Job creation by cooperatives hailed

At the awards ceremony, are, from left, Social Development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi, Amathole district mayor Nomfusi Nxawe, special award winner Nomatemba Gunguluza, of Unobandla Early Childhood Development Centre in Port Elizabeth, and Mkuseli Maxeke, who represented the family of social work pioneer Charlotte Maxeke. Sihlwayi holds one of the Charlotte Maxeke Service Excellence Awards, which were handed out last night
Picture: Mark West

Hailed for their contributions to job creation, 12 Eastern Cape cooperatives were last night honoured by the provincial Department of Social Development at the inaugural Charlotte Maxeke Service Excellence Awards held in Port Elizabeth.

Taking place at the Sun Boardwalk International Convention Centre, the event was attended by Social Development MEC Nancy Sihlwayi and Maxeke family representative Mkuseli Maxeke.

Held against the backdrop of severe unemployment in the Eastern Cape, which has the highest unemployment rate in the country, the awards were established to expedite the graduation of cooperatives from the informal economy into mainstream businesses, so as to create jobs quickly.

Winners, together with three enterprises which received the MEC’s Special Awards, were named in nine categories.

The first two categories and their winners were early childhood development centres, won by the Morning Star Early Childhood Development Centre of Buffalo City; child and youth care centres, won by the Crossroads Child and Youth Care Centre, of the Alfred Nzo district.

In the child care and protection services category the winner was Buffalo City’s Christelike Maatskaplike Raad, while the communitybased child care services category was won by Isibindi East London Child Youth Care Centre.

In the services to older persons category the winner was Buffalo City’s Dimbaza Society for the Aged, while the category service to people with disability was won by Fundukwazi Protective Workshop, also of Buffalo City.

The victim empowerment programme category winner was Khanyisa Victim Empowerment Centre of Buffalo City, and the women development projects winner was Siyakha IYA Poultry Cooperative, of OR Tambo district.

Amathole district’s Bulumko Soya Project won in the food production and sustainable livelihoods category.

Nelson Mandela Bay’s Unobandla Early Childhood Development Centre, of New Brighton, was an MEC’s Special Award winner, along with Klipplaat Hydroponics Project, of the Sarah Baartman district, and Vukuzenzele Non-Profit Organisation, of the Chris Hani district.

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