Hot spot cleaning teams maintaining seaboard parks

Jamiel Fisher cleans up Bellevue park with his weed-eater.

Ward 54 councillor Nicola Jowell says that the Sub-Council 16 hot spot cleaning team has been instrumental in maintaining the many problematic areas on the Atlantic seaboard.

“I have seen them tackling very difficult areas and it’s been fantastic to join them and also to see them in action. This cleaning is directly addressing the areas of concern that are raised by the community,” said Ms Jowell.

The Sub-council 16 hot spot cleansing team has 27 cleaners including three team leaders and a community liaison officer.

“They have grown from one team of 10 people which was in place for a few months in the last financial year to three teams for this year. The teams are made up of many people who are currently at the city’s safe space or shelters in the city so it’s an opportunity to provide work opportunities to those in need. Plus it is giving the Sub-Council additional resources to supplement the work down by the Cleansing Department,” she said.

The clean-up team tackle the space occupied by the homeless people in Sea Point.

Natalie Manuel, 49, has been a team leader at the City of Cape Town cleaning project since May.

“We can clean two to three parks a day; it depends on how much needs to be done and we work in teams of three. But if it’s a big park like De Waal Park then that takes two to three days with a bigger team of 12 people,” said Ms Manuel.

Lekeesha Commando, 18, joined the clean-up team two months ago. “It depends on which park we clean as sometimes it’s hard and sometimes it’s easy, but it’s enjoyable,” she said.

Jamiel Fisher, 56, has been with the project for two months as well and sticks to using the weed-eater.

“De Waal park is big and it takes a day or two to finish it but usually we do about two parks a day. I enjoy cutting the grass with this weed-eater, this is my machine,” said Mr Fisher.

City of Cape Town managers and councillors with the clean up team in Sea Point.

Girshwin Fouldien, the manager for Sub-council 16 says the success of the project depends on the working relationship that they have with the area cleansing, and the recreation and parks departments.

“Cleaning staff are deployed in terms of an agreed roster to areas of highest need. Priority hotspot areas are cleaned on a weekly basis across the sub-council, some even on a daily basis, depending on the need,” Mr Fouldien said.

“Some of the cleansing team members have now also been exposed to basic horticultural maintenance and have been working in some of the parks in the inner-city. Besides assisting with the cleaning of parks, they have been involved in the propagation and growing of new plants, planting of trees in Bo-Kaap and mowing of public open spaces,” he said.

Matthew Kempthorne, the chairperson of Sub-council 16 said the teams had been very successful in dealing with cleaning issues in wards 54, 55, 57, 77 and 115.

“We will also work with the line departments, especially parks, in upskilling the workers so at the end of the programme the teams have acquired additional skills,” Mr Kempthorne said.

The team cleans up Bellevue park.