Mr Sipho Hlomuka, MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs in KwaZulu-Natal, officiated over the event, which saw the Phezukomkhono Youth Agricultural Cooperative under isiZwe sakwaXolo in Ray Nkonyeni municipality receiving a cheque of R6,5 million. The ceremony took place on Saturday, August 28, 2021, in KwaXolo Traditional Council.

Inkosi MBW Xolo, uGu District Mayor, Cllr SR Ngcobo, uMdoni Local Mayor Cllr ST Khathi, and Ray Nkonyeni accompanied Hlomuka.

Hlomuka saw it fit to fund this cooperative that is within the department’s approach to LED, which states that the department must embark on an initiative of developing rural areas through Amakhosi Economic Development support called Rural Economic Development.

Lindokuhle Nzala of Phezukomkhono Cooperative and who is also the Chairperson of these youth-owned cooperative said that they produce vegetables and agricultural crops such as maize and chilies, as well as raising pigs, rabbits, and chickens. He also stated that they produce seedlings that they plant and sell to the general public.

Nzala also praised the department for its assistance in moving them forward in their fight against unemployment and poverty. “We are grateful to the department led by Mr Sipho Hlomuka, who observed us working hard and needing to expand but were unable to do so due to a lack of resources such as infrastructure. As a result of his assistance, our goal will come true; we will grow,  generate employment, and combat poverty”, said Nzama.

Hlomuka saw and applauded the efforts of these young people, which benefits rural communities. “We’ve observed the efforts of KwaXolo’s youth through a cooperative named Phezukomkhono. We are delighted to see young people take an interest in farming and livestock. The majority of the time farming is associated with the elderly people. Their efforts will help to battle unemployment and grow rural regions. We will continue to help youth, particularly in rural communities, as a department”, said Hlomuka.

Hlomuka also urged the KwaXolo community to keep supporting the cooperative.