On a warm spring day, 21 September, TCTA staff joined their counterpart from various organisations to collaborate with stakeholders from KwaZulu-Natal for a significant clean-up of the Msunduzi River in Pietermaritzburg. This initiative, championed internally by the Communication and Stakeholders Department, aimed to shift the focus of
Heritage Month celebrations towards the preservation of our natural heritage, particularly the health and conservation of our rivers.
Among the participants were representatives from the Water Research Commission, uMsunduzi Local and uMgungundlovu District municipalities, the media, and environmental non-governmental organisations, such as Hennops Revival and Triple P. The event was a resounding success, with local community members turning out in their numbers. Through the combined effort of all participants, an estimated 300 bags of pollutants were removed from the river.
Florence Ndhundhuma, Socio-Economic Development Officer, conveyed the broader purpose behind the initiative. “Given the current state of our nation’s rivers, which are an integral part of our heritage, we believed it was the right moment for our organisation to step in and make a difference,” she said.
Triple P’s Director, Ntswaki Ditlhale, took the opportunity to emphasise the environmental significance of maintaining the health of our rivers. “Our rivers face threats from pollution, over-extraction, and riverbank degradation,” she stated. “A single act of pollution can lead to far-reaching negative impacts downstream. A river’s natural purification process works best when it remains uncontaminated.” To further educate attendees, Ditlhale demonstrated river water testing using samples from the Msunduzi River. Although the results indicated the water was in a relatively decent state, she cautioned against its consumption by humans.
Sophia Tlale, Environmental Manager, expressed her deep connection with the initiative. “Being in the environmental sector, this campaign resonated with me profoundly. It’s alarming to see the amount of pollution we gathered in just under three hours. The potential harm it could cause to the river is truly disheartening,” she reflected.