Opening of Cooperative Financial Institution Office
The Deputy Minister of Rural Development and Land Reform Ms Candith Mashego Dlamini, accompanied by Deputy Minister of Public Enterprise, Mr Ben Martins and KwaZulu – Natal Health MEC, Dr Sibongiseni Dlhomo, opened a ground-breaking Cooperative Financial Institution office for the Mzansi Rural Arts and Craft Cooperative at Emadlangeni in Utrecht, KwaZulu – Natal.
The office is one of the seven offices that will be used by the Mzansi Rural Arts and Craft cooperative to carry out it’s day to day business obligations. Other offices have been opened in Mpumalanga, Eastern Cape and Limpopo. The Mzansi Cooperative Financial Institution (CFI) is a deposit taking institution that is owned by Mzansi Rural Art and Craft cooperative which was established and is supported by the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform to revolutionise the banking sector by forming a bank that is owned by women.
The Deputy Minister thanked the Emandlangeni Municipality for allocating the offices. She said the department has continued to support the Mzansi Rural Arts and Craft cooperative through buying craft material, establishing the markets and by buying exhibition space for the cooperative at local and international craft shows. The Deputy Minister said that the Utrecht office will serve as the head office and opening such offices in rural areas show that government is serious in developing rural women. “We are radicalising the economic transformation of our people. We will also appoint a bank manager and train 7 interns for three years so that the cooperative can be self-sustainable, we urge all spheres of government (national, provincial especially district and local) to support this initiative so that it can grow and be sustainable, thus alleviating poverty, creating jobs and ensuring equality (women no longer need men as surety). This transformation is to ensure that rural women and girls are part of the Inclusive economy”, she said.
The women who are benefiting from the Mzansi Rural Arts and Craft initiative have seen substantial transformation of their livelihoods and over the years it has become necessary for them to formalise their business by opening the Mzansi Rural Arts and Craft Financial Institution The Mzansi CFI was registered in May 2016 with 805 members and 85 cooperatives and upon submission of CFI application, Mzansi Rural Arts and Craft had minor share capital, which was contributed as savings by the arts and craft co-operatives and their individual members. The CFI offers a platform for co-operative members to operate automated services and issue its members statements as well as back office support that includes accounting services, training and it also assist members to comply with the prudential requirements of the of the Supervisor of the Co-operative Financial Institutes at the Co-operative Banks Development Agency (CBDA).
The CBDA also contributed to the establishment of the Mzansi CFI satellite offices in seven districts in the country. Local Municipalities have also donated office spv Cardace to the CFI in KwaZulu – Natal and Eastern Cape, which have been renovated, branded and furnished. The initiative is part of a holistic effort to empower women in rural areas with skills and knowledge to create successful enterprises.