ECDC s celebrates Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet and director-general Dr Sibongile Muthwa, amongst others 23-11-2010 -With no knowledge of the construction industry, Mandisa...

ECDC s celebrates Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet and director-general Dr Sibongile Muthwa, amongst others

-With no knowledge of the construction industry, Mandisa Makiwane took the “plunge” and started Limangwe Construction in 2000 with little chance of success, barely nine years later; she has been honoured as one of the top 10 women in the Eastern Cape.

Makiwane, 58, who only has a matric, says the idea of joining the growing construction industry started when “my friends kept inviting me to site visits and I felt it is something I could enjoy doing.”

Makiwane overcomes challenges in construction industry

“It’s hard to believe that my business has grown steadily over the years. I started with jobs as small as R3, 000 doing renovations, fixing blocked drains and painting toilet blocks. My latest contract with the Public Works department is worth R1, 7 million and I employ 14 permanent staff.

“Before this, I owned a phone container which I started with a R25, 000 loan from the Eastern Cape Development Corporation (ECDC). I paid it off within a year and the revenues I generated served as my start-up capital for my construction business,” explains Makiwane.

Premier Noxolo Kiviet, Dr Sibongile Muthwa also honoured

On Wednesday, Makiwane was in good company, sharing the stage with nine fellow award-winners which included Eastern Cape Premier Noxolo Kiviet and her director-general Dr Sibongile Muthwa who were recognised by ECDC for “making a contribution to economic growth and job creation in the province.”  From the moment she took office, the Premier has given priority to engage women from all walks of life including those in business and to pledge support to those daring enough to roll up their sleeves.

Before making her foray into the construction business, Makiwane worked in the insurance industry for 18 years, initially as a general clerk at Old Mutual. She later rose to administration manager at the insurer’s Butterworth branch when she retired in 1998.

Under the mentorship of Heaton Construction, and ECDC’s flagship Integrated Emerging Contractor’s Development Model (IECDM) , Makiwane clinched her first big contract when Public Works asked her to do alterations,  changing classrooms into offices at Masibulele College in Whittlesea for R800, 000.

“Thereafter, I tendered on my own and I was recently awarded a R1,7 million contract to do fencing at Sekunjalo in Mount Coke.

“Last year, I received a R500, 000 loan from ECDC. I paid it off in six months and managed to finish my project eight months, two months ahead of the completion date,” says a beaming Makiwane.

TV personality Tracy Going also tells of overcoming abuse challenges

But it has not all been plain sailing for the mother of three adult children. Makiwane says she could identify with guest speaker, popular former television anchor Tracy Going’s plight who suffered physical violence and was “beaten to a pulp” within a few months into her marriage.

“When Tracy began to describe her plight, I could identify because I was physically abused by my former husband. My children ran away in the evenings before their father came home because they knew they would also be beaten.

“This did not deter me from becoming a success and daring to dream. We must celebrate women like Going who have defied the odds. Women must not wait for things to happen, they must rise to the challenge. If every woman did this, we would all be in a better space,” she says

News editor