CO-OPERATIVES and those looking to establish co-operatives can look forward to increased support from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
The DTI plans to boost support to co-operatives, said Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies at the recent celebration of the contribution made by cooperatives, held in Durban on International Day of Cooperatives.
The approval of the Cooperatives Amendment Bill by the National Council of Provinces paved the way for the establishment of the Cooperatives Development Agency, which will become a one-stop shop for both financial and non-financial support tailor-made for cooperatives.
The Agency will administer incentives, provide training and improve working conditions in the cooperatives sector.
At the on International Day of Cooperatives celebrations Davies said that the objective of the day was to “increase public awareness about cooperatives and their contribution to socioeconomic development”.
The International Day of Cooperatives is an annual event that is celebrated by cooperatives around the world to create awareness of the role cooperatives play in communities.
“The celebrations highlight the positive role cooperatives have to play in providing a network of opportunities among cooperatives and between cooperatives and members of the public aspiring to establish cooperatives, ”Davies said.
The DTI plans to boost support to cooperatives through the to-be-formed Cooperatives Development Agency.
Support to cooperatives is specifically geared towards address the needs of the “second economy”.
The DTI has noted that while South Africa has a highly-developed cooperative sector, operating in the “first economy”, there are also co-operatives operating in the mainly informal and marginalised economy.
In addressing the needs of this sector, the DTI plans to offer cooperative support services, such as education and training, business advisory services and access to loans, funding and linkages.
According to Davies, the development of cooperatives is critical to the effective functioning of the South African economy.
“The government will continue to provide much-needed support to cooperatives through public education and training, as well as the promotion of cooperative development initiatives, ”Davies said.