In light of the fact that cities are among the biggest contributors to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the SA government has – in line with the Paris Climate Agreement – committed its municipalities to adopting sustainable energy and climate-change mitigation measures.
Like most African cities, Tshwane has the additional burden of increased urbanisation and infrastructure development challenges, but it is nevertheless perceived to be the most committed to sustainability on the continent, according to a survey by Reputation Matters.
The research and management partner surveyed 15 major African cities, including Cape Town and Johannesburg, ahead of Sustainability Week 2018 in June, and found one of the key contributing factors to Tshwane’s sustainability is its water-management programme, which promotes the efficient use of the resource to enhance quality of life and local economic development.
A snapshot of the city’s GHG emissions highlights a baseline carbon footprint for the 2014/15 financial year of 28 million tons of CO2 emissions, of which 10 million tons comes from electricity produced by coal-fired power stations. At 45%, its buildings produce the most emissions, followed by transport (16%) and waste (39%).
Executive mayor Solly Msimanga says the municipality has, through its dedicated Sustainability Unit, embarked on a climate action planning process aimed at mainstreaming climate-change considerations into the plans and programmes of all departments.
‘This will entail a sustained shift in patterns of city investments towards the greening of basic services such as public transport, housing, waste and biodiversity management, energy and water.’
The city has also introduced a new meter-management system aimed at ensuring customers receive accurate readings and billing information. The new system can capture images of meters to provide visual confirmation of readings by municipal officials.
It also ensures that meter readings are allocated to the correct properties on the GPS system and that the city has the most current information on the property.
Other sustainability efforts include Tshwane’s Green Building Incentive Scheme and related bylaws; and its programme to replace its street lights with energy-saving bulbs and retrofit traffic lights with LED bulbs. It also plans to install solar PV plants on the roofs of municipal buildings.