Free State greening not just for appearances

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SABRINA DEAN – Free State Premier Ace Magashule says the massive tree planting initiative current underway is not just about beautifying the province but is also important to prevent things like soil erosion.
Magashule is getting his hands dirty in Tumahole and Parys today (8 November 2013) as he joins the community in planting some of the 15 000 trees earmarked for 12 towns across the province.
“All over the Free State MEC’s are out and about, in Sasolburg, in Frankfort, in Cornelia, in Heilbron, they will be in Viljoenskroon and Kroonstad on Monday – because we want to green our townships and tell people about the importance of greening so there is no soil erosion,” he says.
A lot of emphasis is being paced on greening township areas, which are still battling with the after effects of apartheid era spatial development plans. Magashule says they are also educating the communities about how to look after the trees.
“We are encouraging the communities to look after these trees, to water them twice a week on Mondays and Fridays, that’s the advice they received from horticulturists,” he says.
He adds that trees are being planted at schools, taxi ranks and various parks. A total of 39km worth of trees is expected to have been planted by the end of the month.
Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC Mosebenzi Zwane says they are trying to get communities to take pride in the areas where they live. He says one of the past challenges is that trees planted in townships were destroyed by free roaming animals or for wood.
“Our people have not been looking after those trees that were planted… So we are saying to people, you are responsible for your own health and the outlook of where you stay,”
He also emphasized the health benefits of trees, which serve as nature’s air conditioners, among other things.
The twelve towns up for greening are Parys/ Tumahole, Warden/ Ezenzeleni, Heilbron/Phiritona, Virginia/Meloding, Frankfort/Namahadi, Cornelia/ Ntswanatsatsi, Kroonstad/Marabastad, Sasolburg/Zamdela, Ventersburg/Mamahabane, Viljoenskroon/ Rammulotsi, Trompsburg/Madikgetla, Botshabelo.