UKZN PhD Candidate Establishes Socio-Economic Development Agency
A UKZN PhD student in Leadership Studies, Mr Sepele Matlala, has launched Viwe Development Council, a socio-economic development agency to look after the interests of investors with the ultimate aim of addressing the high rate of unemployment in South Africa and beyond.
The agency was created out of the recommendations of a research project by Matlala, titled: Developing an Investor Aftercare Model for the Promotion of Agro-processing in the Limpopo province.
The project recommends that the institutional arrangement of investor aftercare in Limpopo be reviewed to realise its investment promotion and attraction potential.
The agency specialises in integrated economic development services using investor aftercare as the backbone of economic development. It also offers skills development and learnerships focusing on both the aftercare and agro-processing sectors to individuals and SMMEs in various municipalities in Limpopo province.
All these services are offered free of charge to beneficiaries thanks to sponsorship from both public and private sectors in appreciation of the role the agency plays. The agency plans to stage annual sector events aimed at promoting the socio-economic development aspirations of the people.
‘Being a qualified teacher with 11 years of experience before I joined the economic development field as well as serving as a council member for Letaba TVET College for five years, I plan to introduce a division within the agency where I would guide students from various universities through their educational research journey,’ said Matlala.
He has already secured a partnership for the agency and is in the process of finalising more. ‘The agency has generated interest from various stakeholders and organisations but because of COVID-19 finalising things has stalled,’ he said.
In addition to his string of professional qualifications which include Master of Commerce in Leadership Studies from UKZN and a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours), Matlala is a member of and Certified Business Advisor with the Institute of Business Advisors of Southern Africa (IBASA); a member and chartered public relations practitioner with the Public Relations Institute of Southern Africa (PRISA); a member of the Public Sector Economist Forum (PSEF); a member of the Economic Society of South Africa (ESSA), and a member of the Institute of Marketing Management (IMM).
Words: Lungile Ngubelanga