Skills key to developing local economies

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Belfast - Young people in Mpumalanga have been urged to pursue skills that will improve the local economy.

"It is critical for the youth of this community to go out, get skilled and come back to save their own community. That is why Safcol is signing this compact in order to assist with skills development programmes," said Department of Public Enterprise Deputy Director General, Kgathatso Tlhakudi.

He was speaking to youth in Belfast during the recent signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the state-owned South African Forestry Company (Safcol) and the community of Emakhazeni.

Tlhakudi said their aim was to support the programmes that were already being implemented by the municipality and other role players, as well as new programmes that still needed to be implemented.

He said the MoU would give the community members an opportunity to approach Safcol and the municipality in order to talk about development issues and the changes they want to see in their community.

He said the signing of the accord will create more job opportunities and alleviate poverty in the community of Belfast.

Safcol chief executive officer Nomkhitha Mona said her company would work closely with the municipality and the community forum to address developmental issues.

She said they would outsource some of its services to local small business owners.

"We will make sure that the issues we have outlined in the MoU benefit everyone who lives within the municipality of Emakhazeni," said Mona.

Mona said as a result of the signing of the MoU, her company would come up with the projects that would help to train small business owners and aspiring business people.

She said Safcol, the municipality and the community members, are expected to start working on implementing the contents of the MoU in April.

Emakhazeni executive mayor Xolile Ngwenya welcomed the signing of the MoU.

"We are very pleased by Safcol's action of involving the municipality in dealing with issues of community development. Our social partners will learn a lot from this company," said Ngwenya.

The leader of the Emakhazeni Community Forum, Marvin Nkabinde, has also welcomed the signing of the accord.

"We are happy to sign this compact, which will see the community members becoming partners with Safcol. This company is a good example to other companies which are operating in our area," said Nkabinde.

Last year, Safcol donated a number of computers to Khaya Lami Combined - a local school in the area. In 2011, they built three timber classrooms in Blaimore village near Amsterdam. -