A 24-month community development project has been rolled out in the Sigidi and Mahaha villages in the Eastern Cape, the South African National Roads Agency SOC Ltd (SANRAL) announced.
“The aim of the project is to improve mobility between the two villages, enhance road safety for local traffic and non-motorised traffic and enhance access of local communities to the N2 Wild Coast Road (N2WCR) to facilitate socio-economic development,” said Fezekile Duze, SANRAL Southern Region Project Manager.
SANRAL has appointed a training service provider tasked primarily to train, mentor and develop “Learner Sub-contractors”. Following stakeholder consultation and a candidate selection process, 10 local learner SMMEs from the two villages have been appointed to construct a 10km access gravel road to a surfaced road.
“Phase one of the project included classroom training while phase two includes the construction of a 10km community access road. The 24-month training programme will provide a full learnership programme, accredited by the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA), which will provide the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) level 2, 3, and 4 training,” said Duze.
Theoretical training was held over a three-month period at the Sigidi Junior Primary School.
“We catered for 50% women-owned and 30% youth-owned SMMEs on this project. The majority of SMMEs are registered as CIDB level 1 CEPE, while two SMMEs are registered as CIDB Level 3 CEPE. We aim to have the CIDB Level 1CEPE SMMEs upgrade to level 3 CEPE once the project is completed.
“Once the access road has been completed, the school yard will be upgraded with a concrete walkway and an upgraded parking area,” said Mbulelo Peterson, SANRAL Southern Region Manager.
Peterson added that 10 FET college students would also assist SMMEs with financial administration and management while they work on the project.
A Public Liaison Committee (PLC) and Public Liaison Officer (PLO) from both villages were appointed earlier this year.
Mzandile Yebeni of Sophaphela General Trading is registered as a CIDB Level 1 CEPE. He is from Mahaha village and says he commutes a 16km distance daily to and from attending the classes. As a married man and father of seven children, he finds it difficult being unemployed and occasionally works in the catering industry.
“Once I am finished working on this project I hope to get work elsewhere on other projects. I would like to tender for other work at municipalities as well. I am happy to be part of this programme. I only have a matric and once I have completed my training I will have an NQF qualification. Due to a lack of money I could not further my education. I have always liked the construction industry and look forward to JV with someone on a project,” said Yebeni.
Nwabisa Dlamini of Sigidi Development is registered as a CIDB level 1 CEPE. Dlamini is married and has two children. She is from Sigidi village and before participating in the SANRAL project, was self-employed farming sweet potatoes, mielies and other vegetables. “I used to sell my produce to markets to earn an income. Through this project I have gained knowledge on the construction industry and once completed, I want to apply for other jobs on other projects. I am proud to be part of this course,” said Dlamini.
Zanele Mbuthuma is a single mother to an 11-year-old son. Prior to working on the project, Mbuthuma was studying towards a Diploma in Education and Development.
“My goal is to do a good job working on this project. This project will be good for the community,” said Mbuthuma.