A KWAZULU-NATAL-based logistics services co-operative, Qhude Projects, has been supported by a R9 million loan from Ithala Development Finance Corporation (IDFC) as part of an enterprise and supplier development partnership agreement with Sappi Southern Africa.
Since Sappi and Ithala signed the MOU in 2022, four transactions totalling R44.9 million have been concluded, which has stimulated economic activity to sustain 144 direct jobs. Qhude Projects has used the loan financing to acquire two rear tipper trucks, two side tipper trucks and two front-end loaders which it is using to fulfil a five-year contract with Sappi to manage a landfill site adjacent to the Sappi Tugela Mill in Mandeni. Both Sappi and Ithala will provide ongoing support to the enterprise to sustain the business.
Started by Siyanda Thusi five months ago, Qhude Projects operates from Mandeni in the iLembe District Municipality and employs 15 people, half of whom are classified as ‘youth’.
Ithala Development Finance Corporation is committed to socio-economic transformation. “This is another rung in the ladder that we at IDFC have been constructing to change the lives of rural and township folks, a cause we have been championing for over 60 years”, said group chief executive of IDFC, Pearl Bengu.
Sappi regional ESD sourcing manager, Lesiba Lamola, said: “This partnership with IDFC supports our Enterprise Supplier Development (ESD) objectives, that are aimed at building thriving local economies within the communities where we operate.”
Ithala is a provincial development financier and provider of commercial and industrial property. It has embarked on a strategic partnership initiative with the private and public sectors to drive economic participation by emerging black entrepreneurs operating in all sectors of the economy, particularly those operating in rural and township areas.
IDFC board chairman, Sihle Mkhize, said: “We want to thank Sappi for entrusting us with the task of being a strategic partner in transforming the lives of ordinary citizens in our province. and look forward to a fruitful and mutually beneficial relationship.”
Lamola said: “Since signing the MOU with IDFC, we have been encouraged by the progress that has been made and the boost it has given our capacity building programmes for SMEs. This partnership ensures that we also facilitate access to funding, which in turn provides access to essential infrastructure and resources that are necessary to ensure business sustainability and growth. With this in place, we can focus on providing access to markets, providing the essential business and technical skills development required and assist in building up sustainable, thriving enterprises.”
Through IDFC’s business finance solutions, coupled with Sappi Southern Africa’s ESD initiative, the partnership is committed to providing financial muscle and unlocking the full potential and entrepreneurial spirit of SMEs in KwaZulu-Natal.