chevron_left Back to News updates
30 January 2015

Mayors Committing to Local Low Carbon and Innovative Greening Solutions

top right mosaic bottom left mosaic
Municipal Mayors and Councillors from four municipalities from around the country visited Cape Town on 27 January 2015 to experience and share examples of low carbon innovation and sustainability in a practical manner.
These Mayors are part of a larger group of 7 Mayors participating in ICLEI Africa’s Local Leadership programme that inspires and enables the transformation of local leadership for sustainability.

The Urban-LEDS (Low Emission Development Strategies) project, funded by the European Commission, and implemented by UN-Habitat and ICLEI, has the objective of enhancing the transition to low emission urban development in emerging economy countries by offering selected local governments in Brazil, India, Indonesia and South Africa a comprehensive methodological framework (the GreenClimateCities methodology) to integrate low-carbon strategies into all sectors of urban planning and development.

The South African chapter of the project was launched in February 2013 and the 7 participating local municipalities (note: a first group of 4 of these 7 participating municipalities gathering in Cape Town this week) have been working with the Urban-LEADS team to compile baseline energy consumption reports, develop low carbon strategies and implement tangible local projects. The additional and newly activated Leadership component for Urban-LEDS focuses specifically on supporting the Mayors of these 7 municipalities through providing them with an opportunity to connect and interact informally and directly with each other, while encouraging positive change through pro-active low carbon and energy smart leadership.

During their visit in Cape Town their first stop was a visit of Hotel Verde where Andre Harms from Ecolotion Consulting provided an overview of the reasons why it is ‘the greenest hotel in Africa’. From the energy efficient lights and water harvesting, through to where they get their food from and even their natural swimming pool, it provides practical solutions that still provide a quality product.

The team at the Manenberg Human Settlement Contact Centre received the Mayors where they saw first-hand that it is not just big business that can build a green building. Ashley Hemray, senior architect at the City of Cape Town, explained what had done to ultimately achieve GreenStar status by the Green Building Council of SA. The use of sandbags instead of bricks was an innovative process that caught their attention, while the rainwater harvesting and energy storage system encouraged discussion around alternative solutions.

Mayor Elphas Mbatha from uMlathuze said, “It was good to experience this. We have learnt a lot around what can be improved and we now have a better understanding of where we want to get to.”

They were also fortunate to visit the My Green Home project implemented by the Green Building Council South Africa, with main co-funding from the German government through the South African-German Energy Programme (SAGEN) as part of the bilateral cooperation between South Africa and Germany. Here they could see first-hand the results from the eco audit and retrofit that was implemented at the Ngewana family house.

The visitors were all amazed that the Ngewana family managed to make significant savings with 53% reduction in electricity consumption, 44% reducing in water and 81% reduction in waste to landfill. Mayor Ricardo Mthembu from KwaDukuza indicated, “While we have heard of most of the technologies, it helps to be able to see it ourselves. We need to ensure that we educate our kids around what needs to be done because it is their future in our hands.”

The Mayors from the participating municipalities will have the opportunity over the next seven months to connect and interact informally with each other, encouraging and driving positive change in their respective municipalities. They are taking the challenge to heart to see what they can do in their own homes and their municipalities to promote and deliver tangible low carbon solutions for more resilient communities.

SA Municipalities participating in Urban LEDS:
• Steve Tshwete
• KwaDukuza
• uMltahtuze
• Saldanha
• Nelson Mandela Bay
• Sol Plaatjie
• Mogale

For more information, please contact Steven Bland, Project Manager for the South African chapter of the global Urban LEDS project at ICLEI Africa

For information about the global Urban LEDS programme contact Maryke van Staden, Global coordinator Urban LEDS at the ICLEI World Secretariat in Bonn, Germany at

For more about the services and projects ICLEI Africa delivers to cities and their leadership across the African Continent, please contact Steven Molteno, ICLEI Membership Services at

Or visit

Share on social: