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Joburg's greening drive got the national thumbs-up when the City was named the winner of the 2015 Arbor City Award.

Joburg scoops national Arbor City Award
Bishop Ngobeli, manager for protected areas at Joburg City Parks and Zoo, Community Development MMC Chris Vondo, and Joburg City Parks and Zoo MD Bulumko Nelana with the 2015 Arbor City Award.

Joburg beat the country's seven other metro municipalities - Cape Town, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni, eThekwini, Mangaung, Buffalo City and Nelson Mandela Bay - in scooping the award, which is given to cities that "go the extra mile in greening their areas of jurisdiction".

The award, which includes a cash prize of R300 000, is made annually by the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Total South Africa and the Institute for Environment and Recreation Management.

Receiving the award at a ceremony in Durban, Community Development MMC Chris Vondo said City's greening strategies were underpinned by the Joburg 2040 vision of  building a green, liveable, resilient and economically viable city in order to enhance the quality of life of all its residents.  

Councillor Vondo paid tribute to Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, environment-conscious businesses and NGOs and the residents of Joburg who had supported the green call to action. He accepted the award, he said, on their behalf - as well as on behalf of "the birds, bees and trees, who have no voice".

Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo, the custodians of the ecology of the city, has planted over 300 000 trees since 2010, transformed landfill sites into world-class parks, and developed over 50 community-based food gardens.

The agency has also beautified key arterials across the city, installed 22 outdoor gyms, and, in the space of this financial year alone, planted 6 000 fruit trees.

"The Arbor City 2015 Award salutes a decade of cutting-edge service excellence in greening by the City of Joburg and Johannesburg City Parks and Zoo," Councillor Vondo said.