The KwaZulu-Natal government has reaffirmed its commitment to eliminate poverty while also improving people's livelihoods.
Agriculture and Environmental Affairs MEC, Bongiwe Sithole-Moloi made the pledge during the launch of the Community Nutrition and Development Centre (CNDC) held at Ward 14 in Uphongolo Local Municipality, north of KwaZulu-Natal.
Sithole-Moloi, who was standing in for Social Development MEC, Nonhlanhla Khoza noted that Ward 14 was identified as one of the most deprived wards in Uphongolo Municipality, as determined by Statistics South Africa.
It is amongst 51 wards in the province identified for the implementation of the CNDC programme.
CNDCs are centres where people that are severely affected by poverty are identified by community leaders and community representatives, through Operation Sukuma Sakhe and brought to the centre to access nutritious meals.
The beneficiaries are expected to be in the CNDCs for a maximum of 12 months within which developmental programmes are offered and are later linked to economic opportunities in agriculture, employment programmes, enterprise development programmes and skills development.
The beneficiaries have access to balanced meals from Monday to Friday.
She urged beneficiaries of the CNDC to protect state assets that government has allocated to them, including cooking equipment.
"This initiative has created job opportunities for young people, who will cook for over 200 beneficiaries across the ward," she said.
Sithole-Moloi was accompanied by Human Settlements and Public Works MEC Jomo Sibiya, Uphongolo Local Municipality Mayor Sibusiso Mhlongo, and Inkosi Zeblon Gumbi.
Sibiya commended government for involving community structures in the development of the programme.
"We have seen for ourselves that this ward is blanketed by poverty and interventions like this CNDC will go a long way in changing the lives of the people in this ward. Government also wants to ensure that when the beneficiaries exit, [they] have proper skills to sustain themselves moving forward," Sibiya said.
Inkosi Gumbi thanked government for the intervention, adding that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on seasonal jobs in the area.
The MECs also oversaw Operation Sigalelekile at Makoti Sportsground, where some community members were able to apply for identity documents, birth certificates, and different government grants.