Manenberg women take back their area through cleaning up, painting, gardening and implementing community-driven care projects for young, old, vulnerable and abused people. Kamielah Field and Elaam Bester paint a graffiti-laden wall opposite Gail Court. Picture: Tracey Adams

This is the goal 48 women have as they go about cleaning up Manenberg, one of the most notorious areas on the Cape Flats.

The women are part of a group of 787 employed by the City’s Women in Rental Stock Programme, launched in July in nine areas — Athlone, Hanover Park, Lotus River, Lavender Hill, Manenberg, Uitsig, Ravensmead, Ocean View and Macassar.

From involvement in cleaning, painting, digging, gardening, recycling and crafting at the Tambo Village Centre to ensuring the safety of the young people through the walking bus initiative where children are escorted to and from schools in the area to caring for the elderly.

The women are paid a stipend through the city’s Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) which stands at R 11 million at the moment.

On Thursday, while some of the teams cleaned a festering dumpsite off Duinefontein Road and filled at least 50 plastic dirt bags, other women painted away gang graffiti on walls.

Sharon Benjamin said: “We want to get rid of the dumping and the graffiti and clean up as much as we can. I think it will be helpful because our children are growing up here.

When we clean up the children are eager to help out. Then you get the gangsters, they want to sit here and smoke and mess up the walls. The children see all that."

“As community workers, we are going to stop all that,” Manenberg councillor Bonita Jacobs said with the city and community in partnership to “develop, uplift and upgrade”, they hoped to change the area’s negative image.