According to official statistics, nearly one in three South Africans is unemployed and the unofficial figure is probably a good deal even higher. One of the ways in which those unable to find jobs in the formal sector are managing to provide for themselves and their families is through collecting discarded plastic, scrap metal and other waste products and selling it to recyclers. This not being possible under lockdown conditions, such people have been abruptly deprived of the ability to meet even their most basic daily needs.
The Atholl CAN (Community Action Network), ably headed up by SAJBD Gauteng Council member Liza Essers, Peter Machlup Fine Wristwatches, Carol Anstey Cesman and Harold Cesman, has made assisting recyclers its key focus during this period. Through the funds raised by the Athol community, 600 recyclers and their families in Alexandra have been provided with food. In the past two weeks, enough has been amassed to get a soup kitchen in Alex up and running.
Hella Ledwaba of the Alex-based social outreach organisation Vuka S'khokho writes, “We are so impressed with the great work the Atholl CAN. We have no words. I am all sorts of emotional right now. All thanks to the Atholl can and the Angel Network”.