Farm and loads of cash for poor community
Life is becoming sweeter for the people of Emalangeni near Port Shepstone in KwaZulu-Natal.
The government has given them loads of money, a sugar cane farm, a R9million library and work.
"I urge you to take good care of the farm. It belongs to you," Land Affairs Minister Lulu Xingwana said when she handed over the farm this week.
She said Emalangeni, on the South Coast, was given the farm because of its determination to use their land productively.
But the area is also being devastated by HIV-Aids and needs all the support it can get.
The area is afflicted by poverty and unemployment too and there are many orphans and child-headed homes.
Adults survive growing vegetable gardens and on piece jobs on sugar cane farms in the area.
But since the new owners took over the farm at the beginning of the year, 67 people have been employed full-time and there are 110 seasonal workers.
Included in the ambitious project is a library worth about R9 million, the first in the area.
In the past children had had to travel to Umzinto to find any books they wanted.
By early next year, when the structure is expected to be completed, they will get information closer to home.
Providing food for the body is an association of 150 unemployed women. They grow vegetables and sell them to local supermarkets.
But they are not stopping there.
They also plan to sell produce to the local hospitals.
A group of 25 men in the area has also formed a trust and launched an application with the Department of Land Affairs to buy 200ha of land for them.
Ass part of empowering the communities, 35 physical science and mathematics pupils have been selected by the Department of Transport for bursaries to study engineering.
Transport head Chris Hlabisa said the department was encouraging young people to study the subjects that are regarded as scarce skills.
The community's enthusiasm for farming and using their land effectively has prompted various government departments to invest millions into projects such as sugar cane and vegetable farming in Emalangeni.