Mkhize: ‘More to fighting poverty than investing govt money’

2012-11-01 00:00

PUMPING government money into poverty alleviation programmes is not enough to solve the poverty issues in South Africa, KwaZulu-Natal Premier Zweli Mkhize said yesterday.

Mkhize said it was important to invest in the emotional and psychological well-being of those the government was trying to assist to make sure they were ready to identify with the project and work hard to make it a success.

He was addressing government, business and civil society during a National Development Agency (NDA) board stakeholder’s meeting, which was held at the Imperial Hotel in Pietermaritzburg.

Mkhize added: “Fighting poverty is not just about investing money in projects, it is about giving those people their self worth and their dignity back …

“This way we are not investing on the project, but we are investing in the emotion of that person.”

“What is necessary is that [the money] should come after you have helped the person regain their confidence and self worth.”

He said the government needed a common approach when investing in projects, “even at policy level, there is no common approach … you find at times that one project is funded by various government departments, with each official thinking that was his project and many of those projects last as long as the money.”

Mkhize said the government should invest in people who have demonstrated the capacity to save.

“Many people feel entitled [to getting government money] and that is something that the government needs to get rid of.”

He called on the NDA to continue its role in investing in projects and said the organisation should create structures that will allow individuals to participate and add value to them. “The organisation should not be occupied with creating multi millionaires.”

The NDA board members, led by the CEO of the agency Dr Vuyelwa Nhlapo, were in Pietermaritzburg as part of their tour of the organisations they are funding, including about 49 different projects in KwaZulu-Natal.

They visited two of their projects, a fresh produce outlet in the city centre and a crèche in Imbali.

Nhlapo said that they were satisfied with most projects’ progress.

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