Literacy initiative aims to improve money skills

MANY people have "financial literacy" problems and South Africans in particular lack numeracy skills.

To counter this, KwaZulu-Natal MEC for finance Ina Cronje yesterday launched a programme aimed at creating a more financially literate population.

The initiative to teach the public how to make and save money was launched in Pietermaritzburg and is set to spread throughout the province soon.

The idea started in countries such as Australia and Singapore.

The targeted groups are Grade 11 pupils, cooperatives, youth and women in business.

Though those supported will be randomly chosen, the department will focus specifically on people from the rural areas.

On the day of the launch, a cooperative from Imbali was the first group to undergo a session in financial literacy.

Their cooperative produces tomatoes.

"The project will be ongoing and there is no budget, simply because money shouldn't be the deciding factor when helping the communities," said Cronje.

"We don't want to bore people with formal lectures that will confuse them even more. We want the training to be practical.

"We all want to see our money increasing.

"Unfortunately there are no magic tricks for doubling our money.

"The main reason for the project is to improve the skills of those that want to increase their income and also be able to save at the same time."

The group of 11 from Imbali is called Ixhiba Cooperative, which is one of many groups on the rise in becoming active participants in the reconstruction and development of the province.

Their chairperson, Hlaleleni Buthelezi, said: "Though we all know that when running a business one needs to save, how to go about doing that is a mission.

"We have challenges throughout the business that can be easily solved but money issues are not that easy to us."

Meanwhile, one of the training managers, David Reneckle, said they were committed to the province and this was a contribution they would give to showcase their skills and abilities.

The literacy classes intend to have people understand their relationship with money, practise money management and invest for the future.