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Posted in Stories on 14 April 2020

A National Development Agency (NDA) funded sewing cooperative in Khayelitsha is responding positively to reduce the spread on COVID-19 virus in communities and to generate extra income during #lockdown.

Operations at the Gwebza Multipurpose Primary Cooperative  have ceased as a result of the #lockdown, however, its 36 employees are working remotely to produce stylish protective face masks in the fight to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus as they all rely on the income generated by sales.

"We have had to be creative to ensure that we are able to make money so none of our employees go hungry during this period. The face masks are very quick to make and we can produce in big volumes. We have local support but would like to grow the market wider," says Linda Balide who is the Manager.

The Cooperative, started in 2015, was formed to address unemployment of young females - particularly those affected by gender-based violence. Many of the females are skilled in various talents such as sewing, catering, hair styling and entrepreuneurship.

They requested funding from the NDA in 2016 in order to increase their production capacity and to kickstart their SASSA School Uniform Project. The NDA's funding of R54 922.80 was used to purchase sewing, button hole and cutting machinery as well as an industrial iron. The cooperative’s governance structure was also enhanced through capacity-building training conducted by the NDA.


"The full value chain is realised when cooperatives, such as this one, are able to identify economic opportunities beyond their usual core business. Indeed even in times of crisis, opportunities like these present themselves. I would like to congratulate Gwebza Cooperative and all other cooperatives for their tenacity and courage. I have no doubt they will be successful if all government departments, the private sector and other stakeholders support this call in the spirit of saving jobs, promoting sustainability and contributing to the economy of South Africa," says Chief Executive Office of the National Development Agency, Mrs Thamo Mzobe.

Orders, deliveries and collections can be made by contacting Linda on 076 989 3215 or

Issued by National Development Agency

Media enquiries may be forwarded to Ms Lesego Ranchu on 073 547 2800