Kwazulu-Natal Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  18 Apr 2011

ENVIRONMENT: Premier Mkhize Adopts Wildlands Green-Preneurs Model


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“Sukuma Sakhe” is the KZN Premiers flagship program. Stand up and build being the rallying call, with a focus on encouraging all sectors of society to change their own lives, rather than only relying on Government to deliver. This builds on the Premier’s commitment to build partnerships between Government, Business and Civil Society.

Launched on Friday 8th April in iMbali, Sukuma Sakhe aims to realise these partnerships. Since November, the Wildlands Conservation Trust has been working closely with the Premier’s team to align its Wildlands Initiatives with this very exciting initiative. “Our Wildlands Initiatives aim to support the transformation of South Africa communities, nurturing green entrepreneurship, cleaning, greening and saturating our partner communities with water tanks, bicycles and solar power heaters, and restoring the ecosystems that underwrite their livelihood, their rivers, wetlands, forests and grasslands.” says Dr Andrew Venter, Wildlands CEO.

At the heart of these Wildlands Initiatives are thousands of green-preneurs - tree-preneurs, waste-preneurs and food-preneurs – growing trees and food and collecting recycling, and then bartering the trees, food and recycling to improve their lives. They barter these goods for food, clothes, building material, water tanks, bicycles and any form of educational support. Premier Mkhize has been inspired by these green-preneurs, with over 600 working in his Willowfontein community alone. Addressing the thousands of community members gathered for the launch, he urged them to become “Green-preneurs”, “Find Dr Venter, and find out how you can become Green-preneurs. You can collect the dirt lying around the community and turn it into money. His team will help you.”

The Premier is an outspoken fan of the Green-preneur movement as he has seen how it has transformed his community. Willowfontien is now clean, because the “Gogos are fighting for the dirt”. More than this, the Premier has been inspired by the change in the attitude of the Willowfontein community members who are “standing up” and “building” their own lives. As such he has formally launched a KZN Greening Initiative, which will support the planting of 500 000 fruit trees, 500 000 Indigenous Trees and the collection of over 75 000 tons of recycling, across KwaZulu-Natal, over the next 5 years. In the process, 800 new permanent jobs will be created and 25 000 community members will receive livelihood support and skills training.

One of Wildlands’ partners in its projects is Unilever South Africa. Unilever has been supporting Wildlands’ initiatives since 2004 stemming back to the creation of the first tree-preneurs in Khula, KZN. The company also supports the waste-preneur project with an aim to increase awareness and encourage recycling. Unilever’s partnership with Wildlands is indicative of the company’s commitment to sustainability and Unilever’s ambition to double its business while reducing its environmental impact.

The development and roll out of Sukuma Sakhe is being driven by Ms Busi Kuzwayo, who has recently returned to South Africa after a 2 year stint as Consul General to India. Buzi is very excited about this initiative and the Green-preneur approach. “I love the model. It is very clever as it enables individuals to change their lives, whilst improving communities”.

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