SHARING VISION: Group for Change founding director Rev Mlibi Wopa, right, with Nomawabo Tshisa from the Rural People’s Movement at the community hall in Ekuphumleni Picture: LOUISE KNOWLES
NPO co-op working to create jobs
NONPROFIT organisation, the Group for Change Social Co-operative, was launched at the community hall at Ekuphumleni township on Saturday by former policeman and church minister Rev Mlibi Wopa.
Wopa said the group will partner with the Ethiopian Episcopal Church, James Mata Dwane Diocese projects to benefit the needy in Ndlambe, and the former Ciskei and Transkei.
The main project is a cultural village with a B&B, crocodile and rabbit farm in Kenton-on-Sea, said Wopa.
By alleviating poverty, he hopes to reduce crime.
Teenage girls see pregnancy as an escape route as they receive government grants and maintenance from elderly men who make them pregnant, said Wopa.
Teenage girls as young as 15 join the sex trade industry. Some parents have condoned this or do not speak out. Attempts are being made to have this industry legalised, he said.
To alleviate serious crimes, especially in informal settlements, the co-operative will also approach the provincial government, Ndlambe Municipality and Sarah Baartman District Municipality for land, machinery and equipment and the payment of stipends to the workforce. Animal breeding, poultry and crops will be produced.
Wopa has been trained in breeding porkers for commercial farming and the co-operative has a piece of land for the poultry and piggery projects.
Agri-Parks in the Sundays River region, the tomato factory in Coega, chilli factory in Grahamstown, the chicken abattoir in Grahamstown, and the Lentaba, Fort Jackson and East London abattoirs are target markets.
The co-op also visited the Department of Correctional Services to assist ex-offenders’ reconciliation with the communities, said Wopa.
The co-op also wants to establish a neighbourhood watch in Ekuphumleni and Marselle involving foot patrols, beaches and crime busters in schools.
Marselle and Ekuphumleni have experienced devastating incidents of arson with the loss of lives and valuables. It is hoped the fire station on the R72 road between Boesmansriviermond and Harmony Park will be a labour intensive facility, said Wopa.
Group for Change will also recruit youth from every street corner for rugby, soccer, cricket, netball and tennis, said Wopa.
The co-op wishes to extend religious instruction to minors aged six to 13 and provide a youth development centre to train youth in computers and communication.
On a cautionary note, Wopa said that nature reserves that are owned by foreigners should not bring in their own labourers and foreigners should not allow themselves to be used as cheap labour. Neither should government departments and municipalities import labour, he added.
Finally, Wopa said that they receive a multi-agency initiative grant which is not enough. Anyone who would like to contribute dry ingredients, vegetables, perishables and clothing for distribution for the poorest of the poor, can contact Wopa on 060-431-5759 or his deputy Thom at 073-941-8948.