The Municipality has been squeezed into benefitting from the R123 million annual budget set to boost agriculture in partnership with the newly- launched KZN Centre for Rural Development. This is the fallen King Goodwill Zwelithini kaBhekuZulu's commandment, that rural areas should be developed to a stage (level) that is not compelling community members to relocate to urban areas to seek opportunities but move out at their own will...


By Andile Moshoeshoe

THe Greater Kokstad Municipality Mayor, Councillor, MNL Madikizela has secured a multi-million Rand agricultural investment for SMMEs from the accredited training provider, AgriSETA, set to boost, upskill, and educate about 50 small-medium enterprises in the KwaZulu-Natal Province.

Evident to this, was a confirmation from AgriSETA's Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dr Innocent Sirovha during an official launch of the project in partnership with the KZN Centre for Rural Development at San Lameer hotel in the South Coast recently.

Traditional leaders, Local Government and the private sector were set to be at the forefront of the project and agreed to work closely to ensure the acceleration of agriculture and rural development in the province to unlock investment opportunities.

This forms part of restoring moral regeneration, promoting the reconstruction of social values in a bid to put moral decay to rest so that people should revert to the good old days when agriculture would be their source of income.

The Mayor, Cllr Madikizela together with some of the stakeholders that were part of the event, are supporting the initiative saying, "as long as it talks to the language of the people, under the prescript of 'PEOPLE SHALL GOVERN', which means people should have land.

Some of the stakeholders were as follows KwaZulu-Natal Centre for Rural Development (CRD), National Lotteries and the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

AgriSETA CEO, Dr Innocent Sirovha acknowledged the presence of traditional leaders as well as the Kokstad Mayor, promising that the programme will be officially launched in Kokstad in the next four weeks. He said the portion of the R123 million 2022/2023 financial budget meant to be invested in KwaZulu-Natal will also be invested in Kokstad. Moreover, the programme has already started in uMzumbe, Ray Nkonyeni and Mtubatuba.

Dr Sirovha added that the interesting part is that KwaZulu-Natal is the only province with land in the hands of Amakhosi. Explaining their role, he said AgriSETA is creating and promoting opportunities for social, economic and employment growth through accessible and quality education, training, and developments in agriculture.

He encouraged leaders to contribute immensely to developing their areas and that they should not be leaders through the positions of trust they hold but should be leaders through their hard work meant to better the lives of their communities.

The Chairperson of the KwaZulu-Natal Natal House of Traditional and Khoi-San, iNkosi Rubert Shinga gave his full support to the programme.