Co-ops ‘create jobs, beat poverty’


    7 November 2012

    Co-operatives can be used as a business model to effectively empower South African communities by creating employment and helping to eradicate poverty, says the chief director of co-operatives development at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Jeffrey Ndumo.

    Ndumo spoke on Monday at the graduation ceremony of members of Soweto-based co-operatives who completed the enterprise development and empowerment training workshop offered by the DTI last month.

    “Co-operatives 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,” he said at the Diepkloof Community Hall in Soweto, southwest of Johannesburg.

    “Economically, co-operatives 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.”

    Creating a captive market

    Ndumo said while the contribution of co-operatives to the country’s Gross Domestic Product was minimal, “the future of employment creation in South Africa lies with co-operatives due to their ability to create a captive market”.

    The training was in line with the DTI’s mandate to promote entrepreneurship in the country and establish, support and grow co-operatives.

    The graduation ceremony was hosted by a member of Parliament’s portfolio committee on trade and industry, Xitlhangoma Mabasa.

    Mabasa said he decided to facilitate the training for members of co-operatives in his constituency in order to contribute in reducing the failure rate of small enterprises, including co-operatives.

    “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,” he said.

    “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.”

    One of the businesspeople who received a certificate, Ntebo Takalo, said the three-day training workshop was beneficial to all the five members of her co-operative, 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.