ITEKE is a community based waste collection project, in Ivory Park, Midrand. It was established in 1995 and mainly collected tin cans. It was made up of ten members, with an even balance of men and women. By 1999 ITEKE has grown to about 16 members, 8 of whom are executive members. It has expanded its activities into collecting plastics, cardboard and paper.
ITEKE has its own operational site with an office and a shed. Donor support has been forthcoming from the United Nations, the Eco-city Project, Mondi and other NGOs. However, at this moment funding sources are drying up and the organisation has been given a final helping hand by the Eco-city project to turn its operations around. Funding was provided for a six month period for a full time manager.
It was in this context that COPAC was been brought in and assisted ITEKE to convert to a co-operative. Many reasons existed for the conversion of ITEKE to a co-operative but the most important was that it was already operating as an informal co-operative working with co-operative values like tolerance, solidarity, community involvement and cooperation. Hence, the co-operative conversion was merely about consolidating, into a more formal framework, what already exists.