Co-ops need govt assistance for sake of radical economic transformation - Zuma

Cape Town - President Jacob Zuma urged government departments to show co-operatives how to get on to the procurement data base for the sake of radical economic transformation.

"Co-operatives contribute to the empowerment of the poor and marginalised, and give practical meaning to our call for radical socio-economic transformation," said Zuma in a speech prepared for delivery at an International Co-operatives Day event in Bloemfontein on Saturday.

"Co-operatives are already supplying school uniforms and food for school feeding schemes, and with assistance, they could do more.

"Currently, they have to go from door to door to seek money or other help, and this should change, given the poverty alleviation possibilities that cooperatives hold," he continued.

The Women-in-Maize programme has 13 co-operatives on board already, with a combined 150 hectares cultivated, and around 18 tons of maize harvested in October 2016.

At least 300 other co-operatives were producing school uniforms, and over 200 supplied food to eight provincial food distribution centres and community nutrition and development centres, Zuma said.

"When we talk of radical economic transformation, we want to see practical change in the economic landscape by opening up the space for the ownership and management of the means of production by black people who were excluded deliberately," he explained.

"Co-operatives and [Small Medium and Micro Enterprises] are part of the arsenal at our disposal to give the poor economic power and a better quality of life."

A co-operative is owned by a group of people who usually live in rural or informal communities and work together on a similar venture and share costs and profits.