1. Mechanisation Unit
a. Rural Market Centre
b. Small- holder Farmer Development/Supplier Development
4. Gateways (Wetland Project)
5. Alice Mixed Used Development
a. Property Investment Opportunities
b. Accommodation challenges
6. Business Support Centre
1. Mechanisation unit
The R63 citrus mechanisation unit was conceived in the recommendations of a sector analysis report done on behalf of the industry. One of the main recommendations was that the establishment of a mechanisation unit would assist the local citrus farmers to benefit from the services provided by such a unit or service centre that would house machinery, equipment and farming inputs required by citrus and others farming enterprises along the R63 corridor. The sustainability of the unit is of paramount importance from a business point of view but this is backed up by social, rural development and other considerations which need to be acknowledged by potential funders.
2. A. Rural Market Centre
Nkonkobe Local Municipality is characterised by a thriving local economy whose business activities are mainly informal in nature. Together with the Eastern Cape Department of Rural Development and Agrarian Reform, NEDA has identified the need to initiate a sustainable programme aimed at uplifting existing small/informal rural traders in the Nkonkobe region.
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition that rural and urban areas have become increasingly interconnected through a constant movement of people, goods, capital, ideas and information. In view of this new reality, “urban” and “rural”, as concepts, seem to fall short to cover the complex web of flows and exchanges that have made rural and urban areas dependent on each other. The fact is that urban and rural areas are becoming increasingly integrated as a result of better transport and communications, rural-urban and return migration, the dissemination of urban norms and values in the rural areas, and the spread of urban economic activities in the rural areas (rural industrialization) and of rural economic activities in the urban areas (urban agriculture). This is blurring the distinction between urban and rural areas.
Poverty reduction in rural and urban areas requires an integrated approach which, on the one hand, provides rural population with access to urban opportunities such as urban markets for rural products, urban services for rural population, and urban employment opportunities for rural population. On the other hand, it is necessary to modify urban structures such as jobs and good markets, and service provision and delivery to accommodate the specific needs of the rural population. In other words, there is a need for strengthening rural-urban linkages in a number of areas, particularly economic linkages (markets, employment) and physical linkages (infrastructure, transport, communication).
The initiative aims to:
a. Expand market opportunities for specific categories of rural traders;
b. Localise rural trading support through a grid of a Market Information Centre coordinated information and advice access points;
c. Expand education and training for rural traders;
d. Co-fund minimum rural market centre infrastructure facilities in Alice to service the whole of the Nkonkobe region.
3. Small holder Farmer Development
According to the World Bank, supporting smallholder farming is the most effective way of stimulating economic development and reducing poverty. Most smallholder farmers grow their crops on less than two hectares of land. They make up 85% of the world’s farmers. Often cut off from access to training and education, they lack knowledge of the techniques that would help them maximise their incomes. If we help smallholder farmers improve their practices, by giving them access to better-quality seeds, training and fertilisers, they can significantly increase their production.
If the small farm-holder prospers and their incomes improve, they will be able to invest and we will have greater certainty of supply in the Nkonkobe region. Smallholders and their practices are diverse which will make the task of measuring the benefits of our interventions more difficult. Nevertheless we want to co-develop a simple, cost-effective method to show that our interventions do improve smallholders’ livelihoods.
Our interventions will most likely focus on:
• Crop and livestock production
• Soil testing
• Citrus and Stone fruits
• Irrigation infrastructure
The establishment of a Blockyard in Middledrift is meant to meet the high demand of concrete blocks as well as to maximise job creation, social upliftment and economic empowerment in the area.
The product which will initially be produced at the blockyard is the M6 –Type pre-cast concrete block which is used in the construction of government funded low-cost housing. It is envisaged that a greater diversity of pre-cast concrete products will be manufactured in the longer-term once the blockyard is established and operating successfully.
5. Nkonkobe Land and Wetland Rehabilitation Project (Gateways)
This is a project that NEDA is implementing on behalf of the Department of Environmental Affairs.
