Ten objectives of the SA National Defence Force’s (SANDF) ambitious contribution to government’s National Development Plan via Project Koba-Tlala have been achieved to date.
This includes an agreement by the University of North West to support the project through research into agriculture, monitoring and evaluating project progress, assisting with compilation of business and providing education, training, development and empowerment assistance.
Brigadier General Gerhard Kamffer, Director: Army Reserves, heads up Project Koba-Tlala and he has also successfully overseen the establishment of a steering committee for the pilot project in North West. Represented on the committee is the SA Army, as the main executor, and the provincial department of rural environment and agricultural development.
Giving Koba-Tlala further impetus is identification of a number of hands-on rural development projects. These include linking agri-parks in the province with decentralised procurement initiatives and negotiations with organised agriculture for better co-operation between commercial and small-scale farmers.
Also ticked off on the objectives list is establishment of a co-operative in North West. Reserve Force members are at its helm and the focus is on reskilling Reserve Force members and finding employment for them when and where possible. The Koba-Tlala project team has and continues to identify projects where Reserve Force members can become involved.
A basic water purification course, presented in Potchefstroom, for 30 Reserve Force members created what Kamffer called “additional capacity to be utilised by the provincial government when these members are not on military duty”.
On community development and liaison, Project Koba-Tlala will train Reserve Force members to be utilised by the relevant provincial government departments when not in uniform. To date this has seen 67 part-time soldiers receiving community development and liaison training in North West, the province where the pilot is unfolding, and four other provinces. Seven Reserve Force units have contributed volunteers for this training.