Switzerland to the rescue

Swiss ambassador Helene Budliger Artieda and MEC for Economic Development, Tourism & Environmental Affairs Sihle Zikalala at the launch of the R7.5 million Vuthela

Ending the year on a positive note, the Ilembe municipality has joined forces with the Swiss government to change the face of the region with a R100 million rand upliftment programme.

Ilembe and two of its local municipalities, KwaDukuza and Mandeni, signed the partnership agreement in 2013 but the project officially kicked off last Wednesday after a six-year period where Swiss delegates closely inspected the district.

Vuthela – the name of the project – aims to promote economic growth through providing more services, jobs, skill development and increased international trading.

It comes at a time when youth unemployment is high and skills development in the district is desperately needed.

Ilembe municipality media liaison Khululiwe Makhaye said the programme budget was about R100 million.

“The programme will be in the inception phase from now until September 2018 where further project identification and scoping will be done. Thereafter a five year implementation phase will commence.”

Also read: Ilembe back from the brink

Swiss ambassador Helene Budliger Artieda said the district offered many opportunities for green economy and for developing urban areas for job creation.

“We decided in 2013 to finalise this project and it is good that we took time to develop the programme. From the Swiss side, we know that this is the right place for our investment.

“SA is a very important partner and the biggest trading partner in the African continent.

“We have over 100 companies operating in the county and more than 10 000 Swiss citizens living in the country. So it is safe to say that we love South Africa and we are happy to help build and promote the country.”

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Erica Abrahams

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