Youth-driven cooperative revolutionizes construction industry
Kamva Elihle Brick Youth Cooperative, founded by a group of five enterprising young individuals in 2017, has emerged as a beacon of hope.
A youth cooperative is thriving in the construction industry, creating jobs for local youths in Mongolong, in Matatiele, Eastern Cape.
Kamva Elihle Brick Youth Cooperative was established by five young people in 2017.
The chairperson of the cooperative, Aphumelele Ndukwana (27), said he first had the idea to start the business in 2014 after he struggled to complete a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Pretoria.
“Because I have always been interested in the construction industry, and I just started making concrete blocks at home so that we could build extra rooms. People in my community started asking if I sell the blocks. That’s what sparked the idea of manufacturing,” explained Ndukwana.
A growing interest from prospective clients saw Ndukwana recruit his friends and late father, who was knowledgeable about the business. He advised the group of friends to to register a cooperative. This was done in 2018.
They took his advice and started selling the concrete blocks in and around Mangolong.
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In 2020, the cooperative successfully applied for the Isiqalo Youth Fund from the Eastern Cape Department of Economic Development, Environment Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT).
“We received R1.2 million. With the money we bought an automated block manufacturing machine and other materials,” he said.
In 2021, the cooperative also successfully applied for the Local, Regional and Economic Development Fund from the DEDEAT.
With the R1.9 million from the fund, the cooperative purchased a tipper truck, a 14 ton truck to deliver hardware, a tractor loader backhoe as well as commission and training for the automated block manufacturing machine.
“This has contributed massively to the growth of the business because we are now supplying some hardware businesses in the town of Matatiele,” he said.
In 2022, the cooperative established a paint manufacturing side of the business, which is called Mthimkhulu Paints.
Due to the commitment that the cooperative has shown over the years, the Alfred Nzo District Municipality has allocated Kamva Elihle space to operate in the Zone Centre Development Programme.
Today, the cooperative employs 25 people permanently, with the majority being local youths.