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Eldorado Thusong Service Centre (Limpopo)

Marula-processing plant

These workers are building the plant which they will work in once completed

These workers are building the plant which they will work in once completed

Travelling 100 kilometers to access government services was a serious challenge to the people living in Blouberg Municipality, Limpopo. The landscape is harsh, the climate hot and dry. The Eldorado Thusong Service Centre now brings socio-economic development close to this outlying area. This is because equity is a principle guiding the Thusong Service Centre programme, moving towards equal access for all.

Eldorado is one of many Thusong Service Centres which end the legacy of under-serviced rural areas in South Africa. Part of the process of establishing the Centres is to identify services to meet community needs. Through co-operation between the Centre manager and motivated young community leaders, a marula-processing plant is under construction, utilising limited local resources.

Government departments which assisted in realising this project now operate close to the community. The immediate effect has been job creation and a sense of restored hope for economic well-being. The arid and dry area in the North West calls for resilience and creativity. Rain is scarce, the summer heat unbearable and roads more rocky than sandy, but young Joseph Maefo was undeterred by these harsh conditions. Together with the community youth group, he called a meeting with the youth, women and disabled people to discuss ways to create economic growth and employment in the area. The centre manager of the Thusong Service Centre gave support in liaising with the municipality and relevant government departments. The outcome was a business plan to utilise a local resource − the indigenous wild marula trees strewn across the surrounding bush. In alignment with local economic development, a plan for a marula-processing plant was approved, and 80 young people now form part of the co-operative to process marulas for making juice, beer, oil and hair and skin products. The marulas will be collected using donkey carts, which are still used for transport across the rocky terrain. The Department of Labour trained the youth as beneficiaries of the project. The plant is currently under construction and the 56 locals employed to build it will be incorporated as employees of the plant once construction is complete.

Joseph Maefo led the community in bringing economic opportunity to Eldorado Ward councillor Abraham Ntlene, centre manager Francinah Phalafala and community youth leader Joseph Maefo, discussing the progress on the processi
Joseph Maefo led the community in bringing economic opportunity to Eldorado
Ward councillor Abraham Ntlene, centre manager Francinah Phalafala and community youth leader Joseph Maefo, discussing the progress on the processing plant with a member of the community.
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