Road construction training programme opens doors for EC contractors

Over 315 site workers of small, medium and micro enterprise (SMMEs) were recently awarded certificates of completion for an 18-month road construction training programme, the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) announced.

The graduation ceremony which took place in Mount Frere, Eastern Cape, celebrated the achievements of the programme beneficiaries whose training formed part of the construction of access roads and pedestrian facilities in the Umzimvubu, Ntabankulu and Mhlontlo municipalities along the N2 between Mount Frere and Ngcweleni River and between Mzeke and Mount Frere.

“The beneficiaries completed skills training in various learning areas from generic skills for general site workers to a national certificate in Construction Contracting which involves essential construction management skills for local small, medium and micro-sized enterprises,” SANRAL Southern Region Manager, Mbulelo Peterson said.

For many local SMMEs and their employees the SANRAL sponsored qualifications have changed their lives and the lives of their communities.

Nosizwe Nongongo, owner of Khulabhungane Trading Enterprise, was one of the most experienced contractors to take place in the training programme. The 40-year-old single mother from Lubhacweni, Mount Frere boasts 11 years’ experience in the construction industry and has worked on projects related to access roads, renovations, sanitation and general building.

“As a relatively skilled contractor I am very happy that I was chosen to learn new skills which will now empower me to work independently,” she said.

“As a single parent, SANRAL has improved my life over the past year. Work was very scarce before this project came along and now I can provide for my family, save capital for future projects and alleviate poverty in other families by employing other people,” she said.

With his new qualification and the new level 4 CIDB grading that accompanies the certificate, Ayanda Kume from Mgqinibeni location in Mount Frere is determined to expand his company, Clara Group Pty Ltd.

“The company has been building roads, schools and also provides security cameras. Now things have gone up a notch with SANRAL backing me with this 18-month long training.

“I will finally open an office and have already bought a company car and office equipment. This seemed impossible a year ago but now I am well on the way to fulfilling my dreams of expanding and not forgetting to uplift my community and others by employing as many people as I can,” Kume said.

Tembisa Madukuda’s small frame has not stopped her from dreaming big.

“I am looking forward to hiring people to help to end the poverty I see around my communities. I am confident now when seeking new projects as I will stand with my level 4 grading,” she said.

“Thank you to Sanral for the opportunity for us to rise and we will take others to rise with us,” she added.

Twenty-nine-year-old Sinoxolo Nomafusi is looking forward to competing with bigger companies now that he has his new level 4 grading.

“It’s a big deal to have this certificate. I have learnt how to manage my finances among other important skills. In the short space of time I have also obtained machinery for future projects. SANRAL will hopefully come back and help us to reach grade 7 and I am grateful for this opportunity,” he said.

Luyanda Ncapai (44), owner of Ncaps Trading Pty Ltd, is excited to already be receiving emails from industry institutions informing him of project openings.

“I have been doing this for five years and never imagined my company one day being on SANRAL’s database. It is a great feeling when I can help others to feed themselves in the communities I get to work in. The more my company will grow now the more village people I can hire,” he said.

Each of the SMMEs awarded contracts to work on the two roads projects were required to hire at least 10 people from the village in which the work was to be completed. These local site workers received general construction skills training and formed part of the certificate award ceremony.

Councillor Ntombizandile Garane, head of Local Economic Development at Umzimvubu Local Municipality thanked SANRAL and their service provider Imbawula Civil Engineering Consultants for bringing economic and infrastructure transformation to the lives of community members involved in the road projects.

“We are very happy to see that women have been included in this programme. This is very important particularly in our rural communities where women are more likely to be at home than at work. Umzimvubu applauds SANRAL and Imbawula for uplifting not just the skills, but the dignity of our people through your projects,” Garane said.

“As the custodian of South Africa’s roads network, the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) does not just work towards transforming roads but is also committed to changing the lives of the communities in which we serve” Peterson concluded.