Agency Development and Support

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Greater Tzaneen Economic Development Agency


Project Involvement

Of all the local economic development agencies supported by the Industrial Development Corporation, Gteda can well be described as a roaring success.

Gteda, the Greater Tzaneen Economic Development Agency, was established in 2007 and, since then, has scored quite remarkably in creating sustainable jobs and investment opportunities in the Greater Tzaneen Municipality in Limpopo. The man behind the agency, chief executive Kwena Maphoto, is upbeat about what his organisation has achieved in such a short space of time.

Its chief mandate is to market Tzaneen's economic development potential and investment opportunities to the local, national and international business communities, he says. "The agency was established in March 2007 following a resolution by the Industrial Development Corporation and Greater Tzaneen Municipality to advance and leverage the development and job creation potential inherent within [municipal] area."

Maphoto says that within Gteda, 10 jobs have been created. "This is above the more than 500 jobs that we hope to create through establishing various local economic development projects within the municipality," he says.

The projects include:

  • Makgoba Tea Estate;
  • Greater Tzaneen Radio Station;
  • Leather making project;
  • Internet cafe;
  • Business support services centre; and,
  • A village bank.

Makgoba Tea Estate, which is also known as Sapekoe Tea Estate, is Gteda's flagship project. Maphoto explains that the revitalisation of the farm, which lies at the foot of the Magoebaskloof mountains, has helped many people in the community get jobs. It is an area of high unemployment and illiteracy rates.

"The initial work involved rehabilitating the estate which had been lying fallow for eight years. The rehabilitation, which took two years, involved pruning tea bushes which had overgrown."

Agriculture is a key economic driver in the region, and the sector has the most potential for job creation. The 1 000ha Sapekoe property consists of the Middelkop and Grenshoek tea estates. The company's possible enterprises include producing organic tea, processing and packaging various brands of tea, producing iced tea, tea garden tourism, and diversifying the estate into avocado production and forestry, according to Maphoto, a former farmer.

Another of Gteda's big achievements is establishing a community radio station which goes by the name of GTFM 104.8. Established in 2011, the station has become so popular that some established commercial radio stations have turned to it as a goldmine for tapping young talent.

The station, which broadcasts from the Cascades Building on the periphery of Tzaneen's central business district, was awarded a five-year broadcasting licence by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) in February 2011.

"The radio station is development-oriented, looking at addressing issues of community concern and issues of economic development in Greater Tzaneen Municipality and Mopani District at large," says Maphoto. Since start up, it has created 26 jobs, a key achievement for such a young radio station, he adds. "The station broadcasts in English, Afrikaans, Sepedi and Tsonga. Because of a large migrant population from Zimbabwe in the area, we are planning on introducing Shona in the near future."

Gteda has established a co-operative of 17 people who make leather goods. Their factory is located in the township of Nkowankowa just outside Tzaneen central business district and produces jackets, shoes, sandals, handbags and belts, among other things. "The co-operative has potential to expand and create more jobs in the future."

The internet has also been brought "closer to the people" by the agency, which has set up internet cafes in Lenyenye, a township just outside Tzaneen. Within these cafes are mobile libraries that are used extensively by schoolchildren.

Besides the Sapekoe Tea Estate, there are other "mega-projects" Gteda has identified. These include a subtropical fruit and nut cluster; a tourist destination called Letaba River Mile; GT Tourism Development; four new shopping centres; livestock improvement; and road infrastructure development.

"As you can see, our projects interlink. There is a [close] relationship between our farming, goods production and retail projects. For example, our livestock improvement project will produce animal skin, which in turn will be used in our leather-making factory, whose goods will be sold in our shopping centres," Maphoto points out.

The agency
Gteda was established in 2007 and is 100 percent owned by the Greater Tzaneen Municipality, the largest municipality in the Mopani District of Limpopo. The agency's mandate is to drive the implementation of the local economic development strategy.

The agency's vision is to be an effective and self-sustaining organisation for the development of the Greater Tzaneen Municipality.

The agency's mission is to identify, initiate and facilitate the funding of appropriate projects in order to implement the local economic development strategy and foster an entrepreneurial culture.

The agency's objectives are to develop business skills, market and attract investment, create sustainable employment opportunities, develop sustainable partnerships, and uphold environmentally sound practices.


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