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The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry, Ms Elizabeth Thabethe praised a group of young Mpumalanga people for contributing to employment creation and poverty alleviation. Thabethe was speaking over the weekend at an event hosted by the Small Enterprise Development Agency (Seda) at the Crocodile Hotel, in Schagen, outside Nelspruit at the weekend, to celebrate the success of the Insimu Yami Youth Cooperative, which was established by five young people in 2009. Today, the cooperative is providing employment to twenty people.

“Members of this cooperative have proved beyond reasonable doubt that our young people can contribute effectively to creating employment in this country, instead of complaining and demanding jobs from government or the private sector. We as government have not only came here to give them a pat on the back for doing a great job, but we are here to assess their needs and see how and where we can assist them in order to enable them to grow and sustain their enterprise,” said Thabethe.

Thabethe, did a walkabout at the 65 hectare farm together with the Mpumalanga MEC of Economic Development, Environment and Tourism, Mr Norman Mokoena and Seda CEO, Ms Hlonela Lupuwana. Her entourage was shown some of the 12 000 trees from which the members of the cooperative harvest macadamia nuts for processing and exporting.

“I have really been impressed by what I saw here today. These youths must be an example to other young people in Mpumalanga and other parts of the country. This country needs more young people who can take initiatives and look at opportunities which they can take advantage of and create jobs for themselves. the dti, in conjunction with the provincial government and agencies established to develop small enterprises, will work together to ensure that the challenges we identified at the farm are attended to, and resolved,” added Thabethe.

She announced that the dti would assist members of the cooperative to access markets, starting with an exhibition in India soon.

Lupuwana said Seda would be setting up a task team that will produce a turn-around strategy in six months and coordinate government efforts aimed at helping the cooperative improve their production capacity and develop further income streams. “The cooperative will be assisted to explore options of fish and pig farming as well as opening up a guest farm for cultural tourism purposes, among others,” announced Lupuwana.

MEC Mokoena said his department had developed Mpumalanga’s own version of the New Economic Growth Path, and cooperatives were earmarked as one of the vehicles that would be supported to create employment in the province.

For further information contact Sidwell Medupe: Director Media Relations and Publicity on telephone (012) 394 1650/ 079 492 1774 or via e-mail: MSMedupe@thedti.gov.za

ISSUED BY:                Communication and Marketing, the dti
MEDIA ENQUIRIES TO: Head of Communication - Clement Manoko
E-MAIL:                    
NManoko@thedti.gov.za
TEL:                        (012) 394 1712 
MOBILE:                   082 3118 931                    
DATE:                      Sunday, 10 April 2011