Project deliverables include:
• Removal of alien vegetation
• Rehabilitation of wetland (3000 sqm), by removing alien species and constructiong gabions
• Landscaping of the gateways in Alice, Seymour and Fort Beaufort
• Tree planting
6. Alice Mixed-use Development
a. Property investment opportunities
b. Accommodation challenges
6 (a). Property investment opportunities
Mixed use developments, defined as multi-purpose destinations that integrate different uses such as residential, office, retail, hospitality, and entertainment elements in one structure, have become increasingly relevant and popular.
The traditional single-use shopping mall is giving way to mall projects that feature hidden parking and multiple uses such as housing, libraries, office space or facilities.
Considering the massive housing shortfall in the urban areas of Nkonkobe Local Municipality, there is little doubt that mixed use developments is relevant as one of the means to resolve some of the housing challenges. In order to be profitable and successful, mixed use developments must be aesthetically pleasing and well maintained; sufficient and secure parking needs to be considered and most importantly, the tenant mix must be correct.
At this stage, the town of Alice is the targeted area for this kind of development, obviously as a means to meet the objectives of the Alice Regeneration Programme in making this town the ‘University Town’ that it deserves to be.
Three of the applications for the disposal of state-owned land/property submitted were approved and have been released to the Nkonkobe Local Municipality.
1.1 Erf 931, Corner of Main Street and McNab Drive ((R63), Alice
The Amatole Hotel is in a very poor condition. It has historic and heritage value and must be restored/upgraded.
In line with the ARP’s objective of creating an environment conducive of a ‘university town’, the Nkonkobe Local Municipality will hand-over the erf 931 to the University of Fort Hare for development.
1.2 Erf 281, Lower Gagha Street, Alice
There is currently only one formal road between Alice and Ntselamanazi/Victoria Hospital, i.e. Tyume Street. Many residents make use of the informal footpaths across the agricultural land between Lovedale and the University of Fort Hare when walking between Alice and Ntselamanzi/Victoria Hospital.
The Eastern Cape Department of Public Works has released erf 281 to the Nkonkobe Local Municipality.
Aspire has completed the designs for the formalisation of the existing pathways and the development of a pedestrian bridge across Gagha River. The tender process for the construction of the pedestrian bridge is underway and is managed by Aspire.
1.3 Erf 276, 277 & 915, Lower Gagha Street, Alice
About 3000 UFH students require off-campus accommodation. The current supply in Alice is of poor quality and far from campus. There is a demand for about 1,000 beds of quality accommodation close to campus.
The Eastern Cape Department of Public Works has released erf 276, 277 & 915 for the development of student accommodation and social housing.
7. Business Support Centre
The Nkonkobe Business Support Centre (NBSC) was established in 2012. The establishment of this centre was in response to the demand and need for SMME, business and entrepreneurial support services in the area. To date the centre has been funded by the local municipality and has received grant funding from the MTN Foundation.
The Nkonkobe local economy is primarily reliant on the government, agricultural and wholesale and retail sector. Economic activity in the area suggests that, in the past ten years, the region has been able to increase employment and decrease the levels of poverty while achieving an average of 5% per year economic growth. This against the background of a young, vibrant and energetic population eager to become part of the mainstream economy.
The NBSC has been established based on the growth of SMME and entrepreneurial activity in the Nkonkobe area and the national, provincial and local priorities in terms of job creation, poverty alleviation and economic development. The centre itself is part of a number of initiatives by government to stimulate and promote economic activity in traditionally depressed and underprivileged areas of the Eastern Cape and to assist small business to move from a “survivalist” approach to a fully-fledged enterprise or business.
Since opening its doors in February 2012 the NBSC has assisted over 1755 start-up entrepreneurs and SMME owners. In addition to this the centre has:
• Provided business advice to 295 SMME’s, entrepreneurs and start-up enterprises
• Assisted 27 businesses and seven NGO’s with advice on sourcing and accessing funding and financing for capital and operational expenditure and/or business growth
• Registering 49 businesses with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission of SA (CIPC).
