On the 1st of August 2017, three municipalities signed the Durban Commitment, joining leading local governments from around the world as a partner in the global movement to protect biodiversity. The Durban Commitment was signed by Mayor Maneli and two Executive Mayors, Cllr Maphefo Letsie and Cllr Mzi Khumalo (Merafng City Local Municipality and Rand West Local municipality respectively), at the West Rand District Municipality Political Leader Wetlands Awareness Raising Workshop held in Randfontein.
In a statement made prior to the signing ceremony, Mayor Maneli said:
“In service you need the political will from the political arm as well as the competency from the implementers. When those two work together, we are guaranteed results.”
“The mistake that we make is to think that an individual has to be responsible. We have to move away from silo planning.”
The Durban Commitment is a non-binding commitment and model created by local governments, for local governments and the communities they serve, to protect and enhance biodiversity at the local level.
The workshop where the Durban Commitment was signed was held as part of the LAB: Wetlands SA project. The project is being implemented in 11 municipalities across South Africa and aims to raise awareness around the value of wetlands and mainstream biodiversity and wetlands into municipal land use planning.