraal River, Keyser River, Prince Kasteel River, Westlake River, Zandvlei River, Zeekoevlei, Rondevlei, Eerste River, Kuils River, and the Khayelitsha Wetlands.

De Lille said invasive plants would be removed, pollution hotspots identified, leaking sewers repaired, litter disposed of, and rivers cleaned up.

Asmal's wife, Louise Asmal, yesterday thanked De Lille and the city, calling the project "praiseworthy".

She said water issues were very close to her husband's heart.

"I'm sure this project is one my husband would've been in favour of, especially when one takes into account how many people are without water in this country."

Deli Ndlovu, 22, one of those employed to help clean up the rivers, applauded the initiative.

"I've been staying at home doing nothing since 2008 (and) I'm so glad to have a job. I have two children to support. At least now I don't have to rely on someone else to support them."

De Lille urged Capetonians to help keep the city clean.

"Don't litter, because litter pollutes our rivers. And we need to keep them clean to provide relief for those most in need in our society," she said.

Cape Argus


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