• Providing SMME and entrepreneurial start-up grants amounting to R230 000 to 23 enterprises in the Nkonkobe area as part of enterprise development grant funding received from the Amathole District Municipality
• Has provided free administrative support and access to ICT facilities for 301 entrepreneurs, individuals or SMME’s
• Has organising and presenting a co-operative indaba, as part of an economic incubator, for 35 co-operatives in the Nkonkobe area
• Has carried out tax training, in conjunction with SARS, for SMME’s
• Has partnered with ECDC, CIDB and SEDA to promote SMME development in Nkonkobe
The philosophy of the business support centre is based on “continual learning” and the fact that, by providing the necessary resources, access to information, empowerment through training and advisory services, SMME’s and entrepreneurs can evolve, can become a crucial part of the Nkonkobe Municipality economic plan and can set successful examples for others to follow.
The vision of the NBSC is to enable “area-wide economic development through targeted interventions aimed at supporting and capacitating the growth of SMME’s and entrepreneurs thereby allowing them to enter the mainstream economy and create viable and sustainable wide-spread economic activity”
The mission of the NBSC is to “provide a comprehensive business support service to established SMME’s, entrepreneurs and enterprise start-ups in the Nkonkobe area and to support and help to grow existing businesses through access to business advisory services and ICT facilities, capacity-building and training, mentorship and coaching and by providing links to regional and provincial business development and business financing networks”
In achieving its vision and mission, the NBSC has the following strategic objectives:
• To offer on-going business support and business services to SMME’s in the Nkonkobe area through a range of offerings including, but not limited to, business advisory, business planning, mentoring and coaching, etc
• To identify, nurture, coach and mentor promising small business enterprises in the Nkonkobe area
• To equip small business owners with the understanding and skills to assist them to grow their businesses within the context of the economic environment of Nkonkobe
• To conduct research into regional SMME development and growth, economic impact, trend analysis, opportunity identification and business match-making
• To create an awareness, understanding and utilistion of the business support services offered by the NBSC and provincial development agencies
• To strive to be a “one-stop-shop” for the business advisory needs of emerging and established business in the Nkonkobe area
• To design, develop and provide platforms for the marketing and business development of SMME’s in the area to boost business growth and economic activity
The operational model of the NBSC is based on achieving the strategic objectives of the centre and is designed in such a way as to be effective, efficient and respondent to the needs of small business in the Nkonkobe area. Its staffing is streamlined and functional allowing for full integration and alignment to the operation of the NEDA and the Nkonkobe Municipality in terms of local economic development.
In terms of its operation the NBSC has the support of major roleplayers and stakeholders in the area including Aspire, the Amathole District Municipality Economic Development Agency, The Border-Kei Chamber of Business, the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce and the University of Fort Hare (amongst others).
Operational funding for the NBSC is divided into two specific areas – firstly operational funding which covers day-to-day and monthly operational costs of running the business support centre and the services it offers to clients and, secondly, programme and project-specific funding which covers the SMME and entrepreneurship-aligned programmes and projects that the centre offers in support of SMME growth and development.
In addressing the viability and sustainability of the NBSC, the centre is trying to generate income to assist in offsetting its reliance on public and private-sector support. To this end the centre anticipates entering into agency agreements with provincial and national development bodies, accessing developmental grant funding at district and local government level and charging for services (although this will be minimal).
The NBSC will solicit public and private-sector financial support to assist in addressing a possible operational shortfall. Companies, organisations and institutions will be able to consider support for one of the following:
• Nkonkobe Business Support Centre operational funding
• The establishment and maintenance of the Nkonkobe Small Business Forum
• General business development training
• SMME financial management training
• SMME/entrepreneurial coaching and mentoring
• The annual Nkonkobe Business Expo
• Economic research
• SMME roadshows and awareness campaigns
8. Heritage and tourism