RNEWS / 10 OCTOBER 2018 - 17.55 / STAFF REPORTER
Kholeka Motolwana cannot hide the joy and satisfaction she derives from having given a lifeline to more than 15 people employed at her construction company working on the R61 All Saints Baziya road project in Eastern Cape.
Motolwana is a director of Southern Ambition 313 which started work on the project in the middle of 2016.
Main image: Kholeka Motolwana director of Southern Ambition 313.
Initially her core business on the project was fencing, but she has now learnt other skills which have enable her company to take on more responsibility.
“I have learnt a lot. I got exposed to the machinery that I was never exposed to before. I also learnt the terminology and vast experience as far as construction is concerned. It gives me pleasure to be involved in this because we have always thought that this was only meant for men,” she says.
But her greatest pleasure is being able to create jobs.
“Some of the people I work with are people that had been retrenched from as far as Cape Town and Joburg and they were forced to return home here in the Eastern Cape. Some of them are semi-skilled and some of them are very good artisans. Now that I have employed them they are able to put food on the table. It makes me feel good to be able to help people,” she says.
Growth for SANRAL contractor through road project
The sentiment also rings true for Khanyisa Okuhle Nwelende, director of Seriti sa Basotho Trading Projects which is building concrete line drains on the same project. He started work in April 2016 and now employs 22 people.
Khanyisa Nwelende - director of Seriti sa Basotho Trading Projects.
He worked for a building contractor for four years before deciding to start Seriti sa Basotho and tendered for this project.
“I’m turning 28 this year and I really think it is very important for the youth to be part of this project because if you start while you are young, you gain more experience so by the time your company grows, you are also growing with it in experience,” he says.
“I’m very proud of our achievements. Firstly, the company was on grade 1 on the CIDB when we started, and we are now a grade 4. We have really grown thanks to this project. Secondly the company itself has grown. We now own a bakkie and a truck that we managed to get through doing this project. The workers have also benefitted as they are able to build themselves houses and assist their families too,” says Nwelende.
Another beneficial of SANRAL road project
Thembinkosi Ngxangane of Ezakuthi Civil and Construction which employs 15 people started in January 2017 and was sub-contracted to do tow drain and the grass box.
“Our road was a high accident zone previously. When SANRAL explained to us their design we saw it as one that would work and really help decrease the high accident rate.” - Thembinkosi Ngxangane of Ezakuthi Civil and Construction.
“On this project my company was able to benefit a lot because we were nothing before but now we can do things for ourselves through this project, more especially with the 12% requirement of the local SMMEs share that SANRAL has given to us,” says Ngxangane.
“I can say my company benefited plus minus 2.5% and it was through this initiative by SANRAL because the SMME share in this project is R42 million. So, the work I’ve done already is around R1,2 million which is plus minus 1.5% out of the subcontractors that are around,” he says.
Ngxangane hopes that working on the project can help him invest in machinery which would help his company grow and secure even bigger contracts.
“I have noticed that in this industry the one thing that many companies invest in is machinery. This would make my business very lucrative if I went this route in business. I have also noticed that even when there is a new contract, amongst us SMMEs the one who earns the most is the one who comes into the project with their own machinery,” he says.
Positive results through the SANRAL road project
Ngxangane says even though the project is not yet at completion state, they have already begun to see positive results of their work.
“Our road was a high accident zone previously. When SANRAL explained to us their design we saw it as one that would work and really help decrease the high accident rate,” he says.
Thembinkosi says for example, there were a lot of steep hills on the road which led to many collisions. But with the new design the number of steeps has been reduced, leading to better free flow of traffic.
“Secondly our roads were very narrow and now they have been widened and have clear markings from yellow lines and so forth, as well as the bridges,” he says.
Ngxangane says the new bridge built over the great river Mbashe has also made traffic flow easier and is safer for pedestrians as it has walk ways and secure railings.
Motolwane says working on the project was a good learning curve and they were helped by the fact that SANRAL supported them by providing engineers that were able to assist us and guide them through the work.
“I would like to thank SANRAL very much for the opportunity that they have given us. There are meetings that SANRAL sits in on and check how we are doing and those meetings really help us a lot. I just really want to thank SANRAL a lot. As a local in this area as well I noticed that the roads are much safer now as compared to before. There used to be a lot of accidents on the road but now the road is wider, and we are very grateful for that,” says Motolwane.
LINK : https://www.rnews.co.za/article/sanral-all-saints-baziya-road-project-opens-doors-for-smmes
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER