SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT PROVIDES VITAL BOOST TO WOMEN-LED COOPERATIVE

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By Sello Tang

  • Deputy Minister Dr Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu commends the resilience of the women-led Ixhama Lamakhosikazi Sewing Cooperative in Osizweni, praising their determination to establish the cooperative despite financial challenges.
  • An official handover ceremony sees the National Development Agency (NDA) granting R94,279.50 to the cooperative, aimed at enhancing their operations through the acquisition of modern sewing machinery, crucial for their growth.
  • The cooperative, consisting of 5 members and specialising in sewing church uniforms and traditional attire, stands as a testament to self-sufficiency and community empowerment, bolstered by the support of the NDA in tackling poverty and inequality in South Africa.

The women of Ixhama Lamakhosikazi Sewing Cooperative were hailed by Deputy Minister of Social Development, Dr Hendrietta Bogopane-Zulu, for their resilience in establishing the cooperative in Osizweni, despite facing challenging financial conditions. Dr. Bogopane-Zulu commended their determination during difficult times.

She spoke at the official handover of a cheque for an R94,279.50 grant from the National Development Agency (NDA), aimed at strengthening the organisation by enabling the purchase of modern sewing machines. These machines include an industrial buttonhole, Interlock cover seam, Overlock machine, king drive lock, thread lock and a two-lock stitch machine. The cooperative is presently operating with only 3 King Star machines and 3 Overlock machines, so the funding was essential to acquire new machinery and enhance the existing equipment.

The event was held on 06 March 2024 at the premises of Ixhama Lamakhosikazi Corporative in Oswizeni, closer to Newcastle in Amajuba District Municipality, KwaZulu-Natal.

“I am very proud of your corporative because you did not wait for the government’s funding but showed determination by using your own money to start your sewing business,” said Deputy Minister Dr Bogopane-Zulu. She added that members of Ixhama Lamakhosikazi were a good example of how a corporative should be managed. The members continued to contribute their own money to sustain this sewing cooperative.

The NDA is an agency of the Department of Social Development. As a government agency tasked with aiding in the elimination of poverty in South Africa and addressing its root causes, the NDA must empower and strengthen the capacity of the civil society sector. The grant funding provided by the NDA also serves to foster more unified communities capable of addressing the triple threat of poverty, unemployment, and inequality.

The chairperson of the Ixhama Lamakhosikazi, Ms Beverly Cele, expressed appreciation for the financial support from the department’s agency. 

The cooperative, consisting of 5 members and operating in the textile sector, serves as a key entity in its field. Established in 2004 by middle-aged widows from Osizweni, it obtained official registration only in 2023. “We contributed money to hire this building we are working in,” Ms. Cele stated. However, she expressed optimism that the situation would improve now that they have secured 12-month rollover grant funding from the NDA.

They specialise in sewing church uniforms, attire for stokvels, traditional weddings and Umembeso attires. Ms Cele said these orders from local community groups kept the cooperative afloat throughout the years.  The members possess various skills that are also the backbone of the cooperative. Ms. Cele, a self-made entrepreneur, had her own business before joining the group. Additionally, the entity’s secretary brings 15 years of technical sewing skills to the table, acquired through employment at a sewing factory in Newcastle within the textile industry.

The NDA is a statutory agency of the government dedicated to combating poverty through the formalisation of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), capacity building, and providing funding to organised groups that establish community enterprises. These enterprises aim to drive economic transformation and create employment opportunities both for and within communities.

 

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