Com­mu­nity project turfed out de­spite pleas

Zululand Observer - Monday - - ZO NEWS - Or­rin Singh

AF­TER many months of try­ing to en­gage with the lo­cal mu­nic­i­pal­ity, the Zikulise Com­mu­nity Uplift­ment Project faces the im­mi­nent threat of be­ing evicted.

The reg­is­tered non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion has served the com­mu­nity from the Em­pan­geni Arts and Crafts Cen­tre on Turn­bull Street for the past 14 years, by pro­vid­ing in­come gen­er­at­ing skills train­ing to the lo­cal un­em­ployed.

How­ever, they are now threat­ened with be­ing ren­dered home­less at the end of the cur­rent month as a re­sult of a pur­ported de­ci­sion by the coun­cil­lors of the uMh­lathuze mu­nic­i­pal­ity.

Zikulise is ap­peal­ing to the pub­lic for as­sis­tance as ‘it ap­pears the City of uMh­lathuze is not pre­pared to as­sist us in help­ing com­mu­nity mem­bers.

‘We have had the ben­e­fit of oc­cu­py­ing the mu­nic­i­pal build­ings at a very nom­i­nal an­nual rental and has en­joyed the sup­port of the mu­nic­i­pal­ity for the past 10 years with Mayor Mh­longo the of­fi­cial pa­tron of Zikulise,’ said a spokesper­son.

‘Such sup­port as was pre­vi­ously ad­vanced has al­lowed Zikulise to ad­vance its train­ing to par­tic­i­pants and cre­ate a com­mu­nity ser­vice which has re­ceived world-wide ac­claim.

‘Through such ac­claim Zikulise donors have as­sisted in up­grad­ing the build­ings to pro­vide a win­dow to show­case the cen­tre and in­deed to pro­vide a spring­board for the de­vel­op­ment and growth of lo­cal en­trepreneurs.

‘The cen­tre has, as a re­sult of gen­er­ous donors, been up­graded to meet the needs of a grow­ing train­ing cen­tre and has been used as a win­dow to ex­hibit the suc­cess sto­ries of trainees.’

How­ever, this project is now sadly in jeop­ardy and should a com­pro­mise not be reached with the of­fi­cials of the City, Zikulise may be forced to close its doors and re­lo­cate to a new venue thereby de­priv­ing po­ten­tial trainees with an op­por­tu­nity to ac­quire skills.

‘Un­for­tu­nately, mu­nic­i­pal rep­re­sen­ta­tives have in­formed Zikulise they do not in­tend re­new­ing the lease and that the or­gan­i­sa­tion must make way, as early as this month, for the Na­tional Youth De­vel­op­ment Agency,’ said the spokesper­son.

‘The mu­nic­i­pal of­fi­cials have stated their pref­er­ence for that agency.

‘Whilst ev­ery ef­fort has been made to en­gage with the mu­nic­i­pal­ity, in­clud­ing an of­fer of shar­ing the premises, it ap­pears that the lo­cal coun­cil­lors are in­tent on evict­ing Zikulise at a time when train­ing is much needed in an ever dwin­dling em­ploy­ment en­vi­ron­ment.’

To date over 5 000 mem­bers of the Zu­l­u­land com­mu­nity from im­pov­er­ished homes have ben­e­fited from re­ceiv­ing train­ing at no cost to them as a re­sult of this iconic Zu­l­u­land or­gan­i­sa­tion and its fundrais­ing ef­forts.

‘Zikulise would like to con­tinue to em­brace the drive to cre­ate job op­por­tu­ni­ties and align it­self with the gov­ern­ment’s agenda to ad­dress job cre­ation, en­trepreneur­ship and the erad­i­ca­tion of poverty,’ the lo­cal NPO noted.

Zikulise

Zikulise has op­er­ated from the Em­pan­geni Arts and Crafts Cen­tre for the past 10 years - but that is about to end

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