Stellenbosch Municipality

By: Stephanie Nieuwoudt

Planting trees is about more than beautifying the environment. It is also about greening our souls.

With this belief Stellenbosch Executive Mayor, Conrad Sidego, launched his Million Trees Project in April 2013. And now he is extending an invitation to other municipalities, organisations and individuals in South Africa to help him plant 1 million trees countrywide in September – Arbor Month.

Since he launched the Million Trees Project, more than 21 000 trees have been planted in the greater Stellenbosch Municipal area.

“Trees are symbolic of nurturing, safety and perseverance,” says Sidego. “The benefits of trees to communities are enormous. Some studies have shown that there is less aggression and violence in leafy environments. There is also research which shows that children fare better academically when they grow up surrounded by trees.”

It is widely accepted that trees have environmental benefits – the most important being that it helps counter global warming and the greenhouse effect.

Trees that bear edible fruit can also help to counter food insecurity and tree planting projects can help to boost the economy by providing job opportunities.

Sidego and his team, headed by Gerald Esau, Manager: Community Services at Stellenbosch Municipality have created a website where individuals and organisations can register every tree planted.

“It is important for us to include schools and learners in this project because we believe that planting a tree can teach a child important lessons – not least caring for a living thing,” says Esau.

Those who cannot plant a tree, but who would nonetheless want to be involved in the project, can make a financial donation.

“Let us take hands countrywide to not only beautify our country, but to also contribute to the emotional wellbeing of every South African,” says Sidego.

For information about donations and how to register trees The Million Trees website can be accessed by clicking here or go to

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Please contact Stephanie Nieuwoudt 083 297 8785