Those who have driven by Hartebeespoort Dam recently and seen a carpet of green on the surface of the water will know the invasive Water Hyacinth well. The invasive plant grows in polluted water, compromising water quality as it does so. Hya Matla Organics is an innovative start-up that turns the invasive plant into commercial products such as fertiliser and animal feed – and the start-up has just received a R25 million investment from the Mintirho Foundation, Coca-Cola Beverages South Africa’s (CCBSA) foundation.
John Kondowe, Executive Director of Hya Matla Organics, said, “By harvesting the plant and turning it into organic fertilizer we complete the cycle of turning the pollutants into nutrients which then feed plants or animals. Thus, integrating the cycle back into economic ecosystems which benefit the economy at large.” The project is currently being implemented in Hartebeespoort Dam near Pretoria.
CCBSA Mintirho Foundation’s Executive Manager, Noxolo Kahlana, said Hya Matla Organics caught the foundation’s eye because of its water management benefits. “Water is something on which our business is totally dependent, and in a water scarce country like ours, we have a responsibility as industry to help where we can to conserve water. Therefore, supporting initiatives aimed at cleaning our water catchment areas is critical, and something that CCBSA is committed to advancing,” Kahlana said.
“As CCBSA, we understand that it will take more than one entity to deal with the challenge of conserving water and keeping it clean for consumption, hence our decision to support this project and to ensure it is a a success,” Kahlana added.