LEPHALALE — An Informal Micro Enterprise Development Programme (IMEDP) event was held at the Living Letters Ministry on Friday 19 October.
The Deputy Minister of Small Business Development, Cassel Mathale, in conjunc-tion with Lephalale Local Municipality Mayor, Cllr Jack Maeko, donated equipment and goods to local beneficiaries of the pro-gramme. 14 beneficiaries from Lephalale received equipment and goods to support their businesses as part of the IMEDP.
The beneficiaries, who are part of the 7 848 applicants who applied at the Department of Small Business Development (DSDB), received tools and equipment such as deep fryers, printers, laptops, stoves and sewing machines etc. as support mechanism to enable them to improve and grow their small businesses.
More than 500 community members, were part of the handover ceremony that, according to role players, can be described as one of the most progressive programmes that could change the lives of many local informal traders.
Minister Cassel Mathale expressed his appreciation to the stakeholders, including Eskom, Exxaro and Enel Solar Plant who outlined their enterprise development plans and available business opportunities. The representatives of the above companies agreed that “it is very crucial that the private sector partners with government in order to create opportunities.”
Minister Mathale applauded Eskom for completing an agricultural master plan by looking for opportunities to empower local people and at the same time enhance the production of agricultural goods.
Grace Kgosana, on behalf of the beneficiaries, said it is high time people realise that not everyone can be hired by Eskom or the municipality. “I appeal to you to get jobs and to be open minded. Make use of all the opportunities available in government as well as in the private sector. I am humbled by today’s initiative and I would like to thank the Minister and the Municipality for the donation. It gives our businesses a kick-start,” she said.
Gabriel Mkhonza from Exxaro said they realised that investment in projects alone is not enough, there is also a need to invest in people through skills and enterprise and supplier development.
“This year our CEO and the board has taken enterprise development to a higher level. We realise that we are not promoting transformation in South Africa by not committing to enterprise supplier development and this year so far we have spent close to R200 million on enterprise and supplier development in each of the communities that we are operating in, including Lephalale.
“What makes me proud is that I see some excellent suppliers, black owned, and women owned suppliers from Lephalale, approaching us and asking us for additional funding to be able to grow their businesses. With the success that Exxaro has achieved, we are planning for bigger and better enterprise and supplier development opportunities next year.
“It is important to note that one of the key strategic ideas what we came up with is to make agriculture an important part of our enterprise development. A large portion of the budget next year which will be directed towards enterprise development,” Mkhonza said.
Cllr Jack Maeko said in his closing remarks that the Municipality prioritises the agenda of economic transformation and encourages partnerships with the local private sector to better the lives of the local community.