Project Koba-Tlala, originally an Army Reserves empowerment initiative in accordance with government’s National Development Plan (NDP), appears to have spread into regular landward force units via two SA Army support bases.
In Eastern Cape, the base commanded by Colonel Vusumzi Ngcobo with assistance and support from Brigadier General Mafihlwase Mkhize, put in the hard basic infrastructure yards for an agriculture development in partnership with the provincial department of agriculture and rural development, the Amathole district and Mnquma municipality.
The Eastern Cape agricultural initiative saw soldiers and other military personnel put up fencing, put down as borehole and put water tanks in place to keep produce safe from predators, and properly watered. A pair of tractors, compliments of the provincial agriculture department, initially prepared the 10 hectare piece of land and will assist with harvesting as well as future ploughing ahead further planting.
At least some of the fresh produce from the Ngcizela development will be sold to the support base, where mess operations are commercialised, in line with stated Koba-Tlala aims and objectives.
At Lenz in Gauteng, the Army support base south of Johannesburg, also in partnership with a provincial department (social development), is now home to the Lenasia beauty academy.
The Lenasia beauty academy offers, as its title implies, courses in hairdressing and beauty therapy. Those attending are between 18 and 35, dependents of regular or reserve soldiers or youth exiting foster care, young women from shelters or recipients of child care grants.
Training is up and running for 230 young women learning the finer points of hair and beauty. This number will increase to 350 in the 2021/22 financial year. Those selected for training are accommodated in refurbished bungalows on the base, once the home of 21 SA Infantry Battalion.