Kenyans to build KZN co-ops

2009-07-06 00:00

THE provincial government has roped in experts from Kenya, Nigeria and Lesotho in order to strengthen the co-operatives movement in KwaZulu-Natal.

Premier Dr Zweli Mkhize, who was a key driving force behind the co-operative movement in KZN during his tenure as Finance & Economic Development MEC, told The Witness that five experts on co-operatives from Kenya have been roped in to train local people.

He said they hope to attract more experts from Kenya soon.

Mkhize was speaking at a recent civic reception at city hall to welcome delegates of the four-day 2009 National Co-operatives Conference & Exhibition in Pietermaritzburg.

The event was attended by Trade & Industry (DTI) Deputy Minister Maria Ntuli, acting Economic Development MEC Ina Cronje, uMgungundlovu District Mayor Yusuf Bhamjee and Msunduzi Mayor Zanele Hlatshwayo.

Mkhize said the five Kenyan experts have joined two others from Lesotho and Nigeria in a special department at the University of Zululand.

“We do not have enough people with the deeper knowledge of co-operatives … who can train them.

“It will take some time … to create a strong base for training,” explained Mkhize.

It is understood that the new programme is partly as a result of a visit by a KZN delegation to Kenya late last year.

The government’s multi-million- rand strategy of using co-operatives as a vehicle for local economic development of poor communities stepped up a gear with the staging of the national four-day co-operatives event in Pietermaritzburg.

The event, which also celebrated the International Day of Co-operatives on Saturday, was organised by, among others, the DTI, the KZN Department of Economic Development and the Msunduzi Municipality.

Ntuli revealed that KZN is the province with the most co-operatives in South Africa — about 28%.

A co-operative is an autonomous association of persons united voluntarily to meet their common economic, social and cultural needs and aspirations through a jointly owned and democratically controlled enterprise.

Co-operatives principles:

1. Voluntary and open membership;

2. Democratic member control;

3. Member economic participation;

4. Autonomy and independence;

5. Education, training and information;

6. Co-operation among co-operatives;

7. Concern for community

Source: The KZN Department of Economic Development website.

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