New centre to provide jobs for Cornubia residents

2014-10-22 00:00

TONGAAT Hulett and the government, partners in the 15 000 housing unit Cornubia project, have established an incubation and empowerment centre.

The centre co-ordinates projects that aim to upskill some of the poor people who receive houses for free in the project, and from surrounding communities.

Tongaat Hulett corporate director Bongani Gumede said there would be a “zero unemployment drive”.

A social demographic and skills database would be used as a tool for planning.

“We design jobs around the capacity people have, rather than design jobs for skills we don’t have,” said Gumede.

Target population segments are households without income, youth, women and the disabled.

Gumede said Cornubia stood between Umhlanga and Mount Edgecombe and there were potential work opportunities from the homes in these suburbs such as gardening, domestic work and small building projects.

In addition, the more than 400 hectares of open land in the Cornubia development would also present opportunities such as, for instance, high intensity vegetable farming, he said.

The centre had already started some environmental restoration and incubation projects, as the first 450 residents had moved into Cornubia.

Gumede said he was confident that as people moved into the development, and the job incubation schemes gathered steam, a great many new skills and other opportunities would arise.

Opportunities to be pursued at the incubation and empowerment centre include environmental restoration, landscaping and commercial vegetable farming, through co-operatives.

Workforce preparation for construction and various industrial, commercial, and private home maintenance services work opportunities would be done.

There would also be a back-to-school initiative.

He said the 400 hectares potentially hid criminals; becoming a dumping zone; promoting new informal settlements; being fire hazard; and becoming a home for alien and invasive plant growth polluting the oHlange River catchment.

“Managing the open space provides local employment.”

The environmental management programme includes eradicating alien plants and planting indigenous and fruit trees, vegetables, flora and fauna.

Nurseries were being established around Cornubia.

Working in partnership with the Office of the Premier, Wildlands Conservation Trust and eThekwini municipal environment parks and solid waste units, the alien invasive eradication project involves removing alien flora along a 10 km river route.

Eight Blackburn residents have started in the east with another eight Cornubia residents starting in the west — and they will take about three years to meet in the middle.

Tongaat Hulett and eThekwini Municipality Business Support unit purchased the original infrastructure, equipment and pilot gardens seedlings, and currently vegetables are harvested monthly and the funds deposited in a fund for reinvestment.

However, once the three organic vegetable farms are fully operational, sales would be expanded and produce sold to the adjoining housing estates in uMhlanga.

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