Call-2-Action, a partnership between the Border-Kei Chamber of Business (BKCOB), Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality (BCMM), POLYCO and the Buffalo City Metropolitan Development Agency (BCMDA) officially launched the Southernwood Buy-Back Centre on Friday, 1 October 2021 at the St. George’s Park in Southernwood.
This is an initiative that was conceived in 2016, in an effort to curb the ongoing crisis of littering and illegal dumping in the Metro and essentially, clean up the city. The other half of the mandate was to motivate recycling, by offering cash incentives to those who recycle. The Southernwood Centre is the first operational of many future recycling stations in the Metro and was hailed by Executive Director of the BKCOB, Lizelle Maurice, as a step in the right direction towards becoming the cleanest city in the country.
The alfresco launch was attended by various Dignitaries, namely Deputy Minister of Labour and Employment, Ms Boitumelo Moloi, Executive Deputy Mayor of the Buffalo City Metro, Helen Neale-May, Portfolio Head of Waste Management Services, Councillor Nontsikelelo Peter and Ward Councillor of Ward 3, Pindile Miza.
Deputy Minister of Labour and Employment, Ms Boitumelo Moloi delivered a heartwarming speech, focused on how far such initiatives go in garnering the trust of the locals. Moloi acknowledged the littering crisis that the Buffalo City Metro has been facing and is confident that this Centre, being the first of many, will return the City to its former glory. She also commended the Metro for taking charge of a crisis, saying, “we cannot let a good crisis go to waste.”
Mr Drayton Brown, Project Manager at the BKCOB, having been at the foundation of this project, stressed the importance of collaboration especially by the Public and Private sectors. This public-private partnership is the first of its kind in the country and the Chamber is proud to have spearheaded a project of this calibre. A key aspect of the project is continued funding. Mr Brown stressed that all parties should continue giving to this worthy cause, stating “BCMM needs to set aside a specific budget to contribute to Public Private Partnerships. Another aspect is the Extended Producer Responsibility of manufacturers – as an example, if we used funds from the Plastic Bag Levy from local manufacturers, we wouldn’t need any further funding from additional sources.”
Amongst the attendants was Ms Patricia Pillay, CEO of POLYCO, also one of the main funders of the initiative who described this collaboration as the first of its kind in the country. “It is through such strategic partnerships that we get to accomplish great things. The right partnerships and focusing on what can be done in the now,” said Pillay.
The audience also heard from Abongile Tyopo of Mercedes-Benz South Africa (MBSA), another main funder of the Call-2-Action, who elaborated on the role of the MBSA plant in managing the waste in the Metro, as well as all their efforts to stay green. “Mercedes Benz cares about Buffalo City, Mercedes Benz cares about the planet,” said Tyopo.
Executive Deputy Mayor of the BCMM, Helen Neale-May started off mentioning a necessary fight against the vandalism of such structures in our city, as they not only push East London up a notch when it comes to attracting investors but they also provide a source of income for those who recycle. “We acknowledge that the state of cleanliness is not at the desired level yet but we can confirm that we are operating at capacity, to ensure that waste is removed on schedule,” she added. The Buffalo City Metropolitan Municipality are key stakeholders of the Centre and have expressed great pride in leaving such a significant legacy in the Metro.