This programme boosts women and the youth economically, writes
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.”
Phindile Masuku, the
bakery’s managing director, in
the Soshanguve community where she and her four partners are
making a success of their business