Enterprise Ilembe has hit the ground running this year, determined to prove the importance of their position in the district.
Funded mainly by Ilembe municipality, the entity was formed to drive economic growth through development and tourism initiatives in the district.
Earlier this year, the Democratic Alliance in Ilembe accused the organisation of not performing according to their mandate. The political party also questioned their competency to drive economic growth in the district and called for Ilembe municipality to ‘stop ploughing money into something that was not bearing fruits’.
In light of this, Enterprise Ilembe presented a detailed outline of their developmental plans, successes and budget to senior Ilembe officials and the media last week.
CEO Nkosinathi Nkomzwayo said the agency had a clean audit since 2013, showing they are managing their finances properly. He said their projects were making a huge difference at grassroots level.
“We operate in the agricultural, manufacturing, tourism and informal sector of the district. We currently have a school nutrition programme which feeds 159 000 children in Ilembe within 409 schools. We supply 180 tons of fresh produce to schools, 69 percent of which is bought locally. From this programme, 119 farmers have benefited as well as 51 transporters. Thirty-nine transporters are youth and 32 are women.”
Given that agriculture has a good growth potential in Ilembe, Nkomzwayo said hydroponic tunnels have been set up within four municipalities in Ilembe, to produce yields all year round.
“Currently two are operations in KwaDukuza and Mandeni where we are growing tomatoes and also servicing the private sector.
“More than 35 jobs have been created thus far but there will be more very soon.”
Making the most of their opportunities, Nkomzwayo said the entity was bottling wine which was locally produced and they are facilitating business growth through tourism marketing and a skills development programme.
For the current financial year, Ilembe municipality allocated R26 million to the agency while the education department allocated R18 million for the school’s nutrition programme.
The bulk of the money (30 percent) is going toward salaries within the agency while the remainder is split into operational costs, tourism, maintenance and initiatives.
Ilembe mayor Sduduzo Gumede said that as a major shareholder, he was supportive and confident that the agency would continue to deliver according to their mandate.
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