Swiss funders visit iLembe development projects

Funders of the Vuthela iLembe LED Support Programme since 2017, the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) recently visited the district to evaluate projects under the Private Sector Development (PSD) and Building Inclusive Growth (BIG) components.

The objective of the programme is to contribute to the improvement of the economic future of the iLembe district through sustainable growth of the local economy, and the creation of more inclusive employment and income-generating opportunities.

The SECO team comprised members from Switzerland as well as those from the Pretoria office.

The group met with e-waste stakeholders in the district as part of the Sustainable Recycling Industries (SRI) e-waste project, during which they learnt about the challenges of dealing with e-waste since the August 2021 banning of hazardous electronic equipment waste to landfill sites.

Discussions were held on how the SRI project could help the municipalities achieve their environmental, waste management and economic development facilitation mandates.

An important entry point for SRI is seeking to align the local municipal by-laws that govern e-waste with the policy development process at national level.

Next on the agenda was a visit to one of the biggest e-waste recycling facilities in the country, RecycleX, located in Ballito.

Here officials, SECO and the SRI team were shown the processes of refurbishing or dismantling and recycling of e-waste.

SECO team members expressed their appreciation for the work being done and said a well-functioning recycling sector is of utmost importance for the gradual transformation of society and the economy towards a more circular economy.

The group then attended the presentation of prizes in the iLembe ICT project Launchpad competition and SECO representatives engaged with the youth to better understand their coding journey and challenges.

Also included in the visit was the Umfolozi TVET College’s Mandeni campus’ installation, repair and maintenance hub (IRM), where 17 SMEs support 49 youths receiving training, and the iSithebe industrial estate where the visitors were briefed about the park management model, initiatives to revitalise the park and challenges experienced.

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