News release: Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality’s beneficiation of bio-solids project wins inaugural Green Economy Change Champions Competition
  Oct 5, 2021     News, GreenCape, South Africa, greentech, green economy, value-add to organic residues, Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, innovation

October 2021 – The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality has won the inaugural Green Economy Change Champions Competition for its project that adds value to bio-solids produced at waste water treatment facilities. 

The competition celebrated inspiring examples of green economy innovation at municipal level across the country during an online event hosted by GreenCape in partnership with the Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF). The competition was designed to highlight municipalities that are applying innovative and sustainable green technologies which contribute to improving service delivery.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this platform in partnership with GreenCape in order to recognize excellence at local government level. Our aim is to share more widely what is being done concretely by various municipalities to drive forward innovation in the green economy in South Africa in order to tackle some of the country’s most pressing service delivery issues. We believe this is an opportunity for municipalities to learn from one another and replicate successful projects,” said Cecelia Kok, FNF’s Head of Research and Advocacy Projects in South Africa.

“Municipalities have been given a mandate to promote a safe and healthy environment in terms of section 152(a) of the Constitution. Local government is therefore at the centre of the development and climate challenge and there is growing recognition that local government is a critical part of the solution to address climate change. The vision of the local government support strategy, developed by the South African Local Government Association (SALGA), is to create climate resilient and environmentally sustainable municipalities. We’re delighted that through this competition, municipalities are able to celebrate and share learnings from novel green economy solutions that have been tested and implemented successfully,” said Dorah Marema, Portfolio Head (Municipal Sustainability) for SALGA.

Five finalists were selected for the showcase following an application process which saw a number of inspiring municipal projects entered. 

The following projects were shortlisted as finalists alongside the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality’s bio solids enrichment project: 
Six factors were considered: 
  • Is the project significantly remarkable and innovative compared to other municipalities? 
  • How sustainable are the changes and improvements being made?
  • Does the project positively impact environmental conservation? 
  • Just how financially viable is the project.
  • How did the municipality navigate through complex challenges, such as procurement, financing etc.?
  • Is the project a good template for replication (either within the same municipality or for other municipalities in South Africa)?
Various municipal sustainability specialists served on the judging panel, including:
  • Dorah Marema, Portfolio Head (Municipal Sustainability) for the South African Local Government Association (SALGA).
  • Dr Henry Roman, the Director of Environmental Services and Technologies at the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI).
  • Georgina Ryan, the Director of Environmental Economics within the Economic Policy Division of the National Treasury.
  • Nazeem Hendricks, Technical Financial Analyst at the National Treasury (Jobs Fund).
  • Paul Currie, Manager Urban Systems at ICLEI Africa. 

“Conventional sewage sludge disposal options are no longer appropriate and lead to sacrificial land disposal, a constant influx to landfill, uncontrolled spreading on farmlands and groundwater contamination. The City realised that composting of sludge produces a low value product and is not sustainable in the long term. Furthermore, mechanical solutions like incineration and pyrolysis are capital intensive and costly. Therefore, a full-scale pilot project for the beneficiation of bio solids was implemented and is proving to be successful. Our current service provider, Agriman, was competitively awarded a tender in 2010 for a 15-year period. Our efforts are resulting in a real contribution to the development of the green economy,” said Kerneels Esterhuyse, Acting Director (Waste Water Treatment) for the City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality. 

“The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality would like to thank the Friedrich Naumann Foundation and GreenCape for giving us the opportunity to participate in the inaugural Green Economy Change Champions showcase. The implementation of sustainable green economy projects in Local Government can be fast tracked by sharing initiatives, implementation challenges and successes with each other. We would like to thank all the municipalities that also took part in the competition, your projects are all very impressive and we look forward to implementing them at our municipality,” he added. 

The City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality wins a professionally produced video that will showcase the project and its successes and give them the opportunity to inspire other municipalities in South Africa.