Cooperatives could solve many of SA’s ills

Although the contribution of cooperatives to the country’s Gross Domestic Product is minimal at present, the future of employment creation in South Africa lies with cooperatives due to their ability to create a captive market, said the Chief Director of Cooperatives Development at the Department of Trade and Industry Jeffrey Ndumo

Ndumo was speaking at the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto yesterday at a graduation ceremony for members of the Soweto-based cooperatives who completed the enterprise development and empowerment training workshop offered by the dti last month.

He said cooperatives as a form of a business model empower communities and assist them in creating employment for themselves and eradicate poverty.

“Cooperatives are established by members of the community with a common purpose after identifying a social, cultural or economic need that will assist them improve their lives.  Economically, cooperatives are a good and successful model to create employment and eliminate poverty. They are also one of the best ways and means of mobilising the marginalised sections of our society and bring them into the mainstream economy. He added that the training that was offered by the dti to members of cooperatives was in line with the department’s mandate to promote entrepreneurship in the country and establishing, supporting and growing cooperatives.

Portfolio Committee on Trade and Industry, Xitlhangoma Mabasa said he decided to facilitate the training for members of cooperatives in his constituency in order to contribute in reducing the failure rate of small enterprises, including cooperatives.

“I felt it was necessary to assist these entrepreneurs by equipping them with the basic skills and knowledge such as financial management, marketing, business management and human resource management. I reckoned this would go a long way in ensuring that the financial assistance that the government Is ready to plough into small businesses should find the fertile ground as people will be better capacitated about how to utilise it effectively. In this way not many small enterprises will fail and they will be able to take their rightful place in the South African economy and contribute in creating more jobs,” said Mabasa.

One of the businesspeople who received a certificate, Ms Ntebo Takalo (53) said the three-day training workshop was beneficial to all the five members of her cooperative, Gauta Ya Letlotlo La Taimane.

“The skills and knowledge we acquired at the workshop has opened our eyes and minds to numerous things we would have not been exposed to had we not attended. These include tendering for projects, running the cooperative like a business, applying for finance, as well as financial and business planning,” she said.

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