The Metropolitan Trading Company (MTC), City of Johannesburg, Information, and Communication Technologies (ICT) entity, launched a groundbreaking anti-vandalism campaign in 2023 to combat the ongoing damage to its vital network infrastructure. This initiative has blossomed into a community-building project, safeguarding city infrastructure while creating valuable employment opportunities for Johannesburg’s youth.
From Radio Waves to Community Outreach:
“We realized early on that simply fixing the damage wasn’t enough,” shared Celani Mathenjwa, acting corporate Strategy and reporting executive, head of the anti-vandalism campaign at MTC. “We needed to understand the root causes and build bridges with our communities.”
The campaign started by raising awareness through radio engagements and regional community outreaches. By directly addressing residents’ concerns and educating them about the detrimental impacts of vandalism on their communities and businesses, MTC laid a strong foundation for the next stage.
Empowering Youth, Protecting Infrastructure:
Recognizing the power of youth engagement, MTC created the Anti-Vandalism Ambassador program. From October to December 2023, 63 enthusiastic young individuals were trained and deployed to various city locations, including Malls, Clinics, Home affairs offices, and Community Outreach (Parks and Community halls).
These ambassadors served as vital bridges, connecting with residents and spreading the message of infrastructure protection in a relatable and engaging manner.
Success Stories: Building Trust, Making a Difference
The ambassador program has yielded heartwarming success stories. Visits to Baragwanath Hospital were met with open arms from both staff and patients. “People at the hospital warmly received our message,” Ambassador Leader -Mbalenhle Gumbi noted. “They understood the importance of protecting the infrastructure that keeps them connected and cared for.”
Similarly, the Eldorado Home Affairs Department welcomed the ambassadors’ informative sessions, highlighting the growing understanding and support for protecting city infrastructure.
Beyond Vandalism: Expanding Opportunities
MTC’s commitment extends beyond immediate campaign goals. Recognizing the potential of the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) model, the company aims to continue creating valuable employment opportunities through this campaign and other MTC projects. This ensures that the positive impact of the initiative extends into various aspects of community development, empowering young people and contributing to a brighter future for Johannesburg.
Looking Ahead: A Brighter, Connected Future
MTC’s anti-vandalism campaign is not just about protecting infrastructure; it’s about building trust, fostering community engagement, and empowering youth. As the program continues to evolve, we can expect to see even more positive outcomes, paving the way for a safer, more connected, and prosperous Johannesburg for all.
“We’re incredibly proud of what the anti-vandalism campaign has achieved so far,” concluded Celani Mathenjwa, acting corporate Strategy. “But this is just the beginning. We’re committed to working with our communities to build a stronger, more vibrant future for Johannesburg, one connection at a time.”