Indigent residents in areas surrounding Durban’s northern suburbs have been given a lifeline, with training which empowers them to take part in economic opportunities.
This is thanks to various projects by the eThekwini Municipality in partnership with Tongaat Hulett.
Mayor Zandile Gumede did a walkabout of some projects including a shop and business complex at the Cornubia housing development yesterday.
Inspecting progress in the construction of the complex, Gumede said it would be an important facility to empower small business owners within Cornubia.
“It will give them space to trade, make money and create jobs. Cornubia is a success story for the city and we are happy with the way it is being run in partnership with the business sector” she said.
Tongaat Hulett executive Bongani Gumede no relation said part of the land on which the Cornubia housing development is built was sold to the government by Tongaat Hulett. The company had also developed factories and retail facilities to bring jobs and economic opportunities to the people living there.
The reality of social housing is that it brings the poorest of the poor who generally have little in the way of skills.
“This means if you do not intervene, those people will not be able to access the jobs and opportunities around them, which require skills, and other opportunities. One of the initiatives in this regard is ensuring that we invest in communities themselves so they have the capacity to work and start their own businesses that could benefit from the local economy in which they exist,” said Bongani.
To skill people for construction opportunities, there is a school of excellence – a partnership with the municipality’s skills academy In the past year alone, 2 000 people from disadvantaged areas around uMhlanga, have been trained and more than 70% placed in work opportunities.
An agriculture project is also underway Cooperatives are allocated land to farm vegetables in exchange for cleaning the streams.
“This means we remove the pollution before it reaches the river systems. Because we want them to farm for commercial, we bring in unemployed agriculture graduates, who supervise the community in climate-smart, farming linking them to niche markets to supply organic vegetables” said Bongani.
Mayor Gumede will officially launch the projects next month.