During the initial Jukskei river imbizo which was convened by Khulisa Social Solutions and its strategic partners, residents of Alexandra who were in attendance expressed their appreciation for the initiative to make the river safe and sustainable and requested that the government be involved for the active clean up and restoration of the polluted Jukskei river.
Jukskei River has endured extensive pollution from chemical toilets, kitchen waste, human excreta, and detergents. Many homes have been built on the riverbanks, further aggravating these circumstances. Consequently, the river poses health hazards to the community, in addition, the informal settlement located closer to the river frequently experiences flooding during heavy rains. This is why Khulisa and its stakeholders came together to explore the possible solutions to better address this challenge.
The imbizo was attended by stakeholders including representatives from the City of Johannesburg; international law firm – Allen and Overy, which provided insight and advice on environmental law; the Jukskei river volunteers, who are responsible for cleaning up the river regularly; and the Alexandra Water Sanitation and Environment Community Forum.
Regulatory lawyer specialising in environmental law at Allen and Overy, Gillian Niven took the community and stakeholders through the various environmental law recourses that might be considered to address the situation facing both the river and the community. “It is critical that the causal factors be identified, these should then point us to the appropriate solutions which can be tackled with specific parties in the community and government.
“Environmental concerns are real and are being tackled actively in environmental law, the community must be able to raise their opinions and concerns and furthermore be afforded the opportunity to explore the remedies at their disposal,” explained Niven.
Khulisa, which has been facilitating peacemaking workshops in the community for over a year, will also train the community on waste management, seeking donors to address soil erosion, collaborations with the government, and explore micro-enterprise opportunities within the community’s reach.
At the end of the workshop, attendees indicated that the imbizo was beneficial to them, and they also offered their complete support for upcoming workshops. They also suggested that the president and other national government representatives be involved in the imbizo.