Co-ops get backing from Zuma

Canaan Mdletshe

Canaan Mdletshe

ANC president Jacob Zuma has promised to support the country's cooperatives after his party wins the national elections.

He made the promise in Durban on Tuesday night to 400 delegates at the International Cooperatives' conference.

"Even before the arrival of colonialism ... our people lived in a cooperative world. In our country we are strongly committed to the building of a shared economy, wherein the state and the economy work together for one common goal," Zuma said.

"Co-ops promote collective self-employment," he said.

"The country has seen a rapid increase of cooperatives, from 4000 in 2004 to more than 12000 in 2009, and KwaZulu-Natal has seen a magnificent increase in this regard and is the greatest contributor to this massive increase countrywide."

But much remained to be done, he said.

"On a national scale, the contribution of cooperatives to the economy remains minimal.

"Systematic support is required for the formation and operation of co-ops. The ANC will in the next five years promote cooperatives to the next level."

King Goodwill Zwelithini called on all stakeholders to concentrate on the issues that drove economic development, saying that Africa was rich in natural resources and that outsiders should not be allowed to "steal our riches".

"Cultural tourism can be the catalyst to economic development. With 2010 looming, this sector is certain to see a massive growth," Zwelithini said.

"But I must warn that there will be life after the 2010 World Cup and people must now plan for the generations that will come after the soccer tournament."