Business & Economy

Sunday, 24 July 2011 22:25

Locals tackle unemployment through own job creation initiative

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Northern Cape - A community devastated by unemployment has taken control of their future by building up their own textile and clothing cooperative following the relocation of a large textile business from Kimberly to Newcastle that left more than 500 locals jobless.
Together with the assistance of former Northern Cape Premier Dipuo Peters, who was instrumental in providing the platform needed to begin a cooperative and empower women, a group of local textile workers began production in 2008 under Future Creations Cooperative.

At first only taking on small orders for t-shirts and other garments, the cooperative has today established itself as a clothes manufacturer that supplies uniforms for the corporate sector, schools, restaurants, sport teams across the Northern Cape. It still plans to supply correctional facilities and hospitals – the market through which the Premier pledged to support the coop.

Aubrey Joemat, a designer and cutting room manager with more than 30 years of combined experience, and who now serves as the chairperson of the cooperative, says: “To be honest, we got off to a slow start, but the prospects are there for us to grow the client base and increase the volumes.”

Joemat says the cooperative members’ main aim is to impart the knowledge they have gained over several decades to the youth to ensure continuity and future sustainability of the project. “They are the future; they are the ones who are going to reap the fruits of all this hard work,” Joemat says.

Support from Provincial Government, as well as from the National Development Agency (NDA), which recently provided funding of R 2, 26 million, has enabled the cooperative to set up the plant from which it operates, as well as buy equipment and materials.

Northern Cape’s unemployment rate is the highest in the country at almost 27% making job creation initiatives sorely needed to ensure an improvement in the lives of those living in the province.

Future Creations currently enjoys a dominant position as there are no manufacturing plants in Kimberley. The relocation of the former factory to Newcastle left a huge gap in the market where retailers had to go to Bloemfontein, Johannesburg and other big towns to purchase items such as school uniforms. Thanks to Future Creations, local companies are now able to purchase the much needed goods from a factory located in their own Province.


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