The Gauteng Provincial Government is pleased to announce that we will be launching an ambitious multi-million rand Waste Pickers Pilot Project under the strategic theme “Transforming the Waste Economy: Waste is Money! Recycle it”.

The pilot project will be officially unveiled by the Premier of Gauteng Honourable David Makhura, and he will be joined by Minister of Environmental Affairs, including Mayors of Municipalities, where the first phase of the pilot project will be rolled-out.

This project will contribute positively to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the province, and it will also dent the triple crisis of poverty, unemployment and inequality, in line with the Township Economy Revitalisation Programme, as adopted by the 5th Provincial Administration.

As part of the evolution of our Bontle ke Botho campaign, this is geared towards mobilising communities to work with government and other stakeholders to contribute to the cleaning and greening of our environment.

We are launching the Waste Recycler’s Project, aimed at integrating informal recyclers through cooperatives into the mainstream waste economy, providing an income earning opportunity for large numbers of poor people within our communities and pursuing alternatives for land filling through encouraging recycling and re-use.

Waste data (Source: Waste Phakisa Lab, August 2017)

o   111 Megatons of waste generated per annum

o   75%of waste disposed in landfill

o   0.62%contributionto GDP1

o   60,000 –90,000 informal waste pickers

o   10% annual job growth in the private waste economy

o   110,000 formal jobs in chemical sector

o   No reliable info on informal waste economy.

The project will also help save municipalities money by reducing the volume of waste that needs to be collected, transported and disposed at of through the promotion of recovery and reprocessing of recyclables.


Primary Objectives of the Pilot are as follows:

  1. Increase commercialisation of the circular economy and create value from resources currently discarded as waste
  2. Reduce the negative environmental and health impact of waste and risks posed by waste
  3. Foster inclusive growth (TER drive of economic inclusion) through positioning of Gauteng as a globally competitive producer of sustainable products (green economy)
  4. Contribute to the growth the waste sector from current 0.62% of GDP to 1-1.5% of GDP in the next 5 years via a number of levers:

o   Accelerating the waste recycling economy

o   Growing the waste-to-energy economy

Secondary objectives:

o   Stimulate and strengthen high potential informal waste actors (co-operatives, SMEs, buy-back centres, material recovery facilities, transfer centres, etc.) participation into the mainstream waste economy

o   Improve informal actors earning potential

o   Improve informal actors social inclusion, dignity and protection

o   Improve recycling rates

o   Save GP landfill airspace

This twelve (12) month pilot project will be launched at Mehlareng Stadium in Tembisa, Ekurhuleni this coming Sunday 3 September 2017 at 10H00am.

We will be handing-over 200 branded motorised three wheeler vehicles to local waste co-operatives and SMME’s, with the immediate impact of employing 200 drivers and 200 assistants to operate these motorised three wheelers.

We will also be providing receptacles to 2000 households for sorting at source and offering capacity building and skills transfer to these informal waste recyclers, so that we can improve their potential to earn a sustainable income as well as capture a larger portion of the waste economy value chain.

This sector, like most South African industries, is dominated by big monopolies across the entire value chain. Our intervention is aimed at changing the face and ownership of this sector, to include the historically disadvantaged (HDIs). This presents another significant step to radically transform our economy in line with the Gauteng Economic Development Plan’s strategic sectorial interventions.

The project will be rolled-out in all five development corridors that make up Gauteng City Region (GCR), namely West Rand; Ekurhuleni; Johannesburg; Tshwane and Sedibeng. As Gauteng’s Provincial Government we are excited at the opportunities the project offers;

(1) Create new jobs in an emerging secondary resources economy; (2) Create job opportunities for low-skilled, unemployed citizens, (3) Establish new enterprises as there are low barriers to entry and (4) Stimulate a local green economy.

It will also help to ensure the effective and efficient delivery of waste services within our communities, grow the contribution of the waste economy to the green economy and increase community awareness of the impact of waste on their health, well-being and the environment.

Some of the other benefits that we will derive as a province, from the roll out of such a ground-breaking project are that we will be able to: improve waste management within the province, divert waste away from landfill and thereby extend the limited available airspace as well as contribute towards our core programme of township economy revitalisation.

The project is also in line with the Department of Trade and Industry’s commitment to promote cooperatives as a means to, “create and develop income-generating activities and decent, sustainable employment; reduce poverty, develop human resource capacities and knowledge; strengthen competitiveness and sustainability, increase savings and investment; improve social and economic well-being; and contribute to sustainable human development. “

We believe that the waste sector has potential to contribute meaningfully towards GDP and economic growth and are exploring new, innovative ways of building its capacity and creating opportunities for new entrants.

It is for this reason that we will continue to invest in infrastructure to support waste cooperatives and SMMEs within communities, continue to encourage and support investment in alternate technologies which have the potential to boost the sector and look to develop more private/public partnerships that can build and transform the waste management sector to the point that it makes a significant contribution to job creation, poverty alleviation and a more environmentally sustainable Gauteng City Region.

We want communities to realise that waste is money and there is indeed great value in promoting recycling and greening initiatives. Our communities have a significant role to play in ensuring that we achieve our objective of a clean, healthy, humane environment and in doing so they can position themselves to take advantage of new economic opportunities that are offered by the waste economy sector. In the words of former President Nelson Mandela, “it is in your hands to make of our world a better one for all.”




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