“The organisation has recently undergone a comprehensive organisational and strategy review process that should rekindle public confidence in the institution which is aimed at positioning the agency as a leader in socio-economic development,” says Uitenhage-Despatch Development Initiative (UDDI) chief executive Patricia Dlamini.
Announcing the agency’s 2012/13 performance results and its future outlook, Dlamini, who assumed her position in October 2013, says this work was done on the back of yet another unqualified audit opinion and a sharpened focus on stimulating economic growth, investment and supporting entrepreneurship, social uplifting through education and training.
While the UDDI is a Not-for Profit organisation, the UDDI places a premium on financial performance to building public, partner and funder confidence for the entity. These interventions have produced significant returns and were the building blocks for improved economic activity and operational efficiencies.
“The most exciting of UDDIs projects in 2012/13 was the launch of the flagship R30 million Nelson Mandela Bay Science and Technology Centre in March 2013. The centre is a ground-breaker in its own right being the first standalone centre outside an institution of higher learning. The centre created 500 jobs during its construction and launch phases.
“In addition, the agency also implemented its eco-hub pilot project in the Despatch area in partnership with the Department of Economic Development, Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEDEAT). An amount of R500 000 was spent on the project which transforms illegal dumpsites in townships into workable vegetable production clusters using natural and waste resources,” says Dlamini.
Dlamini, a former head of the Eastern Cape Information Technology Initiative (ECITI), says the UDDI also continued with its social upliftment projects such as the Back to School initiative. In 2012/13, the organisation distributed shoes, clothing and stationary to 1 800 needy learners from 15 schools in Uitenhage and Despatch. Since inception, about 5 000 shoes and other items have been donated.
The UDDI has also been working with the Independent Development Trust (IDT) in the metro’s Extended Public Works Program (EPWP) initiatives. A total of 150 people were employed to beautify, clean and green selected areas. Half of those employed were military veterans. The program caters for the unemployed within the region. It aims to create job opportunities, address environmental challenges, provides skills training and development for unemployed people among others.
“However, 10 years after its inception in 2003 and since its first flagship project, the Nelson Mandela Bay Logistics Park in Uitenhage which created 1 000 jobs and where 12 companies call it home, the organisation has begun a comprehensive review which charts a new path for the UDDI as it moves into the next decade.
“This process has included a strategy review process which has identified strategic focus areas which should aid it in its efforts to change the socio-economic character of the Uitenhage-Despatch region. These include town regeneration which should lead to the enhancement of urban areas, creation of a vibrant environment that is competitive and enhances social cohesion. Enterprise development will be used as a tool to advance business incubation though the establishment of SMMEs while providing support packages, capacity building, new business solutions, investment opportunities and markets,” explains Dlamini.
Dlamini says another focus area is education, training and skills development which should lead to the provision of a unique, exciting curriculum and education experiences for educators and learners in science, technology, engineering and mathematics while incorporating research and development initiatives benefitting the broader community.
The organisation is also on a drive to bring certainty and strengthen leadership filling all management posts. A recruitment process to attract the best skills to the organisation is being undertaken to ensure that the UDDI has the best human resources to execute its broad mandate. In addition, the organisation will seek to ensure that the skills of the human capital within the UDDI are matched to the appropriate positions. This should have the intended effect of moulding a capable organisation with the necessary resolve to carry out the UDDIs broad mandate.
Particular focus will be given to strengthening governance, organisational development and financial prudence. This should be achieved through the promotion of systems and processes that promote accountability and transparency through governance and considered policy arrangements.
Author: Lunga Mtshizana
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