Cooperatives vital to uplift rural poor

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

Cooperatives are a vital cog in bridging the gap between the first and the second economies and bringing economic freedom to the poor.

This is according to Nhlanhla Nene, chairman of the finance portfolio committee in parliament.

He was speaking at a two-day summit at Gamalakhe on the KwaZulu-Natal south coast.

"You can have economic growth without economic development, but you cannot have economic development without economic growth," said Nene.

He said specially founded cooperative banks would assist the poor in rural areas.

"Cooperative banks are only for cooperatives. Their profit and loans are only for cooperatives.

"You will set your own interest rates, and communicate directly with the Reserve Bank of South Africa," he added.

Ugu district mayor, Siyabonga Cele said developmental projects taking place in his district would not be effective unless residents and local cooperatives worked together.

Two weeks ago he led a delegation to Spain and Portugal to canvass businesses to invest in Ugu, and they agreed.

"We will be building a 2010 Ugu Sports Complex, develop our Hibberdene small-craft harbour and Portuguese Village."

He said they would also be renovating the Margate airport because of the move of Durban International Airport to Ushaka International Airport in La Lucia, north of Durban.

"The airport would play a big role in helping tourists descending on our country in 2010, and that forms part of our development projects, which locals should partake in," he said.

Nompumelelo Mtolo of the Fez'idingo Cooperative said they had been manufacturing hospital clothing for patients, doctors and nurses.