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City of Umhlathuze Takes the Lead During National Arbour Month




Posted: 19 July 2021

The 2021 Arbor Month was launched at the City of Umhlathuze in KwaZulu-Natal on 01 September 2021. Traditionally, Arbor day was a day where multi-stakeholders participated in planting trees but this has since been extended to the entire month of September, springtime. National Arbor Month is an opportune time to call on all South African Municipalities to plant indigenous trees as a practical and symbolic gesture of sustainable environmental management.

What should Municipalities do during Arbor Month?
The Department of Forestry, Fisheries and the Environment (DFFE) developed a “Ten Million trees 5-year program” whereby two million trees would be planted each year. This calls for local government to follow the example made by Umhlathuze Local Municipality during this Arbor Month. The Mayor of Umhlathuze, Cllr Mduduzi Mhlongo, together with the Mayor of King Cetshwayo Cllr Lindokuhle Phungula led by the Deputy Minister of DFFE, Makhotso Sotyu went on a drive to not only speak about tree planting but to actually get their hands dirty by planting seedlings and donating agricultural tools to the community members at Dumisani Makhaye Village. This is a symbolic gesture to promoting sustainable environmental management in local governments. The delegation also paid tribute to the fallen heroes that succumbed to COVID-19, by unveiling a Remembrance Plaque at Richards Bay Cemetery. All COVID-19 regulations and protocols were adhered to.

Winning the National Arbor City Wards
The National Arbor City Awards for 2021, aimed at promoting the greening of cities & towns were officiated by the Deputy Minister. There were five municipalities who received recognition awards for going an extra mile in embracing their greening initiatives. The Deputy Minister, Ms Makhotso Sotyu also awarded municipalities with money that would contribute towards further municipal environmental management programs.

The categories and prize winners were as follows:
1. Metro Category: City of Cape Town won R300 000
2. Category B Municipalities: Polokwane Local Municipality (1st Prize winner- R300 000) & Steve Tshwete Local Municipality (2nd Prize winner – R250 000)
3. Rural Municipal Category: Umhlathuze Local Municipality won R250 000
4. Youth Participating in “Greening”: Ulundi Local Municipality won R100 000

SALGA encourages all Municipalities in KZN to also take actions in “greening” their communities like the City of Umhlathuze who has made a commitment to plant 7000 trees during the month of September.

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