EThekweni Mayor, Zandile Gumede launched the Healthy City Initiative at Durban City Hall on Thursday, 8 August.

Supplied by Pumla Khwela (eThekwini Municipality)

The initiative aims to create a health-supportive environment in the city by providing basic sanitation and hygiene needs as well as access to health care.

A healthy city was described as one that offered a clean, safe, fun environment in which citizens could be healthy, fit and prosperous. The long term strategy aims to create a safe city, promote accessibility in the city, celebrating diversity and ensure environmental sustainability by developing partnerships between council departments and stakeholders.

Plans to bring back the ‘city vibe’ were detailed and inner city safety was pinpointed as a primary challenge to promoting nightlife. Environmental sustainability was a major concern for the mayor.  “Two issues that are affecting us as a city, the issue of houses that are built in flood plains and the issue of cemeteries, we are running out of cemeteries, we need to assess these problems as they impact our environment,” said Councillor Gumede.

The initiative aims to involve the community in achieving objectives and a “social agreement” was highlighted as a critical vehicle to the success of the initiative. “If one thing is achieved, it must be changing people’s attitudes about how they treat the environment and behave in the environment,” said eThekweni spokesperson, Tozi Mthethwa. By involving the community in promoting healthy living and cleanliness, the initiative hopes to educate citizens who litter deliberately.  Councillor Nkosenhk Madlala, highlighted the importance of education within the process: ” We want the involvement of schools and universities across the city, we want business to play a role because we all stand to benefit from a healthy environment, we want  NGO’s and the entire civil society to be a part of this,” said Madlala.

With a clean and safe that promotes fitness, healthy living and environment sustainability, the Healthy City Initiative aims to bring back the Durban vibe and revitalise a city that goes to sleep too early.