Sonjica concerned about SA's poor environment

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Johannesburg - Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has expressed concern about the state of the country's poor environment, saying it was a violation to a person's constitutional right to clean surroundings.

"I am extremely concerned about the state of our environment, especially in the townships and other municipal areas.

"We as a department are extremely worried that our communities have to live in such squalid conditions that violate their constitutional right to a clean environment," the minister said at the Local Government Indaba on Wednesday.

She urged municipalities, communities and other stakeholders to forge partnerships to take better care of the environment, adding that there was a need to focus on financial resources committed to environmental management.

"The time has come for all of us to act. I must also hasten to add that rights are accompanied by responsibilities which also place a degree of responsibility on our communities to be active agents of a clean environment," the minister said.

She said clean-up campaigns such as Indalo Yethu and Buyisa e Bag, aimed at heightening awareness in communities about the benefits of a clean environment, will be intensified.

"I would like to challenge you as municipalities to prioritise among others waste management and greening of our townships to restore the dignity of our people and in the same vein I urge all communities to be active agents of greening efforts.

"We must as all the three spheres of government solidify our efforts aimed at forging lasting and working partnerships that will assist us as government in greening our townships," the minister said.