Silokotho Primary Co-operative in Umlazi, KwaZulu-Natal, is one of the successful entities that used its National Development Agency (NDA) grant to grow its business.
This is according to the Minister of Social Development, Lindiwe Zulu, who visited the co-operative recently.
“We are here as part of the mandate of the NDA to make sure that they support co-operatives to help eradicate poverty in South Africa. The NDA is helping us realise the objective of government to create sustainable jobs. We want our people to get support from government for them to create sustainable livelihoods and Silokotho is doing that,” said Minister Zulu.
Silokotho is a black-owned co-operative that was established in 2011 by three women and two men who were responding to challenges facing their community, including unemployment and orphaned children because of the prevalence of HIV/Aids.
Its core business was sewing clothes on a small-scale basis and using the profits to support its orphan care programme. Of late, it has been producing personal protective equipment and technical textile products.
The NDA grant of R479 836.50 enabled Silokotho to purchase the equipment and machinery needed to expand.
Thandazile Gqwaru, one of the founding members, says that as a result, they have been able to attract the attention of companies such as Foschini and Toyota, which had expressed interest in working with them, provided they could increase production to meet demand.
Gqwaru says the co-operative has 38 employees, of which 21 are female, 17 male, 14 are youth and one is physically challenged.
The NDA was allocated R219 million in the 2022/2023 budget to ensure that civil society organisations, including co-operatives, are supported in their quest to enhance government’s objective of poverty eradication.
Minister Zulu said the Umlazi co-op is helping to fulfil the NDA’s mission of creating 3 000 work opportunities in the current financial year.
Gqwaru encouraged other co-operatives to follow in Silokotho’s footsteps. “They must believe in themselves; have a clear goal, protect it and also implement it. Along the way, there will be challenges, but they must know that from the challenges come opportunities.”
For similar opportunities, contact the NDA by email at [email protected](link sends e-mail) or call 011 018 5500.
Did you know?
The NDA is an agency of the Department of Social Development responsible for empowering the civil society sector.
Written by Kgaogelo Letsebe
This article was originally published in the GCIS Vuk’uzenzele.