A more passionate Joburg lover you will not find
Posted by Talitha Hlaka on 16 August 2016 2:20 PM CAT
Meet Rika Joubert, a strong, caring woman who lives in an apartment block on Prayer Hill in Yeoville. She believes in giving back where she can, caring for the environment, caring for her neighbours and recycling her waste; all bar one small shopping packet of rubbish a week. Prayer Hill is an area of land of not more than one square kilometre, that affords the most incredible views of Johannesburg, ‘houses' a small group of homeless people, is used by communities as a prayer site and is a stop on walking tour of the inner city.
Unfortunately, though, Prayer Hill is plagued by a persistent problem – that of illegal dumping. For years, Rika has addressed this issue with the municipality, community police forum, the communities who live and use the area as well as the illegal dumpers themselves, to no avail. She has taken pictures of the criminal activity in action, and forwarded them to the relevant authorities, but there has been no redress. The municipality and police have attended meetings where they have promised they would clean up the area and police it to ensure that perpetrators of the crime of dumping are brought to book. Yet nothing positive or concrete has materialised. All that happens is that every couple of months (most recently a week before local elections), the municipality will send a bulldozer to remove the mess. No sooner this is done, the dumping starts again.
Rika explains that a fairly simple and cost effective solution is available. Clear up the mess once and for all; then cordon off access to the hill, so that trucks and other vehicles cannot drive onto the stretch of land to dump. Ideally, this would mean fencing the area off, but an even more cost effective solution would be to simply use the bulldozer to push large boulders along the perimeter to prevent vehicles from driving in. There are dozens of boulders scattered in the space, which could be used.
This week, Rika initiated a group, the Yeoville neighbourhood, on our Joburg City Network platform, to try and mobilise a larger community of concerned citizens around this challenge. She will be inviting other members to the online neighbourhood, uploading content with the hope that a small, organised and passionate group, can collaborate to collectively achieve what the government and municipal institutions and bureaucrats, mandated to address, cannot. We welcome all Joburg citizens to support this cause, or take up your own on our online platforms, and to use the tools and resources available to create awareness, form groups, share knowledge, with the aim of fixing our beautiful city.
We believe every citizen is an expert and has something to offer and contribute. If we are all collaborating towards a common goal, there is no limit to what we can jointly achieve.
Raashida Khan is Account Director at Indigo New Media, a passionate, committed South African and a Joburg citizen and lover for twenty years.