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Operation Vula Fund paves the way for budding SMMEs

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KZN Economic Development, Tourism and Environmental Affairs MEC, Nomusa Dube-Ncube, has handed over more than R50 million worth of equipment and machinery to 12 emerging entrepreneurs in uMgungundlovu District.

Among the donated goods were vehicles, bakery and catering equipment, animal feed, and other machinery.

This comes after the department stepped up to help up and coming entrepreneurs who applied for financial help through Operation Vula Fund.

This will help the provincial government to use its procurement system to motivate entrepreneurs from previously disadvantaged communities to take advantage of the business opportunities available in the economy.

The programme enables large companies as well as Small, Medium and Micro Enterprise Businesses (SMMEs) owned by women, youth and people with disabilities, to become preferred suppliers.

It also gives them access to funding aimed at skills training and marketing.

Around R25.6 million has been set aside to support existing small enterprises - 87 in the clothing and textile sector, with another 15 in toilet paper manufacturing.

Speaking at the ceremony held on Tuesday, Dube-Ncube said that more than R11.7 million has been allocated to support 15 existing small enterprises in bakery and confectionery in townships and rural areas, adding that the department will ensure that one of these bakeries are situated in every rural area.

“An amount of R5.4 million has been allocated to support five small enterprises in detergents and chemical cleaning products manufacturing, and another R18.3 million has been allocated for emerging entrepreneurs in various sectors of the economy.”

Dube-Ncube added that government relies on entrepreneurs to help create jobs for millions of people in the townships and rural areas.

KZN Localisation Framework

In the meantime, the MEC announced that the KZN Localisation Framework is being finalised to ensure that locals also benefit from economic opportunities.

“We are channelling our energies and resources, as the department and our entities, towards building local capacity. We want the people of this province, across all corners, to produce local products for domestic consumption and exports,” Dube-Ncube said. 

“Importantly, when we presented the Budget Vote on 2 June 2020, we pointed out that our programme of action included a focus on the entrepreneurship revolution. We emphasised that government has a responsibility to unshackle millions of people from the bondages of economic oppression.

"Today, we are handing over to you this equipment that will ensure that you are the creators of wealth for the nation,” Dube-Ncube said.

The MEC emphasised that Covid-19 prompted the department to double its efforts to translate the political freedom “we enjoy into economic freedom for millions of people in this province”.

“... The greatest impact of Covid-19 has been job losses in both informal and formal economies. We have observed that job losses have resulted in spiralling levels of poverty. Many people have been retrenched and condemned to rural villages and peri-urban informal settlements, with no means of survival,” Dube-Ncube said.

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