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City Parks and its partners pitched in to help turn a run down piece of land in the impoverished northern township into a vibrant green park.

Diepsloot West Park boasts new slides
Diepsloot West Park boasts new slides

A PARK in Diepsloot, in the north of Joburg, has been transformed from a lacklustre piece of land into a remarkable green lung.

Johannesburg City Parks in partnership with the Development Bank of Southern Africa (DBSA) and Prestige Cleaning Group (PCG) joined hands on 30 March to spruce up Diepsloot West Park. The DBSA donated R250 000 while PCG contributed R100 000 to the project.

Surrounded by a clutter of shacks, Diepsloot West Park is in one of the poorest areas of Johannesburg, and is close to one of the city's major highways. The captivating park now features new playground equipment, including a slide and swings; sports facilities like soccer pitches and a netball court; benches and a water channel. Shade will be courtesy of 25 trees that were also planted.

The major upgrade was done by various contractors over a two-week period before employees from City Parks and its two partners in the project chipped in to do the final touches. Aimed at redressing greening disparities in disadvantaged communities, the project will contribute towards environmental education awareness and activism.

Speaking at the handover of the park to the community, Sharon Kruger, the general manager of equity and transformation at PCG, said the company was passionate about corporate social investment and was actively involved in the creation of parks through various skills development and job creation initiatives.

Acting managing director of City Parks, Geoffrey Cooke, plants a tree
Acting managing director of City Parks, Geoffrey Cooke, plants a tree

"We are proud to be part of an initiative that not only helps to develop recreational facilities in disadvantaged communities, but also contributes to environmental awareness and sustainability," she said. "This park rehabilitation project will help to restore beauty and a sense of pride to the people of Diepsloot."

And the facilities would help to keep the youth healthy, off the streets and constructively engaged in ensuring that the park was kept free of litter.

Geoffrey Cooke, the acting managing director of City Parks, thanked DBSA and PCG for their generous donations.

"The much-needed upliftment of the park is testimony to the good governance structures within these organisations and serves to further highlight the critical role of the private sector in collectively resolving environmental imbalances in our cities," he said.

Over the past few years, City Parks has been in the forefront of addressing greening disparities in Johannesburg. Other parks that have undergone major transformation under its guidance include Pieter Roos Park, Nkanyezi Stimulation Park, Delta Park and Joubert Park.