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Don't Wait For The State!
What gets 60 people out in the rain, early on a Saturday morning, to clean up their neighbourhood, dig holes, plant trees and cut the road verges? Community spirit. Becoming a rare commodity nowadays…
I was invited by JC van Schalkwyk of the Gerhardsville Plot Watch to join them at crack of dawn on 6 September. Except dawn wasn’t really visible. It was pouring with the first Spring rain. I have to confess, when I watched the long-awaited rain sifting down, I seriously considered snuggling in bed to watch the veld turn green. (Well, in expectation of greenness...)
When I finally did arrive in Gerhardsville I was in for a surprise. Oumas and oupas, kids, grownups - all pitched up to improve their neighbourhood.
“We’re proud of being part of the Magaliesberg Biosphere Buffer,” said JC, “and we’re proud to be part of a community that cares.” Music to my ears.
Charles Hugo kept the sizzling Boeries coming, Stefan Hattingh made short shrift of two kilometres of long grass along the road verges with his grass cutter. Two bakkie-loads of litter were collected. Andre Kruger got permission from Stefanutti Stocks (working on the M26 in Gerhardsville) to commandeer a TLB to dig holes in the hard soil for 60 donated trees. And Gerty van Wyngaard was one of the team who rolled up her sleeves and helped Joseph Chablala to plant them.
The litter along the R511 from Diepsloot to Hennops River has long been an eyesore and a health problem.
Afriforum member Arno Brand’s approaches to Tshwane and Gautrans resulted in these departments simply passing the buck to the other.
"We believe ‘Selfdoen is beter as niksdoen!’ - ‘Doing it yourself is better than doing nothing!’” Arno declared.
“So we stepped in, got quotes from local contractors and appointed HelpUDrums.” A staggering 11 tons were collected on a stretch of 15 kilometres over five days.
“We did a check-up two days later and picked up another half a bakkie load of rubbish! We also caught a person dumping and made a citizens’ arrest. The perpetrator received a R1 000 fine.”
HelpUDrums was paid R8 600 by Afriforum, who will then summons the responsible parties for not delivering the service.
“This will be the first of many such drives in our area and we welcome any contribution - such as extra help and strong refuse bags.” Contact Arno on 082 255 4071.