S Africans called on to fight climate change

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Pretoria - South Africans should pull together to mitigate the results of climate change through efforts that also have the potential to create jobs, says Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Edna Molewa.

Speaking at the official launch of the Enyokeni Greening (Tree Planting) Project in Kwa-Nongoma, KwaZulu-Natal, the minister said the event symbolised leadership and a direct response to the call to people to work together in addressing climate change.

The department has set aside a budget of R3.5 million for the tree planting initiative.

"Some of you may wonder how this project will benefit you as an individual. Some immediate direct benefits include direct employment of 330 persons for a short term, infrastructure development, skills-transfer and the creation of markets for related products and services. 

"Of these jobs created, 30 of them will be for the entire duration of the project, about 15 months, for maintenance of the trees and conducting carbon assessment of the soil after the planting of the trees," explained Molewa. 

In addition to the work opportunities, the project will provide accredited training to those employed in order to increase their chances of getting further employment opportunities once the project is completed. 

The launch sees a total 34 000 trees being planted in the surroundings of the Enyokeni Royal Palace in Kwa-Nongoma, linked to the annual Reed Dance Ceremony, with King Goodwill Zwelithini allocating approximately 20 hectares of land for the project. 

The project is in line with initiatives aimed at combating the effects of climate change through tree planting and forest preservation, with 4 000 of these trees obtained through a sponsorship from Vodacom.

The minister thanked King Zwelithini, saying he was part of the drive to raise awareness and to create a good relationship between people and the environment.

"We must recognise that climate change threatens to disrupt the way we have been interacting with our environment. Planting trees helps offset the loss of native forests and fights climate change," she said. - BuaNews 

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