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Changing the face of the city one paper at a time

Imagine a society that was free from unsightly waste. A place where the standard of cleanliness in the streets would speak of a community which takes pride in itself and the environment making it a great place to live.

But why stop there? Imagine that this same society enabling the underprivileged to be the carers of the street. A society that encouraged them to take hold of the waste problem in exchange for much needed income and improved quality of life.


Dream team

This idyllic state may seem far off, but thanks to the collaboration of a few key companies, it is a real possibility for the future. We as VRCID have partnered with the Greater Tygerberg Partnership (GTP), Tygerberg Chamber of Commerce, Mould Empower Serve (MES), University of the Western Cape (UWC), GreenCape and TEAHMO to mobilise a solution to the waste in our streets.

The idea sprouted in lieu of supporting the informal waste collection sector in the Belville area and spread to include assisting the unemployed. According to the City of Cape Town’s recent statistics, province has a 21.7 % unemployment rate. That means that there are currently over 80 000 people who are without a steady income in our city alone.

Aside from placing a massive strain on our economy, there is also the financial and psychological difficulty it presents to those persons. Although there is a lot of work to be done, this project is a good way to start. According to our Social Development Manager Wilma Piek, steps are already underway, “At this stage we completed the research and had a meeting with the waste collectors at CJ’s Buy Back Centre in Charl Malan Street to get the ball rolling.”


Nitty Gritty



Individuals will be assigned as waste pickers which will patrol the area and collect rubbish off of the street, specifically paper, cardboard, metals, batteries, cans. This will then be taken to assigned waste collectors for recycling and the person who drops it off will be compensated.

In order to complete the work, the waste pickers will be given access to:

  • Legal and accessible Buy-Back centres with a predictable income.
  • The necessary social development services and skills development opportunities.
  • Support and recyclable waste from the formal business sector.
  • Screening by MES to determine specific individual needs
  • Legal and user-friendly trolleys.


Hands and feet

The process of finding and approaching individuals to be part of the project is done with their input every step of the way. Many of those approached are individuals who were unable to complete their schooling due to the inability to pay fees.

Because of this, they are unable to find decent employment and have to resort to other means for money. As a community, it is our duty to help these individuals. Those that will make progress quickly are pickers that show potential and are resilient and innovative.

The structures that will ensure the project running smoothly are also great motivators to the individuals involved as they will be in control of their own progress. A very important reintegration tool in which being given responsibility creates a sense of integrity and contribution.


Here is an overview of the project and the different levels which can be reached by the waste collectors.

  • Sign up >to be considered as a candidate the individual must:
  • Undergo screening with MES to identify individual needs
  • Have a record of regular sign ins for a month


Level 1 > in order to obtain this level, the individual must:

  • Maintain good performance over a two-month period

Following this they will be rewarded with:

  • Waste collector will be supplied with gloves and a branded vest


Level 2 > in order to obtain this level, the individual must:

  • Show good performance over 6 months

At this stage the individual will be:

  • Assigned their own ‘beat’ (area that they will be collecting in regularly)


Level 3 > in order to obtain this level, the individual must:

  • Remain in the programme until the end of February 2019

Following this they will be rewarded with:

  • Their own trolley


This project has been designed with the area and the individuals in mind. We would like to encourage growth and change for the better. Our hope is that providing these individuals with basic responsibilities will reawaken their confidence in tasks. We also care for their mental and emotional well being and will be able to help where we can by the act of regular screening. The sincere hope is the benefit of the CID and its residents by moving forward together as a community.

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