When community members at Kwa Guqa extension 10 got weary of a stench from an open space which was used as a dumping site, they dug up the filth from the ground with their hands, hearts and souls.
Driving along the Mathews Phosa Drive, there is an inviting large area of land covered in lush grass, beautiful flowers, tree lined paths, arranged in a way that people can walk in it for pleasure. The park is also structured as an ideal area for children to wallow in games.
The community members, Jacob Mashele, Grace Lukhele and Isaac Maseko, visualised the park, before approaching the Emalahleni Local Municipality and a memorandum of understanding was finalised and work started in earnest.
Emalahleni Local Municipal executive mayor, cllr Lindiwe Ntshalintshali, who graced the opening ceremony implored other communities to turn illegal dumping sites into parks.
“This area used to be an illegal dumping site which was an extreme health hazard to the community,” she reminded the audience.
“We must take care of the environment we live in. It is everybody’s responsibility to keep the environment clean. This park will provide our children with a safe and healthy environment to play,” she said.
The Rand Water Foundation invested heavily after it was approached by the community to assist with, among other things, fencing, children playing equipment and gym equipment.
In addition, seven people will be employed to look after the park.
The Jagris Park is one of the many projects supported by the office of the Executive Mayor and all directorates, to make a noticeable difference in Emalahleni.
The ultimate goal is to refurbish and make Emalahleni green, and to return it to its former glory and bring back pride among residents and business.
Although the project is still in its early stage, the broader view is to primarily deal with the notorious dirty spots, collapsing and uncared for infrastructure, derelict open spaces and unprecedented levels of crime. In brief, the Emalahleni will get rid of crime and grime in areas where residents live and work.
The programme also includes, the closing of potholes, cutting of grass on the sidewalks and open fields, eradicating garbage from illegal dumping sites, fixing and painting of street lights, and paving of several gravel roads.
Through the programme the executive mayor anticipates that a sizeable number of people will be momentarily employed, and some will volunteer.