Unemployed people in the Downberg Road section of Hanover Park may soon find temporary employment as part of a city initiative to upgrade the Lotus River canal.
According to City Parks spokesperson George Frost, the project is part of the Three River Project. Earlier this year, the city, in conjunction with the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, announced a long-term plan to keep the city's waterways clean.
"Last year we received about R1,3 million to start on the Lotus River canal which passes through Guguletu, Manenberg and Hanover Park. We recently held a meeting with the Hanover Park community to obtain public opinion on what they would like done in the area."
During a meeting held with about 30 residents on 5 October in the Lofdal Centre, residents raised their concerns regarding the canal. Residents such as Joseph Pedro are concerned about the dumping on the embankment and the uncut, unkempt grass.
"What we are hoping is to get young people and women, aged 18 to 35, from the area and employ them to clean up and cut the grass. The Department of Labour has a programme which states that if people have worked for more than 22 days, they can undergo skills development. So ideally, these people will also receive training."
Furthermore, it is hoped that after the training, council will be able to contract these workers for other projects.
"As yet, we don't know how much of the money is left for the last leg of the Lotus River upgrade or how many people we'd like to employ, but we want people from the Downberg Road and roads that ramp off from that road because they are closer to the canal and will be able to take ownership.
"If they see someone littering or vandalising the embankment, they would more likely tell the people not to because they helped clean it."
A follow-up meeting to discuss residents' request for a playground and the demolition of braai areas on the river bank will be held in the next two weeks, says Frost. Then the city will inform residents of the employment plans and maintenance projects for the area.
For more information, phone Frost on 021 550 7504.