ECONOMIES

This pro­gramme boosts women and the youth eco­nom­i­cally, writes

CityPress - - Gauteng State Of The Province -

Seven months ago, five young di­rec­tors of a cater­ing co­op­er­a­tive in Soshanguve, Pre­to­ria, were in dire straits be­cause busi­ness was not go­ing well. To­day they are run­ning the hi-tech Kgora com­mu­nity bak­ery and have a turnover of mil­lions of rands, bak­ing be­tween 500 and 700 loaves of bread ev­ery day, as well as cakes. And not one of them was a baker be­fore.

This is all thanks to the Gaut­eng govern­ment’s town­ship-econ­omy revitalisation strat­egy.

The bak­ery pro­ject of the Imvelo Multi-pur­pose Co­op­er­a­tive was of­fi­cially launched by Tsh­wane mayor Kgosientso Ramok­gopa in Au­gust last year as part of the city of Tsh­wane’s pro­gramme to boost town­ship busi­nesses.

The pro­ject, in which the city coun­cil in­vested R3.8 mil­lion in the form of a build­ing and bak­ing equip­ment, is a com­mu­nity ini­tia­tive based on the pro­vin­cial govern­ment’s pri­or­i­ties of food se­cu­rity, the em­pow­er­ment of women and young peo­ple, em­ploy­ment and com­mu­nity in­volve­ment.

The bak­ery will re­main the prop­erty of the city, and the en­trepreneurs can re­new the lease when it ex­pires. This pro­ject forms part of the prov­ince’s strat­egy to re­vive the economies of town­ships through­out Gaut­eng.

Premier David Makhura said in his state of the prov­ince ad­dress (SOPA) last year that town­ship economies would be at the cen­tre of Gaut­eng’s pro­gramme for rad­i­cal eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

This af­ter the Gaut­eng govern­ment held a con­sul­ta­tion process with more than 50 000 busi­nesses from 65 town­ships.

Makhura said in his 2015 SOPA that his ad­min­is­tra­tion had al­ready set aside more than R160 mil­lion for its town­ship-econ­omy strat­egy.

“In the 2015/16 fi­nan­cial year, more than R300 mil­lion was al­lo­cated to sup­port town­ship busi­nesses.

“Over the next five years, the Jo­han­nes­burg city coun­cil will set aside R3 bil­lion for this pur­pose; the Tsh­wane mu­nic­i­pal­ity will al­lo­cate R22 mil­lion and Ekurhu­leni more than R150 mil­lion to sup­port town­ship busi­nesses and en­trepreneurs.

“We are also paving the way for the es­tab­lish­ment of a town­ship-econ­omy part­ner­ship fund be­tween the pri­vate sec­tor, town­ship busi­nesses and govern­ment to en­cour­age busi­nesses and co­op­er­a­tives in the town­ships,” promised Makhura.

Phindile Ma­suku, the man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Imvelo, and her co-di­rec­tors, Zanele Maja, Phillimon Nakedi, Sarah Nkosi and Tonny Se­both­oma, have been among the suc­cess­ful ben­e­fi­cia­ries of the strat­egy.

“Busi­ness is very good,” said Ma­suku when City Press sta­ble­mate Beeld vis­ited the com­pany on Thurs­day. “We have our slack times be­cause of the ever-ris­ing prices of our sup­plies, but the day-to­day op­er­a­tions are run­ning very smoothly be­cause the sur­round­ing com­mu­nity sup­ports us very well.”

She says the bak­ery sells be­tween 500 and 700 loaves per day.

“Peo­ple come to buy bread here, but we also de­liver bread to spaza shops, schools and a kinder­garten in the area. Be­sides the bread, we also bake cakes, and now also sell cooldrinks and potato crisps.

“Our dream is to ex­pand our busi­ness fur­ther and hope govern­ment agen­cies in the area can also sup­port us.”

The di­rec­tors bake, pack­age and sell their prod­ucts them­selves, but they also have vol­un­teers who help out.

She said the idea for a bak­ery just popped up sud­denly when their pre­vi­ous cater­ing busi­ness was not do­ing well.

“We took the idea to the ward coun­cil­lor in our ward, who in­volved the city coun­cil. We then went for train­ing, and look where we are now.”

PHOTO: THAPELO MAPHAKELA

Phindile Ma­suku, the

bak­ery’s man­ag­ing di­rec­tor, in

the Soshanguve com­mu­nity where she and her four part­ners are

mak­ing a suc­cess of their busi­ness

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