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STATEMENT BY CITY’S EXECUTIVE MAYOR, PATRICIA DE LILLE

Today I joined some of the community ambassadors who are part of the City of Cape Town’s Women in Rental Stock Programme in Kewtown where women are rolling up their sleeves to help us build safe, caring communities.

Last year I initiated the Women in Rental Stock Programme in response to the needs in the City’s rental stock. The City is empowering these women to take ownership of their respective communities and rise above their adversities.

This partnership stems from the City reaching out to communities asking for help to address the social ills in our society.

We discussed how it can be done and the community came up with ideas, which led to the establishment of this programme.

The City has empowered these women to implement their ideas in responding to the social ills in our society. Here the community is taking responsibility for their neighbourhoods.

The approach we have followed here is to ask the community for their help, whereas normally government would go into an area and dictate to communities what is best for them.

This collaborative approach is in line with the City’s Organisational Development and Transformation Plan (ODTP) to enhance service delivery, to be more a more responsive and customer-centric government, and to build safe communities.

As we set our sights on taking Cape Town to the next level, we realise that the people of our city are our best asset. They are our eyes, ears, hands, and feet and we are proud to partner with them in finding solutions to the social ills in our communities.

The women who are tenants in the rental stock are employed to tackle social issues and make a difference in their communities.

Since the launch of the pilot project in July 2016, 787 women have been recruited, trained, and deployed in nine areas to help uplift City-owned rental stock areas through addressing environmental and socio-economic challenges.

So far Women in Rental Stock teams have been deployed to Athlone, Hanover Park, Lotus River, Lavender Hill, Manenberg, Uitsig, Ravensmead, Ocean View and Macassar.

The women are employed through the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) and are tasked with:
· identifying and helping to address safety concerns in their environment
· logging service requests related to the upkeep of their buildings and surrounding streets, including littering, dumping, and graffiti removal
· providing home-based care services to the elderly
· identifying individuals at risk of social challenges like truancy, substance abuse and domestic violence and linking them with relevant services

Some of the other daily duties of the Women in Rental Stock teams include assisting at clinics, recycling, and craftwork.

The programme empowers the women in several ways, including through training and education in disaster risk management, foetal alcohol syndrome, domestic violence, transport, wellness and health promotion, solid waste management, self-defence, assisting people with disabilities, and leadership.

The latest round of 284 recruits joined the movement of ‘community mothers’ on Monday 10 April 2017 with their induction training and they will be joining the other women in their respective areas as we take this programme to greater heights.

From clearing illegal dumping and graffiti, getting children to and from school safely, and referring substance abusers to our Matrix sites for help, these women are getting on with keeping their communities safe and clean.

This programme is not only about improving the aesthetics of the areas through cleaning and expediting maintenance issues, but it is also designed to help mend the social fabric of these communities. There are so many people who need help, but they don’t necessarily know where to turn.

Our women are ambassadors who provide the link between the problem and the potential solution.

The project has brought about numerous positive changes in the respective communities, such as the walking bus initiated by the women where they escort pupils to school in the mornings and afternoons because the main cause of truancy is concerns about safety.

The Girls Matter Initiative was started in Hanover Park, where 10 girls attended workshops with the goal of preventing them from dropping out of school. The project was a success as all 10 girls went back to school.

In Kewtown today, we visited a piece of public open space which is continually being used for illegal dumping. The women clean the space nearly every day but we are now going to turn it into a productive site either with a food garden or a recycling site so that we can provide jobs.

The Women in Rental Stock Programme is also alleviating poverty by providing these women with jobs so that they can take care of their families.

To date, the City has invested just over R11 million in capacitating and employing the women, who are a great help in keeping a hand on our communities.

I am extremely proud of these women as they are eager and enthusiastic about helping the City build safe communities. They have great ideas and I thank them for their willingness and dedication in working with the City to make a positive, visible difference in our communities.

These women have shown that they will not sit back and watch their communities fall into disrepair. They are walking the talk.

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